Singapore 7s return alongside headliners Fiji and New Zealand
After two years of COVID cancellations, the World Series Sevens will return to Singapore and with them two of the world’s top teams, Fiji and New Zealand, will make their first appearances in 2022.
Forced to cancel the tournament in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Singapore 7s was again missed in 2021 as the World Series was only able to hold two tournaments in Canada. This year’s series has so far taken place in Dubai and Spain, and will now return to the National Stadium in Singapore where thousands of fans are expected to flood the stands.
Considered one of the most exciting venues on the circuit, the Singapore tournament is one of the most beloved fixtures for players and fans and offers an atmosphere that cannot be matched anywhere else.
“I think it’s fantastic that he’s back,” former Canadian sevens player Nathan Hirayama told ESPN. “I think it’s a place in this series that the players have really missed.
“I know this stop in Asia is always surrounded in red for us in the Canadian contingent, it was always something we looked forward to, getting there and playing. What a fantastic tournament, what a fantastic venue.
“It’s a beautiful ground, it’s one of the most solid grounds to play on, which makes it one of the fastest grounds, so it’s good for expansive rugby and it’s great for the 7-a-side game. Not to mention just coming to Singapore, the people are amazing, so it’s the one every player in the entire World Series is looking forward to.
“For the players, the vibe is everything. You try to block it out, you say you’re not distracted and you’re not absorbing it, but that energy, it’s hard not to feel it when you you’re in the tunnel, especially running in front of a crowd like that. It’s definitely a huge plus and something Singapore always brings.
The return of New Zealand and Fiji adds another layer of excitement for the Singapore 7s. Unable to compete in the opening four World Series tournaments this season, the return of gold and silver medalists from the 2020 Olympics is a huge boost for the series as it seeks to shake off the effects of the pandemic.
“It’s great that they [Fiji and New Zealand] be back on the show as well as Samoa. Obviously when you talk about New Zealand and Fiji in rugby sevens you are talking about some of the best teams in the world. It’s exciting to see how they are doing.
“What I expect and what everyone expects is world class rugby from these two sides, it will be great to watch and the other teams will have to do their best to take it. It will be quite a spectacle .
“You have to do your best to beat these teams. You need the right preparations and you have to almost play the perfect game. They are fantastic athletes, lots of size, lots of speed, great rugby IQ and that’s fun to play against teams like that, you always want to play against the best, and I think it’s just a huge boost for the whole series to have them back.”
According to Hirayama, fans should watch more than just New Zealand and Fiji to bring in the X factor, with teams like Argentina, Australia and Samoa also playing an exciting brand of rugby.
“Besides Canada, I really like the way the Argies [Argentina] are playing this season and over the past few seasons,” Hirayama told ESPN. “I think they’re a really exciting team to watch, they’ve got a lot of young talent on that side with some old faces there that steer the ship.
“I’m curious to see how Samoa come up after missing a few tournaments. I think the Australians are playing really well too, I think they have a lot of good young talent too. There are so many teams to watch, they all look exciting and there’s a lot of new faces, exciting to see the new talent show up and see the depth, so I’m looking forward to watching this weekend.”
Kicking off on Saturday April 9, Hirayama thinks fans have no excuse not to return to the stands and bring the party back to the Singapore 7s.
“I would definitely say go down. I can’t think of a faster sport that’s fun to watch. Even if you’re not a rugby fan, it’s a great watch and I think there are going to be things exciting rugby this weekend in Singapore, so I would say definitely check it out.”