Following two blistering opening rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series last year, we return in 2016 to Wellington for the third round of the series.
The tournament never fails to produce its fair share of magnificent sevens moments, so to get you in the mood we’ve picked five from the archive to rattle your memories.
1 SAMOA WIN FIRST EVER TOURNAMENT - 2007
The 2007 HSBC Wellington Sevens will be lodged firmly in the minds of Samoa fans across the globe. In a thrilling final in front of a packed out Westpac Stadium Samoa took on the might of Fiji, who had sauntered through all their matches in the tournament, conceding just seven points in total.
Once the final arrived it was all Samoa, with the highly skilled Mikaele Pesamino running in an early try to keep the score 7-0 at half-time. Further Samoan pressure put them 17-0 up and nullified the two late Fiji tries, with the final score ending 17-14. A huge moment for Samoa and the game of rugby sevens.
2 VITO INSPIRES NEW ZEALAND SUCCESS - 2008
Victor Vito is a name familiar to the game of XVs, having featured in the Rugby World Cup 2015-winning New Zealand squad. However, his rise to prominence came in sevens and those lucky enough to see Vito back in 2008 would have witnessed raw rugby talent at its finest.
Having won the previous year Samoa were again in the final, but they could not have prepared for the show Vito was about to put on, powering to two tries and help New Zealand to a 22-17 win. The one below was one of his finest of the weekend.
3 DAMU’S LAST MINUTE WINNER FOR ENGLAND – 2009
Last minute thrillers don’t come much bigger than England’s v New Zealand in 2009. The hosts were chasing their fifth title in Wellington and looked on course to do so as they led 17-12 going into the dying moments. Both sides had been reduced to six men and England were deep in their own half. Ben Gollings grabbed the ball and surged forward, finding an overlap for Isoa Damudamu to cross next to the posts. At 17-17, it was left up to Gollings to slot the points and claim England’s first ever tournament win in New Zealand.
4 O’DONNELL’S HAT-TRICK SEALS NZ TITLE – 2011
Rarely has a young gun had such an impact in a sevens tournament as Declan O’Donnell for New Zealand in 2011. Power, pace and stamina, he was a devastating weapon for the home side and in the final against England he showed pure class running in three tries, including the below length of the field try. Amazing scenes in Wellington.
5 KENYA STUN NEW ZEALAND IN SUDDEN DEATH EXTRA TIME – 2013
2013 was a golden year for Kenya in Wellington. While they were narrowly beaten in the final by England 24-19 in extra time, it was their performance in the semi-final against New Zealand that cemented their names in the Wellington history books.
In the Cup semi-final Kenya were losing 14-0 with just four minutes to go. New Zealand, on form as always in Wellington, looked as if they would make yet another Cup final on home turf. However, Kenya had other ideas and at full time had brought the game back to 14-14 and pushed it to extra time. Oscar Ouma grabbed the winning try within 40 seconds of “golden try extra time” to secure their place in the final v England. Incredible drama.