In one of the more surprising results in yesterday’s HSBC Rugby Sevens Singapore games, the HongKong Sevens winners Fiji were beaten 14-28 by Samoa in their first match but they bounced back to win their other two games to qualify for the Quarter Finals.
Click here for the 2nd and final day of the rugby action.
Said Fiji Coach Ben Ryan, “In our first game, we came second at every battle and we were quite disappointed about that but we gathered our thoughts together and now we are in the Quarter Finals.”
He added “Tomorrow (Sunday) we will need to be a bit more ruthless in terms of backing up the ball more and making one-on-one tackles, especially against our upcoming opponents Argentina who are a physical side.”
And also now that that they are in the Quarter Finals, Fiji’s Coach Ryan is also hoping to clinch two consecutive tournaments, which no team has done before. He said “No team has managed to clinch the Double before but we are not going to use that as an excuse to not play well here tomorrow.”
New Zealand, one of the favourites to win the World Rugby Singapore Sevens was trashed 24-0 by France too. But they comfortably won with the last two games against Canada and the USA to qualify for the Quarter Finals.
AUSTRALIA MAKES QUARTER FINALS DESPITE LOSING FIRST GAME
Also coming back from losing their first game was Australia, who were defeated 7-12 by Argentina but went on to win their next couple of games against Japan and Wales.
Australia’s Coach Andy Friend is pleased with his team’s progress despite the initial defeat on the first day. He said “I am pleased that we are in the Quarter Finals. We got better with every game and that means the progression is going the right way. There is a lot of character in our team and we dug deep to win our next two games.”
He added “today (Saturday) we lacked clarity and we were not as clinical as we would have liked to be, but tomorrow is a brand new day so we have to be better right from the beginning and do the simple things right and we will get there.”
Thunderbolts captain James Stannard also shares his Coach’s opinion and he added “Today we had some quite tough games and we did not perform up to our potential. We had our backs against the wall, but tomorrow we will come in with a new attitude and get a victory right from the start.”
SOUTH AFRICA WIN ALL THEIR GROUP GAMES BUT STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Winning all three games in their group was South Africa, who kicked off the Singapore leg with a 33-0 whitewash of Scotland. This was followed up by wins against Russia and Kenya.
South Africa player Stephanie Dippenaar is happy with his side’s performance but still feels there is room to improve.
Said the player “It is always nice to win all three games but we are going to go back tonight and look at how we played. We had some good stuff but there is still plenty of other things that we can improve on.”
He added “Tomorrow will be a whole new ball game though and we will be meeting some stronger teams so we have to analyse and look through how we can get even better.”
TOMORROW ARGENTINA WILL HAVE NEW OUTLOOK
Also making the Cup Quarter Finals was Argentina, which beat Australia and Wales but drew 21-21 in a tight game against the Japanese.
Said Argentina player Axel Muller “it has been a tough day today but tomorrow we will be going in with a new outlook and treat every game as a Cup Final.”
He added “There is actually no one team that is the best over the 14 minutes of game time, it’s all about the team that makes the less errors winning the game so that’s something to think about.”
PLAYING AT SINGAPORE’S NATIONAL STADIUM WAS FANTASTIC
The experience of playing in the iconic Singapore National Stadium though, was something that all of the players and their coaches really enjoyed though.
Said Coach Ryan “The National Stadium is fantastic! We play at amphitheaters all over the world and this is a place that Singaporeans can be really proud of. We feel lucky to be able to get two full days of play at this iconic venue.”
Added Australia player Pat McCutcheon “The National Stadium in Singapore is great – the crowd is loud and there is a really nice echo. I loved it.”
In all, making it to the Cup Quarter Finals are Fiji and Samoa from Group A, France and New Zealand from Group B, South Africa and Kenya from Group C and Argentina and Australia from Group D.
Fiji will be up against Australia, South Africa will be taking on New Zealand, Argentina is facing Samoa and France is up against Kenya.
Fighting it out in the Bowl Quarter Finals are the rest of the teams – England and Portugal from Group A, United States and Canada from Group B, Russia and Scotland from Group C and Japan and Wales from Group D.
SOUTH EAST ASIA 7S
Apart from the 16 teams, the inaugural South East Asia 7s also took place this afternoon at the Singapore National Stadium. Thailand beat Singapore 42-0 to be crowned women’s champion and then their male counterparts beat the host Singapore by a 19-5 scoreline.
Overall about 23,508 people from all walks of life turned up to catch Day 1 of the action. Following the rugby, the spectators also got to enjoy an exclusive set by British superstar DJ Pete Tong after the conclusion of pool matches.
Then thousands of rugby fans then proceeded to the Official AfterParty venue Clarke Quay for the ‘Music After 7’ rock festival.
TOMORROW’S RUGBY ACTION AT 1030AM
The second day of the HSBC Singapore Sevens kicks off at 1030am with the Bowl quarterfinals. Check out the full fixtures at: http://www.singapore7s.sg/ruck/fixtures/
Click here for my writeup on the 2nd day of the rugby action.
Limited category One S$150 tickets are still available for purchase from the National Stadium box office.