FOX Sports Asia picks out seven stars to keep a close eye on at the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens, which will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub from April 13 to 14, 2019.
JERRY TUWAI (FIJI)
Small in stature but big on heart and impact on the field, it seems fitting that Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai is affectionately known as the “the little magician”.
His low centre of gravity and rapid footwork, coupled with his uncanny ability to find space, make him a genuine star of the game – one that has been nominated for the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in the past two years.
Fiji star Jerry Tuwai looks ahead to HSBC World Sevens Series
CARLIN ISLES (UNITED STATES)
Widely regarded as the world’s fastest rugby player – having clocked a time 100-metre timing of 10.13 seconds in his days as a high school athlete – Carlin Isles’ sheer speed makes him one of HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series’ excitement machines.
The American was the top try scorer last season with 49 to his name and has showed no signs of slowing down in 2018-19, again leading the way with 41 with three legs left to go in the campaign.
SIVIWE SOYIZWAPI (SOUTH AFRICA)
Considering South Africa are currently a team in transition, the likes of Siviwe Soyizwapi and Werner Kok have only grown in importance both in terms of shouldering much of the workload on the field, while showing the ropes to the next generation.
With 23 tries to his name thus far this season, Soyizwapi is currently the fifth-highest on the charts and recently had the honour of captaining the Blitzboks in their final two matches of the triumphant Canada Sevens campaign in the absence of Philip Snyman.
CONNOR BRAID (CANADA)
The Singapore Sports Hub holds a special place in Canada’s heart given it was the venue where they won their maiden World Rugby Sevens Series title in 2017, and one man who has been a standout this season has been Connor Braid.
The 28-year-old has been awarded was named the Impact Player in both Las Vegas and Vancouver – awarded to the player who records the highest cumulative score in tackles made, line breaks, offloads and carries – and currently leads the overall standings by a healthy 25 points.
SIONE MOLIA (NEW ZEALAND)
Renowned for his outstanding work ethic and consistency, it is no surprise that Sione Molia currently leads New Zealand in tackles and is fifth on the overall list with 75.
In addition to his defensive fortitude, Molia also offers the New Zealanders plenty going forward and is their second-top try scorer with 18, with his two-way contribution going some way in helping his side to triumphs in Dubai and Sydney so far this season.
DAN NORTON (ENGLAND)
Despite traditionally being one of the most-successful teams in Rugby Sevens history, recent times have been tough for England with just four triumphs in the past six seasons, of which they finished inside the top three in the final standings just once in 2016-17.
Success has continued to elude them so far this season but one man that has continued to shine for the English is Dan Norton, who is the all-time record try scorer in the game with 328 and already has 29 in the current campaign – 12 behind the chart-topping Isles.
ALAMANDA MOTUGA (SAMOA)
There is no denying that Alamanda Motuga has been one of the most influential players this season as his 231 Impact Player points is second only to Braid, with the Samoan dynamo having also claimed the Impact Player award in Cape Town last December.
With Samoa looking for their first win since the Paris Sevens in May 2016, the powerfully-built Motuga has been at the forefront of their challenge by leading them with 20 tries (joint-9th overall), 117 runs (6th overall), 22 clean breaks (joint-5th overall) and 76 tackles (4th overall).