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Australia’s Michael Hooper takes a selfie with fans on day one of the Cathay/ HSBC Hong Kong Sevens at Hong Kong Stadium on 5 April, 2024 in Hong Kong, China

HIGHLIGHTS | Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2024 | DAY 1

A full house of 40,000 fans were treated to spectacular entertainment on and off the pitch on the opening day of the world famous Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Friday.

Two rounds of pool matches were completed as the sixth event of HSBC SVNS 2024 got under way at a vibrant Hong Kong Stadium, celebrating its 30th edition.

The top five teams in the women’s SVNS standings – Australia, New Zealand, France, USA and Canada – proved their quality by each claiming a pair victories to secure their spots in Saturday’s quarter-finals with a game to spare.

As the race to claim the SVNS 2024 League Winners title hots up before the final round in Singapore next month there was a shock on day one in Hong Kong as current men’s standings leaders Argentina were defeated by USA and New Zealand, and their misery was compounded by an injury to their try scoring sensation Marcos Moneta.

France, New Zealand, USA and South Africa sailed through to the men’s quarter-finals with perfect records on day one.

All eyes were on Australia’s opening match as 32 year old ex-Wallabies captain Michael Hooper made his highly anticipated sevens debut. Hooper has 125 test caps – including 69 as captain – to his name and got his sevens career off to a winning start in a 12-0 victory over Fiji after coming on as a second half substitute wearing the number 77 shirt. Later in the day Australia were beaten 19-14 by France and will face Canada in their final pool encounter on Saturday.

The new look HSBC SVNS 2024 features seven regular season events – in Dubai, Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore – before the Grand Final in Madrid.

The men’s and women’s team with the most cumulative points after seven rounds will claim the title of SVNS 2024 League Winners, while the top eight placed teams will earn their place in the new ‘winner takes all’ Grand Final, where the men’s and women’s SVNS Champions will be crowned in Madrid on 31 May to 2 June.

Four teams – Argentina men, and Australia, New Zealand and France women – have already secured their spots in the SVNS Grand Final in Madrid and further teams are likely to confirm their places this weekend.

On arrival in Hong Kong Argentina held a 20 point lead in the men’s standings, having claimed three gold and one silver medals from the opening four rounds. Argentina have 90 points, ahead of Ireland on 70 and Fiji, who have enjoyed great success in Hong Kong over the years, in third on 64 points.

Australia are top of the women’s standings with 90 points ahead of New Zealand in second on 86 points and France in third on 74 points. Australia got off to a flying start by winning the opening two rounds in Dubai and Cape Town, but New Zealand have come roaring back with victories at the last two rounds in Vancouver and Los Angeles to set up a thrilling climax to the women’s competition.

The action continues at 09:30 local time (GMT+8) on Saturday with the round of pool matches before the quarter-finals take place from 15:34.

Finals day on Sunday will begin at 09:40 with the semi-finals from 12:54 before the event reaches its climax with the women’s and men’s finals at 18:13 and 18:53 respectively.

You can watch the HSBC SVNS action wherever you are in the world, either via broadcaster partners or online on RugbyPass TV.

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