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Rugby with Sidney: Who to look out for at the HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s

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The 3rd edition of the HSBC Singapore Sevens in 2018 will probably be the most exciting one yet. Positioned after the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, this year’s edition of the Singapore sevens will almost certainly see a different country lifting the cup after Kenya and Canada in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

This year, with countries like England, New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa and Canada participating in the Commonwealth Games, we might see these teams reach into their extended squads as they look to rotate and keep their players fresh for the extended 2018 sevens season.

Singapore Rugby Sevens  Fans supporting Team USA at the HSBC Singapore Rugby 7s 2017. Photo: Andy Pascua/ Team Nila

 

2018 World Cup Sevens host country USA is my team to watch for this year’s Singapore Sevens. Not your traditional rugby powerhouse, the USA has grown to be a prominent name in the world of sevens in recent years. Currently sitting in 6th place in the standings and having won their home tournament this year, last season’s Singapore Sevens finalist USA could prove to be a force to be reckoned with come 28th/29th April at the Singapore Sports Hub.

Sure, their performances this season have been a mixed bag, with them claiming a home series victory in Las Vegas and two 4th place finishes in Vancouver and Sydney. However, the USA will not be involved in the Commonwealth Games, which means that they will be coming in to the Singapore Sevens with a strong consistent roster of players. Coupled with an experienced coach in the form of Mike Friday, I would expect the USA to be a strong contender for the Singapore Sevens 2018 title as they look to peak for the Sevens World Cup on home soil in July.

The dynamic nature of sevens means that individual players are able to influence the outcome of games and ultimately lead their teams to victory. Here are some names to watch in the upcoming Singapore sevens:

Nathan Hirayama (CAN): This Canadian playmaker has been influential this season, orchestrating the Canadian offense. He leads the charts this year with most points scored and he will be fired up to lead his team to defend their title in Singapore.

Eroni Sau (FIJI): Nicknamed the sledge hammer from Suva, this Fijian flyer is in fine form, with 24 tries and 83 tackles to his name so far this year. It will be exciting to see how he matches up against the other flyers in the series.

Perry Baker (USA): The 2017 world sevens player of the year is once again in the limelight, leading the try scoring chart with 32 tries this year. With the ability to outpace most of the wingers in the series, he poses a threat from anywhere on the field at any time. If the USA play their cards right, there should be no stopping him.

 

Keen to catch the action LIVE? You can purchase tickets for the upcoming HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens event, which is taking place on 28 and 29 April. Do not miss the opportunity to revel in 20 hours of mind-blowing action by some of the world’s best men’s rugby sevens teams. Get your tickets here!

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