HK Sevens Pool B profile (NZL, RSA, WAL, USA)
Story and Photo: www.irbsevens.com
A lowdown of the four teams in Pool B in Hong Kong, who are competing in a 12-team competition alongside the other current core teams.
Current Series rank: 1st
Profile: New Zealand currently lead the 2011/12 Series, in no small part to four Cup final appearances in five rounds, two of which they won – in South Africa and on home soil in New Zealand. The reigning Series and Hong Kong champions will be there or thereabouts this year, but it will be interesting to see how they perform without the season’s leading try scorer Frank Halai.
Cup finals: 64 ; Cup titles: 43
Played: 597 ; Won: 515 ; Lost: 78 ; Drawn: 4
Points Scored: 18,068; Points Conceded: 5,206
Highest Score: 78-0 v WALES
Widest margin: 78-0 v WALES
Heaviest defeat: 14-43 v FIJI
Current Series rank: 3rd
Profile: South Africa have never tasted success in Hong Kong, so where better to also lift their first Cup title of the season than here. Currently third behind pool opponents New Zealand, and also Fiji, Paul True’s side will always be a threat with IRB Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika in their side.
Cup finals: 29 ; Cup titles: 14
Played: 586 ; Won: 429 ; Lost: 147 ; Drawn: 10
Points Scored: 14,399; Points Conceded: 6,627
Highest Score: 84-0 v MALAYSIA
Widest margin: 84-0 v MALAYSIA
Heaviest defeat: 10-69 v NEW ZEALAND
Current Series rank: 8th
Profile: Defending RWC Sevens champions Wales may be boosted by the national side’s Grand Slam success in the Six Nations in which former Wales Sevens’ Alex Cuthbert scored the only try in the 16-9 victory against France. Hit and miss this season, a 48-0 victory against Fiji being the highlight in the Plate final in South Africa adding to a Plate victory against Samoa in Dubai, before collecting just five Series points in New Zealand.
Cup finals: 0 ; Cup titles: 0
Played: 386 ; Won: 207 ; Lost: 173 ; Drawn: 6
Points Scored: 7,248; Points Conceded: 6,727
Highest Score: 61-0 v CHINESE TAIPEI
Widest margin: 61-0 v CHINESE TAIPEI
Heaviest defeat: 0-78 v NEW ZEALAND
Current Series rank: 13th
Profile: USA have failed to fire this season, but it will be interesting to see how they manage under new coach Alex Magleby who has replaced Al Caravelli after the previous coach stepped down for personal reasons after the home tournament in Las Vegas. Always competitive but will struggle in this pool.
Cup finals: 1 ; Cup titles: 0
Played: 355 ; Won: 132 ; Lost: 221 ; Drawn: 2
Points Scored: 5,440; Points Conceded: 7,565
Highest Score: 62-0 v THAILAND
Widest margin: 62-0 v THAILAND
Heaviest defeat: 0-59 v NEW ZEALAND