Rugby | SPORTS

All Eyes On The 2024 Paris Olympics

All teams in this weekend’s Hong Kong Sevens tournament are on a rebuilding phase with their target set for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
03 Nov 2022 12:40
All Eyes On The 2024 Paris Olympics
Two time Olympic Rugby sevens Gold medallist, Jerry Tuwai. Source: World Rugby

All teams in this weekend’s Hong Kong Sevens tournament are on a rebuilding phase with their target set for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

This year’s HSBC World Sevens Series is the qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

This season’s top four men’s and wom­en’s teams on the series points table will get a direct ticket to the Paris Olympics.

Leading the way is the Fiji Airways men’s rugby sevens side after losing key forwards Elia Canakaivata and Iosefo Masi to Super Rugby.

Also rested from the tournament is two-time Olympic Games gold medallist Jerry Tuwai.

“We have a few changes as post World Cup, we have had some players move on so we have been developing and have in­cluded players who have been in the wid­er squad whole of last year,” said head coach Ben Gollings.

“We have given the opportunity to the players who have been working hard in the forwards and I hope they will be able to deliver next weekend.”

This is a big moment for rookie halfback Philipo Bukayaro, winger turned hooker Tila Welagi, Josevani Soro, Manueli Maisamoa, Ioane Teba, Jerry Matana, Filipe Sauturaga, Joseva Talacolo, Vuivi­awa Naduvalo and Paula Nayacakalou as they play in the Hong Kong sevens for the first time.

The Fijians are in a tough Pool C where they face the United States, Spain and Japan.

So, let’s take a look at our pool oppo­nents:


The Eagles are captained by veteran winger Perry Baker who has played in 56 HSBC World Sevens Series tournaments. The rest of the squad has appeared in 86 with Maceo Brown having more than 20 appearances on his record. Brown is now out due to injury.

The US has eight new players in their 13-member squad. Unavailable for selec­tion are captain Kevon Williams, vice-captain Stephen Tomasin, Maka Unufe, Joe Schoroeder and Faitala Talapusi.

Also missing out are key playmaker Folau Niua and nippy speedster Carlin Isles.

The new date of the Hong Kong Sevens is a worrying factor for coach Mike Fri­day.

“This has been an insanely quick turn­around following the completion of last season,” said Friday.

“As a programme, we have been going nonstop for a year and we need to main­tain focus entering this big nine month-period and Olympic qualifying year.

“What lies ahead for this developing group is a huge challenge, so patience and perspective are paramount.

“However, the drive, determination and commitment to get better burns brightly in this group. We are all aware of the cor­ner we’re in for this opening leg.”

The Eagles are in a workable pool, how­ever, with Spain and Japan their first two games. If they beat those two—no guar­antee—they should be in the quarterfi­nals. The final pool match will be against Fiji.


This is the second tournament Japan will be playing under newly appointed head coach Simon Amor.

The former England sevens head coach was appointed in September following one year in the role of the Japan sevens national team director.

Amor has selected new talents like Yoshiyuki Koga, Takamasa Maruo and Koki Yakushiji who are set to play in Hong Kong for the first time.


The giant killers of the HSBC World Sevens Series wants a spot in the 2024 Olympic Games and a good outing at the Hong Kong Sevens is very critical in their campaign.

For the Pablo Feijoo-coached side, they have included the experienced Pol Pla and Manu Sainz-Trapaga in their squad.

They are accompanied by the young but already experienced Josep Serres, Juan Ramos , Juan Martínez , Manu Moreno , Tiago Romero , Edu Lopez or Enrique Bolinches.

The list is completed by Jaime Mata, Javier de Orbaneja, Alejandro Laforga and Jaime Manteca who, at only 19, made his debut in the World Series in Los An­geles.


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