Hong Kong Sevens: The Danger Men

(IRB.COM) Monday 18 March 2013
 Hong Kong Sevens: The Danger Men
Blitzbokke wing Cornal Hendicks has scored 25 tries in the first five rounds of the Series, three more than the next best

We kick off our week leading up to Hong Kong by profiling some of the men to have lit up the HSBC Sevens World Series so far this season with their try-scoring feats. Many of them should feature heavily in the main 16-team competition this weekend between this season's core teams and the hosts and Asian champions, Hong Kong.

1st Cornal Hendricks, South Africa
Tries: 25
Rounds played: 5
Average tries per round: 5

Hendricks may not be the out-and-out quickest of the wings on the circuit, but he's fast enough! More than that, he's a very fine rugby player with a deadly eye for a gap and an intuition for picking just the right line that often sees him glide through a flailing defence like a warm knife through butter. He is also lucky to play outside one of the best halfback twin-engines out there in Paul Delport and Branco du Preez and seems to be able to tap into their telepathic frequency at times.

2nd Sean Duke, Canada
Tries: 22
Rounds played: 5
Average tries per round: 4.4

Canada are right up there this season when it comes to taking their chances and converting visits to the 22 into tries, and this man is a key reason for that. Strong and powerful but also with genuine 'wheels'. A real finisher in a very accomplished side where lots of very good players go about their business and, well-coached, know exactly what they're on the pitch to do.

3rd Dan Norton, England
Tries: 22
Rounds played: 5
Average tries per round: 4.4

The commentators call him the greyhound, and often the inspiration behind England. Ben Ryan's men have had a poor season by their standards - Wellington aside - but Norton has still chipped away with tries, albeit too many have come in the Bowl.

4th Pedro Martin, Spain
Tries: 20
Rounds played: 5
Average tries per round: 4

Closer in stature to one of Barcelona's football stars than a rugby player, you might expect Martin to struggle with the physicality but think again. This quicksilver wing is a throw back to the pre-hulk days, when tries were crafted with briliiance rather than bruised into submission. Like a dashing young Phiippe Sella, he's troubled every defence he's played this season. Genuine gas.

5th Chris Dry, South Africa
Tries: 17
Rounds played: 5
Average tries per round: 3.4

The only forward in this list, Dry has been a giant this season. Alongside captain Frankie Horne he sucks it up and puts in all the hard yards, and still has the conditioning and pace to also finish moves out wide. A key man for the Blitzbokke.

6th= Kurt Baker, NZ
Tries: 16
Rounds played: 3
Average tries per round: 5.33

It is a real shame for New Zealand that they don't have the injured Baker with them in HK. The man who always seems to laugh himself over the line is, simply put, a very good rugby player and gives them lots of creative options with his kicking game.

6th= Julien Candelon, France
Tries: 16
Rounds played: 4
Average tries per round: 4

Is he 33, or 23?.. Seems to have been given a new lease of life this season by being able to commit fully to the Sevens Series with France giving central contracts. What a player to have back - such a proven finisher. He also knows what a Cup win feels like, having been there when France won their one-and-only, in Paris in 2005.

6th= Collins Injera, Kenya
Tries: 16
Rounds played: 3
Average tries per round: 5.33

The will-he-won't-he saga ended with Injera not boarding the plane and, whatever the reasons and reasonings, he will be missed. Oscar Ouma and Willy Ambaka give the Kenyans firepower on the wing but Injera is a potent weapon by any standards. It's no mean player that has over 150 tries in Sevens still years short of his 30th birthday. Hopefully a gem Kenya can polish and bring out again in the future.

Video: Story of the season so far...

Series qualifying explained: Hong Kong & London

From the end of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series, promotion and relegation from core team status comes into effect, with a pre-qualifying competition in Hong Kong (round 6) and a final core team qualifier in London (round 9).

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will feature 28 teams and two competitions: In the first, the 15 current core teams and the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, Hong Kong, will compete for the famous Hong Kong title and World Series points. In the second, 12 regional teams - two from each of the six IRB regions - will compete for four places at the core team qualifying final in London.

The Marriott London Sevens will feature 20 teams and two competitions: In the first, the top 12-ranked sides in the HSBC Sevens World Series after round 8, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens, will compete for the London title and final World Series points. In the second, the 13th-, 14th- and 15th-ranked core teams after the Glasgow event will compete against the four qualifiers from Hong Kong and Asian champions Hong Kong for the three available core team places on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series. 

Hong Kong Sevens

Round 6
27-29 March 2015
Venue: Hong Kong Stadium
City: Hong Kong
Capacity: 40,000

Pool A
Pool B
Pool C
Pool D
  • DJ Forbes, NZ
  • Tom Mitchell of England
  • NZ win HK Sevens