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5 Things We Learned In Vegas And Vancouver

We take a look at five things we learned after rounds five and six of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.   NZ HAVE EXPERIENCE, EVEN WITHOUT SUPERSTARS New Zealand’s
04 Apr 2016 12:23
5 Things We Learned In Vegas And Vancouver
Jasa Veremalua on attack .

We take a look at five things we learned after rounds five and six of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

 

  1. NZ HAVE EXPERIENCE, EVEN WITHOUT SUPERSTARS

New Zealand’s win in Vancouver may have come as a shock to some. Having won back-to-back tournaments in Wellington and Sydney the likes of Akira and Rieko Ioane, Ben Lam and Ardie Savea all returned to Super Rugby and some questioned how they would cope without them. Added to that the loss of Sonny Bill Williams, and their win in Vancouver is all the more impressive. But in DJ Forbes, who is set to become the most capped sevens player of all-time if he plays in Hong Kong and Singapore, captain Tim Mikkelson, Kurt Baker and Liam Messam they have a vast amount of sevens experience which shone through at BC Place.

 

  1. FIJI ARE STRONGER THAN WINSTON

We heard the ‘Stronger than Winston’ cry after Fiji won in Las Vegas and they certainly proved they were at the Sam Boyd Stadium. A fourth-placed finish in Vancouver ensured they maintain their position at the top of the standings and they put on another show with two players being named in the dream team in Jasa Veremalua and Kitione Taliga.

Twenty per cent of all programme sales were also donated by the organisers at the inaugural HSBC Canada Sevens to the relief fund of Cyclone Winston and there was also time for Ben Ryan’s side to hit the snowy mountains in Vancouver and treat us to their beautiful voices once more.

 

  1. A STAR IS BORN?

We could have an entire highlight reel for Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa’s try celebrations alone, but once again the Samoan impressed in both Las Vegas and Vancouver, culminating in a place in the dream team in Canada. An incredible step, lots of pace, offloader, and a great finisher, Hunapo-Nofoa was even compared to sevens legend Waisale Serevi by the commentators at BC Place. We’re a big fan and hope he continues to build on his celebration repetoire which includes using the ball for a sevens selfie, and to call his mum! Watch out, his future is bright!

 

  1. OLYMPIC SELECTION AND REPECHAGE BATTLES HEATING UP

While Canada won the Bowl to the delight of the home crowd, Samoa lifted the Plate ensuring those two teams will head to Monaco as favourites to battle it out for the last spot at rugby sevens’ debut at the Olympic Games. A week earlier and it was Samoa who won the Shield with a win over Canada but all will be to play for in June. Scotland and Wales players also put in good performances in reaching their first Cup quarter-finals of the season, giving the Team GB coaches a selection headache as England failed to win a match in Vegas before losing in the Bowl semi-finals in Vancouver.

 

  1. COLLINS WILL DO THE INEVITABLE

The question is now not if, but when Collins Injera will become the all-time leading try-scorer in sevens history, overtaking Argentina’s Santiago Gomez Cora’s record of 230. The Kenyan went second in the list with his 221st and 222nd tries in Vancouver to move ahead of Ben Gollings and is now just nine away from taking the outright lead. With an average of 3.5 tries per tournament it is predicted Injera will do this in Paris so stay tuned, after all when he scored his 200th he memorably signed the TV camera!

 

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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