Hong Kong Sevens 2017 – three players to watch

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 12:36pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 12:36pm

Dan Norton, England

England have been flying this season after a few underwhelming years on the main series and a large part of that has been thanks to the sensational form of their flier Norton. He’s crossed the line 34 times this season to top the try-scoring charts and is basically uncatchable if he gets the ball with space to run into. He’s also become the joint all-time top try-scorer on the series and will be looking to add to his 244 total as England try to win in Hong Kong for the first time since 2006. Tom Mitchell is another key man, the series’ top points-scorer with 208, and will surely bag his 100th career try in Hong Kong.

“We hugely value the expat support and will work hard to put in our best performances of the year across all three tournament days,” says coach Simon Amor.

Vilimoni Koroi, New Zealand

A powerful highly-rated teenage Kiwi comes to Hong Kong for his debut ... sound familiar? Bit unfair to start the Lomu comparisons just yet, and Koroi is half the size of the late legend, but there’s certainly plenty in New Zealand who expect big things from this big 18-year-old, who only finished high school recently. The winger is rated as one of the most promising backs in a country not exactly short of rugby talent. He’s perhaps found it a little tough to make an instant impact at this level, but showed notice of his potential at the Vegas Sevens with a performance that earned him a place in the team of the tournament. Coach Scott Waldrom is not afraid to compare him to one of the greats: “I guess what Vili brings to the team is what New Zealand have not had since Tomasi Cama stopped playing. That is, a playmaker, and the Fijian flair that guys in the past have brought to the team,” he said.

Jerry Tuwai, Fiji

Olympic gold medal winners Fiji have been suffering something of a post-Rio hangover, and haven’t won a tournament on the series this season. In their defence, they’ve lost several of their Olympic heroes to club rugby. One key man who’s still there is Tuwai, the short-but-powerful man with a dazzling sidestep. In an inconsistent season for the Fijians, he’s consistently delivered, named in the dream team for most of the tournaments so far. With captain Osea Kolinisau, he’s one of the main men Fiji’s new boys will look to for leadership as they try to win their ‘home’ tournament for the third year in a row.