2018 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens: Fiji wins historic fourth consecutive title
HONG KONG, HONG KONG - APRIL 08: Amenoni Nasilasila (C) of Fiji makes a break in the final match against Kenya during the Hong Kong Sevens on April 8, 2018 in Hong Kong. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

The 2018 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens came to an enthralling end, as Fiji won an historic fourth consecutive title. They humbled Kenya again in the final 24-12, in a repeat of the Canada Sevens final. It ended four days of breathtaking rugby sevens.

South Africa settled for bronze, with the young Kiwi side finishing fourth. Argentina takes fifth place over United States. France taking home the Challenge Trophy, in the main feature matches.

The tournament which also was a HSBC Sevens Series Qualifiers tournament, which saw a combined total 40 teams competing at the ‘Mecca of Sevens’. 24 men’s and 16 women’s sides competed for core places on the 2018/19 Sevens Series next season.

China claimed the women’s title, with Japan regaining the men’s title. Those nations victory is great for the game in Asia. Each may now likely replace the Russia men and Japan in the women’s series next season.

2018 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong 7s – The LOWDOWN

Fiji opened the scoring in the final through Josua Vakurunaibuli. They led after halftime 17-5, before Amenoni Nasilasila (see main picture) sealed the deal. Oscar Ouma narrowed the deficit for the final score to be 24-12.

“I’d like to thank my boys for the team effort and thank the Kenyan team for a good game. Hong Kong is always special for us. We respect and honour the tradition that Fiji has with the Hong Kong Sevens,” Jerry Tuwai told worldrugby.org.

In the semi-finals, Selwyn Davids grabbed three tries for the Blitzbokke, but Fiji fought back to win 26-24. Kenya then out-muscled New Zealand, to book their second consecutive finals appearance.

Exciting Cup Quarter-finals

Fiji continued from where they left off on Saturday when they walloped Argentina in the first quarter-final, 40-14. Los Pumas captain Gaston Revol picked up his 50th Sevens Series try in that game.

South Africa humbled Spain 38-5 in the second knockout match. Muller du Plesis picked up a hat-trick in that game, that showed the 2017/18 champions had strength–yet were overwhelmed later, by Fiji.

In a notable result, the Spaniards were appearing in their first quarter-finals since 2012. They also picked up valuable points, that leave Russia rooted at the bottom of Sevens Series table [to likely be replaced by Japan.

New Zealand, who had sent over a less experienced team coached by Roger Randle, defied the odds to beat Team USA 35-7. Kenya overcame the brave Scottish men, 19-12.

2018 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens accolades

Player of the Final: Amenoni Nasilasila

DHL Impact Player: Eroni Sau

HSBC Dream Team

2017/18 HSBC Sevens Series table

The gap at the top of the table, has narrowed. In recent results and here at the 2018 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Fiji are ‘catching up’ and that will be a concern for Neil Powell.

New Zealand are maintaining a constant third place, but won’t be happy that the leading teams have a 16 point break. Extremely hard to make-up, in the super competitive World Series.

Last Word on Rugby – the Verdict

Fiji created history with this victory, and seems to be the sure bet when they play at Hong Kong. Must be something in the water? They head to the Commonwealth Games with victory on their minds.

So the question is ‘Can they be stopped?’

Kenya is getting better with every outing no doubt about it. The Shujaa will be handful on the Gold Coast. The conditions will also suit, as they did in the humidity of Hong Kong. Kenya will test Fiji, England, Australia and New Zealand who [mostly] rested their best for the Games.

It’s on to the Gold Coast games for Commonwealth countries, but the rest will re-assemble in Singapore in three weeks for leg number eight of the season.

Singapore Sevens Draws announced.

Join us for coverage of the Commonwealth Games, and the rest of the 2017/18 HSBC Sevens Series.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY