INSPIRED PERFORMANCES THRILLS CROWD ON DAY ONE OF THE HSBC SINGAPORE RUGBY SEVENS
Sevuloni Mocenacagi of Fiji dives to score a try during the Pool A match between Fiji and Canada
13 April 2019 – Day one of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens did not disappoint fans here at the National Stadium. High-scoring matches, a colourful display of fancy-dress outfits and deafening cheers from fans rooting on their rugby heroes made it a fantastic atmosphere for the spectators.
The morning started with New Zealand making clear their intentions with a 43-0 win over World Cup hosts, Japan. England, USA and South Africa followed suit and logged high scoring games at the expense of Kenya, Wales and Scotland respectively.
Defending champion of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, Fiji, swept aside a brave Canadian side by using their trademark handling moves, delighting the crowd with their dominant showing (50 – 12) over Canada. Things didn’t go quite as planned for the crowd favourite as they lost their next two matches to Scotland (12 – 19) and South Africa (7 – 17).
Fiji head coach Gareth Baber gave his feedback on his team’s performance today, “We lost probably the most influential player early in the tournament during the first game against Canada. Obviously, experience is a big thing when you’re coming in the second tournament. Even in the Scotland game
we were after everything, we just didn’t get the breaks, and that happens in rugby. Against South Africa, we showed great endeavor and some huge amount of work and we were able to capitalise on some of the pressure positions we put ourselves in - that was very good as well. We’re not far away. If you look at last weekend, what has happened there and coming to Singapore, it’s always tough, but no excuses, we’ve got to get better as the tournament goes on.”
The other three teams in the Top 4 of the table – USA, New Zealand and South Africa – had a good day in the office with three wins for the day. New Zealand continued to show their dominance against a spirited Spanish side (53-0) while Samoa nearly notched a win over the All Blacks but the latter’s
resilience and experience saw the match end in New Zealand’s favour (26-22).
USA had similar fortunes with a narrow win over Kenya (17 – 14) before outsmarting England in their final game today (22 – 7). South Africa impressed with their strong (36 – 0) win over Canada and finished the day on a high, defeating Fiji in their final game.
As announced at Tuesdays press conference, dependent on results this weekend in Singapore, both USA and Fiji are on the brink of being amongst the first qualifiers for the Rugby Sevens at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year. USA took 3 wins from 3 today so stay top of the series standings and are showing their consistency across the series here in Asia.
USA captain Madison Hughes was pleased with this team’s performance today and said “I’m really impressed with how the guys worked for one another. We maintained possession and grinded it out. We did nothing particularly flashy but we worked together and came in with a win against a good England team.
The goal at the beginning of the year was to be in the Top 4 and clinch the qualification - that was the big goal for the season. We’re pretty close to that. We have got to keep winning, keep doing everything we can to perform. It’s pretty cool that it’s within touching distance and we’ll do whatever we can to keep winning and see what happens.”
Away from the Rugby, Smash Mouth got the crowd dancing with their renditions of much-loved music classics. The noise lifted in the National Stadium and the American band gave an explosive show which added to the exciting aura that had filled the bowl area. In addition to Smash Mouth, fans and attendees of the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens enjoyed the Singapore Sevens Splash Party, Super Warrior 7s at Community Play Day, opportunities to meet beloved characters from DreamWorks like Trolls and the Minions by Illumination, as well as rugby legends Huriana Manuel, Waisale Serevi, George Gregan and DJ Forbes.
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