The teams behind the triumphs at the Hong Kong Sevens

by Staff Writer

For all of the parties in the week leading up to - and during - the Hong Kong Sevens, one could be forgiven that the tournament is steeped in history.

Australia has more than played its part in this history with some of our finest Wallabies donning the gold jersey in the event that remains the jewel in the crown on the Sevens circuit.

Australia has won the Hong Kong Sevens on five occasions, all of which came in a golden period between 1979 and 1988, and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the event we take a look at the teams to have triumphed at the biggest Sevens event of them all...

Led by Sir Nicholas Shehadie and Geoff Richards, Australia won its maiden Hong Kong Sevens title in 1979. Sevens legends Mark and Glen Ella were still in their teens while fly-half Paul McLean pulled the strings as the Aussies beat New Zealand in the Semi-Final before dismantling Western Samoa (39-3) in the Cup Final

Squad: Geoff Richards (NSW, captain/coach), Tom Barker (QLD), Glen Ella (NSW), Mark Ella (NSW), Roger Gould (QLD), Paul McLean (QLD), John Maxwell (NSW), Steve Rowley (QLD), Andy Stewart (NSW). Sir Nicholas Shehadie (Manager).

The 1982 side boasted a star-studded line-up that featured Wallabies all over the park. The Ella's were joined by Gary Pearse, Brendan Moon and Chris Roche as well as future national Head Coach Michael O'Connor. Australia won seven matches from seven, including wins over Canada, Argentina and Fiji to take home the trophy.

"It was a bit different back in the 80s. Being selected to play in Hong Kong was almost like a reward for playing well for the national side," recalls O'Connor.

Squad: John Maxwell (NSW, captain/coach), Gary Pearse (NSW), Glen Ella (NSW), Mark Ella (NSW), Peter Lucas (NSW), Brendan Moon (QLD), Michael O’Connor (QLD), Chris Roche (QLD), Qele Ratu (NSW). Peter Falk (Manager).

Australia went back-to-back a year later as they stormed to their third Hong Kong Sevens title. The squad remained largely unchanged from the previous year, save for the inclusion of the precocious David Campese, who himself had become a fully-fledged Wallaby just a few months earlier in August 1982. Fiji were defeated in the Final as Australia won their 14th match in a row in the former British colony.

Squad: John Maxwell (NSW, captain/coach), David Campese (ACT), Gary Pearse (NSW), Glen Ella (NSW), Mark Ella (NSW), Peter Lucas (NSW), Brendan Moon (QLD), Chris Roche (QLD), Qele Ratu (NSW). Peter Falk (Manager).

Managed by Wallaby coach Alan Jones, Australia won its fourth Hong Kong Sevens in 1985. In a squad that included David Campese, Glen Ella, Michael Lynagh and Simon Poidevin, Jones' side won all five games including the Cup Final against Public School Wanderers - a talented Public School Wanderers side that featured none other than current Australian Men's Sevens Head Coach Geraint John.

Squad: Roger Gould (QLD, captain/coach), David Campese (ACT), Phillip Cox (NSW), Glen Ella (NSW), Bruce Frame (NSW), Peter Lucas (NSW), Michael Lynagh (QLD), Simon Poidevin (NSW), Steve Tuynman (NSW). Alan Jones (Manager).

The last of Australia's five Hong Kong Sevens triumphs came in 1988. Led by legendary Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer, the green and gold claimed the title after beating Fiji in the Semi-Final and then trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in an epic Cup Final (13-12). Michael Lynagh captained the nine-man squad, each of whom were fully-capped Wallabies.

Squad: Michael Lynagh (QLD, captain), Brad Burke (NSW), David Campese (NSW), Julian Gardner (QLD), Tim Gavin (NSW), Jeff Miller (QLD), Acura Niuqila (NSW), Brian Smith (QLD), Steve Tuynman (NSW). Bob Dwyer (manager/coach).

On Friday, we'll bring you our exclusive chat with former Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer, who gives us the inside story behind the Class of '88 in Hong Kong.

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