Sevens sides primed for Hong Kong tilt
This weekend's Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is set to be the biggest yet, with 28 nations being represented in two tournaments across three days.
As well as the sixth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which Hong Kong will compete in against the 15 core teams having qualified as Asian champions, 12 sides will be looking to finish in the top four of the pre-core team qualifier.
For USA Sevens champions South Africa, Hong Kong is the only tournament they are yet to win, and head coach Paul Treu spoke about his desire to be the first side to win two Cups this season at the tournament's official press conference.
"I have taken a picture of this Cup because it is almost like the closest we have come to it in the last 20 years," said Treu.
"We do have the opportunity to become the first team this season to win successive tournaments, and there is everything to play for.
"This is going to be one of the most competitive tournaments this season but I believe the team who wants to win it the most will be holding the Cup at the end."
South Africa are second in the World Series standings behind last year's runners-up New Zealand, and their captain DJ Forbes believes the competitive nature will only increase in Hong Kong.
"The big teams definitely take it to another level here in Hong Kong," added Forbes." Everyone has seen how consistent we are, we have been in a lot of finals this year.
"For us it is about error free rugby and we are looking for number two, and it would be pretty special to do it here in Hong Kong. We never like to come here and lose, a lot of teams target this one. Every time we watch that final we get a lot of passion back and that is what is going to drive us come game time."
Fiji, who defeated Forbes' side 35-21 in last year's final, will be without their injured captain Setefano Cakau, but Nemani Nagusa believes they can still defend their title.
"It will be hard to defend, it is always hard to defend a title, but we have come prepared and are looking forward to a great tournament. He [Cakau] has always been a role model for me, but we can't do much about him not being here and I have a good bunch of boys who I believe can do the job."
Ashley Drake, Cook Islands captain: "I can't wait, it is the pinnacle of Sevens and the boys are really excited. There is a huge carrot dangling in front of us. If we become a core team Sevens will grow immensely in the Cook Islands."
Juan Diego Ormaechea, Uruguay captain: "We are hoping for a good tournament and looking to qualify for London for a chance to become a core team. This is a unique opportunity and we must grab it."