One man who has experienced coaching with three different teams in Hong Kong, and on the wider HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, is current USA coach Mike Friday.
Under Friday’s guidance, England won three Hong Kong titles between 2002 and 2006 and he later went on to coach Kenya and now the United States, helping both break into the game’s top echelon.
This week World Rugby TV asked Friday to name the top five players he’s coached in international sevens. Three of them line up in Hong Kong, one as a coach and two as players...
1 THE COMPUTER
“Player one, Simon Amor. My captain for England sevens, the pocket computer. The man who batted well above his height and his weight and was at the heartbeat of all of the successes that England sevens had in the early 2000’s.”
“Player two.. Matthew Tait (pictured) - an 18-year-old wonderboy. Exploded onto the scene with a step to die for. Pace, wheels, excitability, x-factor, he had everything and he absolutely lit up the (Melbourne) Commonwealth Games in 2006 and the Hong Kong Sevens in 2006."
3 POWER AND PACE
"Player three, oscar ouma - for me, wheels! Physical, raw power with pace and aggression and a smile and a sense of humour to die for. He was an unbelievable - is an unbelievable - player on the pitch but is such a great bloke off the pitch as well."
4 WRECKING BALL
"Player four, Willy Ambaka. Played in the centre for me in Kenya. Give the man the ball in space, he’s gone with his fend, his hit and his spin. His ability to finish when it mattered was crucial for Kenya’s success. Again, get him off the pitch and he’s got one hell of a smile!"
5 THE BEAST
"Player five is Danny Barrett, the beast. Huge physical power. Huge physical presence, but will empty the tank at all costs every time for his team mates and never gives up. A real asset, a real talisman to have on your team. I’ve just got to work on his sense of humour off the pitch!"