Will Singapore be affected by Hong Kong hangover?

by Jill Scanlon

The HSBC Singapore Sevens has the potential to be a tournament of upsets because it follows the biggest event on the Sevens calendar and the fallout from Hong Kong is unpredictable.

In 2016, Kenya surprised everyone by winning the title with a convincing 30-7 victory over Fiji, while Argentina and Samoa finished in the top five, above New Zealand, England, the USA and Australia.

Will there be similar upsets in 2017?

 

16 captains at the Singapore Sevens. Who are you backing? #SGRugby7s #Singapore7s

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POOL A 

Fiji, Canada, Russia, Hong Kong

Fiji was back to its winning ways in Hong Kong and any opposition would feel rightly nervous about facing the men from the Pacific this week, with the Olympic champions flying on confidence, let alone talent when it begins its Singapore campaign on Saturday.

Canada is beginning to show some form, having made it to the final eight last weekend but suffered at the hands of a barnstorming Fiji in the quarter finals, followed by a one-point loss to Argentina in the dying seconds of the fifth place semi.

It will have an expectation to again make the quarter finals out of the pool round.

Russia is showing glimpses of what could be with each round, but ultimately is not threatening the top teams despite having one of the best performing players on the circuit in Vladimir Ostroushko.

Hong Kong takes Korea’s spot as the 16th team.

POOL B

South Africa, England, France, Japan

This group is a mixed bag following the Hong Kong results.

The Blitzboks only lost the one game last week – but it was the big one to Fiji – a hit both mentally and physically, but the series leaders should bounce back.

England under-performed off the back of a title win in Vancouver and France had another disappointing tournament suffering on Day three in Hong Kong from the loss of its captain Terry Bouhraoua.

Japan always gives its best but still struggles to get wins on Day One.

 

Not the result we were after but we're getting there! #Aussie7s

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POOL C

Australia, Argentina, Kenya, Samoa

Australia is coming off a third place in Hong Kong and will be up in confidence in Singapore.

The Aussies had a tough opening pool game against Samoa last week but ultimately had their measure and should be ready for a rematch.

Argentina won two of its three pool matches in Hong Kong to go through to the quarter-finals where it was outperformed by the Australia.

It should be remembered that Kenya unexpectedly won the Singapore title last year with a thumping defeat of Fiji in the final – and so should never be discounted, while Samoa is building slowly under new coach Sir Gordon Tietjens and will certainly challenge its opposition.

POOL D

USA, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales

This is a pool of two parts.

USA and New Zealand are showing consistency at the top level mid-series, but the two teams from the UK are having a disappointing run.

Wales, it could be argued, has been very unlucky in several pool round outcomes, just missing out on a final eight spot more than once, while Scotland is an enigma, on an inexplicable downward spiral since Sydney.

This too could be an interesting pool but the likelihood is that the teams sitting in fourth and fifth in the standings will progress.

FIXTURE

HSBC Sevens World Series, Singapore

Pool Round

Saturday 15 April

Australia v Samoa 1.22pm AEST

Australia v Kenya 4.22pm AEST

Australia v Argentina 8.18pm AEST

LIVE coverage on Fox Sports Ch506 begins 12.50pm – 9.30pm AEST

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