Ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens, England coach Ben Ryan was quoted as saying that, should New Zealand win at So kon Po, they will all but secure the 2011-12 HSBC Sevens World Series.
Fortunately for the next four next teams on the log, it didn’t quite come to pass as Fiji delivered a sublime performance against the Kiwis in the Cup Final to clinch top spot at the Hong Kong Stadium.
However, the Islanders’ win may have simply postponed the inevitable as they failed to dislodge New Zealand (111 points) from the top of the overall log.
Fiji (109) trails New Zealand by a mere 2 points, with South Africa in third spot (93). England is 4 points adrift at (89) with Vegas champions Samoa in forth with 82 points.
The Kiwi’s inspirational skipper DJ Forbes concurs saying: “This weekend could be the decider of the World Series.”
“You would like to think it is between us two (New Zealand and Fiji). But we have been in a position where we have snuck in there late, and we know South Africa and England will be keen to jump in there.”
Fiji has only once managed to clinch a Series title, running out victors back in 2006.
Having said that, going into a new tournament venue this weekend and with three tournaments to go, Ben Ryan and Fiji coach Alfereti Dere will be wise to remember South Africa’s steamroller-finish at the end of last season. South Africa beat Fiji (24 – 14) at Twickenham and Australia (36-35) at Murrayfield a week later.
The Pools for the Tokyo Sevens:
Pool A: Fiji, England, France, Japan
Pool B: New Zealand. Australia, USA, Hong Kong
Pool C: Argentina, Wales, Kenya, Russia
Pool D: South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Portugal.
South Africa failed to beat New Zealand on two occasions in Hong Kong and the Kiwis will be hard to beat in Tokyo this weekend. Pic: © Victor Fraile / PSI for HKRFU
“It will be a big ask for them. We will try and make it a two-horse race and hopefully put ourselves on top.”
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