- Two players – Samoa’s Alamanda Motuga and Seabelo Senatla of South Africa – earned 50 points on the DHL Performance Tracker at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series opener in Dubai.
- Russia’s Alena Mikhaltsova wins the Dubai DHL Impact Player Award for the second year in a row.
After the first tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2017-18, Samoa’s Alamanda Motuga and Seabelo Senatla of South Africa are tied for the DHL Impact Player Award.
Both players earned 50 points on the DHL Performance Tracker at the Dubai tournament to share the tournament's top honours, posting nearly identical stats.
In the women’s tournament in Dubai, Russia’s Alena Mikhaltsova topped her outstanding effort as DHL Impact Player at the same tournament in 2016 by tallying 61 points for top honours in the 2017 edition. That’s six more than her winning effort last season.
Mikhaltsova led her team to a bronze medal finish in the tournament. Australia claimed gold with a 34-0 win over the United States and will host the next women’s series in Sydney in January.
Senatla’s effort helped his Blitzboks side win the Dubai tournament for the second season in a row.
“It was the first time that I had played with the guys for a long time, so it was a real change getting back into it,” he said. “Sevens is so different, but I think I have gained some new skills which can help me. It was great to be out there with the boys and it’s a real team effort to win in Dubai.”
Although Motuga’s Samoa side finished sixth in Dubai, his ability to keep pace with Senatla – a former World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year – was a truly remarkable individual performance.
In addition to the deadlock at the top, third and fourth place in the DHL Impact Player Award standings are even as well, with Darcy Graham of Scotland and England’s Dan Norton each earning 43 points.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series returns with a home tournament for Senatla and the Blitzboks on December 9 and 10 in Cape Town, South Africa.