Hong Kong Sevens 2022: Fiji keep unbeaten streak alive as they look to capture sixth tournament win
- The world champions enter Sunday’s quarter-finals with a squad free of injuries and firing on all cylinders
- Big guns South Africa will be looking to stop them, but head coach Ben Gollings remains confident
Fiji continued their perfect start to the 2022 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Saturday, locking down two big wins to keep their unbeaten streak alive, and head coach Ben Gollings said the team is firing on all cylinders as they head into Sunday’s quarter-finals.
The world champions, who are chasing a record-extending sixth straight title at Hong Kong Stadium, stormed out of the gate on Saturday with five tries in a 35-21 victory over Spain, but they did not have it all their own way.
The Spaniards showed steel as they shocked the Fijians early with a strong attack that saw them put the ball over the line for the first try of the match.
It didn’t take long, however, for Iowane Teba to hit back for Fiji, scoring beneath the posts to level the score at 7-7.
“They’re always tricky games – Spain are a good side, they played well, but we controlled the ball. It was a good test, and we came away with the right result,” Gollings said after the win over Spain.
Fiji were far more convincing, though, in their third outing of the weekend, brushing aside the United States 24-0 to maintain their 100 per cent record in pool C, after thrashing Japan 59-12 on Friday.
“It’s an interesting pool and one we knew we had to had to be switched on for. The win over the US was a good way to finish out the day,” Gollings said. “Keeping them to zero was one of the key point for us coming out of those last few games, which I’m happy about, but it’s finals time now.”
Lining up against Fiji on Sunday morning will be big guns South Africa, but Gollings said his squad head into the quarter-final clash in tip-top form.
“You just have to keep adapting in this game and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
“Another positive is we’re fit and healthy and there are no injuries, which is always good after the first round of pool games. We know we’ve got big games on Sunday, so it’s going to be a good quarter-final.”
Lingering pandemic restrictions have kept many of Fiji’s most loyal fans at home this year, but judging by the roar the team received as they entered the field from a crowd of more than 20,000 inside the stadium, the Hong Kong fans are right behind them.
“It’s great for the boys to have that support,” Gollings said. “It gives them some energy to keep pushing.”
It will be energy they will need as Fiji look to make even more history, though they might be shocked to have seen perennial foes New Zealand crash out of Cup contention.
The All Blacks will instead face a ninth-place quarter-final against Kenya in Sunday morning’s first game at 9.45am.
The other Bowl fixtures see Spain face Uruguay, Canada tackle Hong Kong, and the newly-minted Great Britain – who got their first Series win on Saturday, at the expense of South Africa – up against Japan.