South Africa still have "homework" to do ahead of Singapore

The theme of the HSBC Singapore Sevens this year is colour and in front of the iconic Merlion Park Lion in the city on Wednesday, all 16 team captains brought a vibrant splash of light to the Singapore tourist spot.

With teams still getting in their recovery training after the three tough days in Hong Kong, they've had time to look back on what was and what could have been.

Not least for USA captain Madison Hughes, who led his side to extra-time in the semi-finals against series leaders South Africa, before a mistake cost them the game.

“We were really disappointed, as they are a fantastic team," said Hughes.

"If I made that (conversion) kick in the final minute and if we didn’t drop that ball in their 22 (that led to the winning try), who knows? We couldn’t have come any closer but we were unlucky on the day.

“We’ve really been building in Vancouver, (Las) Vegas and Hong Kong – we made the semi-finals but we came up short. You come in to any tournament wanting to win but we’re really going to have to be top of our game this weekend in Singapore."

South Africa have made all the tournament finals so far this season but came out on the losing side at the weekend against Fiji, who closed the series standings gap on the Blitzboks, albeit to 23 points. 

But captain Philip Snyman is not worrying about the maths just yet. 

 “Fiji played phenomenal rugby in the final and we weren’t up for it – we made too many mistakes. A lot of homework needs to be done ahead of this weekend.

“We’re not focusing on the end result right now, even though it’s our goal to win the series, but for us we’re only looking at Singapore and doing the basics well."

Australia also impressed at the last round in Hong Kong, finishing third, and captain Tom Lucas is upbeat ahead of Saturday and Sunday in the National Stadium: "We were very happy with the boys. Unfortunately we didn't beat Fiji in the semis but overall it was a pretty good result, looking back on it.

Lucas praised the performance of his team-mate Henry Hutchison who scored some important tries at the seventh round of the series: "He did really well. He stuck out wide and finished brilliantly all weekend."

The heat and humidity is a factor in Singapore but Lucas thinks teams will adapt: "It's tough stuff. Coming from Australia it's not too bad given how hot it gets at home, but it's a bit of a surprise to the system training here this morning."

Kenya return to Singapore as defending champions and captain Andrew Amonde is hoping his side can rediscover some of the form from that event.

“I think we’re in a very good place – we played very well in Hong Kong but we’re hoping to do what we did last year in Singapore. It was about determination last year and about focusing on what we needed to do.”

The action kicks off on Saturday morning at 11.00 (GMT +7) when Kenya take on Argentina.