- Sau leads the 2018 series in tackles and line breaks
- He’s now in 2nd place behind Canada's Justin Douglas
Rugby Sevens newcomer Eroni Sau has been turning lots of heads and making lots of headlines in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this year. That’s because he’s been an absolute beast on both sides of the ball. The series top line breaker and top tackler didn’t disappoint at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Seven this weekend, where another stand-out performance earned him the DHL Impact Player award and helped his team take their fourth consecutive title in Hong Kong.
Watch Eroni Sau in action:
But there’s something about this moment, he says. “It feels different. It feels special.”
Why? Well, for one thing Sau wasn’t playing sevens rugby this time last year. And, well, it’s Hong Kong – arguably the most famous and best-loved leg of the series, and the place where Fiji has been making history and inspiring the next generation since taking their first title in 1977.
“It’s like a dream come true. Every Fiji player growing up, to play in Hong Kong, it’s special.”Eroni Sau, Fiji Airways Men's National 7s team winger
Just last year, former captain Osea Kolinisau said of the event: “It’s kind of a rite of passage for us Fijians, we grew up watching legends of the game playing here.”
Sau agrees: “Last year I was watching the game back home and I was saying to my wife: next year I’m going to go and play there. It’s like a dream come true. Every Fiji player growing up, to play in Hong Kong, it’s special. Winning the tournament and DHL Impact Player is special.”
Rob Vickerman, former England Sevens Captain and DHL Ambassador, was one of 120,000 fans at iconic Lee Gardens who was watching the Sau show: “His lethal weapons – those two shoulders – making 21 tackles no less. [He’s] the DHL Impact Player Award winner, and rightly so. What a performance!"
The Pacific islander finished overall with 53 points, just one ahead of South African speedster Stedman Gans. Sau made the most breaks of any player in the tournament with 10 and put in a huge shift on attack with 16 carries. However, his defense was immense with 21 tackles and was crucial to his side's title in Hong Kong. After seven rounds, leads the way in tackles (104) and line breaks (44).
“His lethal weapons – those two shoulders – making 21 tackles no less. What a performance!”Rob Vickerman
DHL Performance Tracker
In the overall DHL Performance Tracker standings, Canada's Justin Douglas leads the way with 282 points on top of his epic carrying ability – he has 137 carries so far this series. Sau moves into second place, just 17 points behind. In third is Australia's Ben O'Donnell with 259, followed closely by France's Tavite Veredamu at 257.
Fiji (still) on fire
After finishing the HSBC Vancouver Sevens unbeaten with a 31-12 victory over Kenya, fans witnessed a repeat final in Hong Kong. Fiji ran in four tries to finish 24-12 after leading 17-0 at the half. The win is not only their fourth title in a row at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, it is also their third win in the last four tournaments of the 2018 series. Fiji is now just three points behind series leaders South Africa in the overall standings.
Next up: HSBC Singapore Sevens
The world series now heads to Singapore on April 28/29 after stopping by the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next weekend.
But before that, excitement is building for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco on July 20-22. With just over 100 days to go, the seedings for the tournament will be confirmed today. Find out more at www.rwcsevens.com.
Find out more about the DHL Impact Player award and the six previous winners right here.