Fiji Keen to Build on Recent Success at 2017 Singapore Sevens
The eighth tournament of the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series sees Singapore get involved through the Singapore Sevens. The first Singapore Sevens tournament was held in 2002. After having been involved in several tournaments like the IRB World Sevens Series to start with, Singapore Sevens will be a regular fixture of the Sevens World Series at least until the 2019-20 season.
The tournament was often held at the Former National Stadium until 2006. After hosting the one edition in 2013, Yio Chu Kang Stadium has been replaced by the National Stadium for the last edition.
Singapore is one of the ten stops on the great HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series circuit and is actually the only location in South-East Asia that stages such a global sevens rugby tournament. The 2016 edition broke attendance records for a rugby tournament in Singapore after over 25,000 season passes were sold.
New Zealand have been the most successful team when it comes to the Singapore Sevens. However, they have not won the title since 2005. Despite being one of the most powerful teams in the Kenya are the latest champions as they managed to beat Fiji 30-7 in the 2016 event.
Come April 15-16, Kenya will definitely want to defend their Singapore Rugby Sevens title against 2016 Olympic champion Fiji, 12-time Series winner New Zealand and other powerful rugby teams such as Australia, South Africa and England. Perennial dark horses like Wales, Samoa, Argentina and USA will look to spring some surprises against the big guns, teams from Asia will be Hong Kong and Japan (Olympics semifinalists) - who are actually counting on the fans from Singapore to get behind them.
Fiji will be looking to reclaim the former glory days after finally managing to win at the Olympics in 2016. The event at Hong Kong saw the team secure the first win of the season ahead of South Africa, who have a massive lead in the table.
South Africa’s lead may have been cut down in the Hong Kong Sevens, but they still possess a 23-point advantage over Fiji. England may be dropping out of contention for the title after a disappointing Hong Kong showing. The team could only manage 10 points.
Argentina have come close to winning the Singapore Sevens in the past, but their mediocre form – along with the English – does not see them ranked as one of the favourites for the 2017 edition. The competition is more likely to be within the top of the table, as Fiji and South Africa fight for a top spot in the overall standings.
The 2017 Singapore Sevens: Final Thoughts
Six national women teams and nine national men teams will be playing in the 2017 Singapore Sevens starting on April 14 at the Yio Chu Kang stadium. The finals will be played the next day at the National Stadium. The organisers are betting on even more two-days passes being sold this year as a 2016 HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens survey showed that over 88% of the attendees were satisfied with their experience. Over 8,000 fans came from overseas at that point.
South Africa will definitely be the most interesting team to watch. They've made all the tournament finals so far in the 2017 season but came out on the losing side against Fiji last time, who closed the series standings gap to 23 points. It seems that captain Snyman is not worrying about this.