Sevens: Ben Gollings says England can impress in Hong Kong
Ben Gollings believes England can upset the odds and claim Sevens glory in Hong Kong this weekend.
Last Updated: 27/03/14 12:53pm
Simon Amor's men come into the tournament with their tails up after reaching the semi-finals in Japan where they suffered defeat to South Africa.
Gollings expects the likes of Fiji and New Zealand to be vying for the crown, but he is not discounting England's chance of ruffling a few feathers.
"Having gone off the current form Fiji will be tough to beat here. They favour the tournament. They like playing here," he told Sky Sports.
"New Zealand will always be there. They'll be disappointed, the fact they didn't reach the final last week.
"South Africa have played very well this season. As an outside bet I'd like to see England up there. They've been playing well, reached the semi-final.
"Maybe Hong Kong and what Hong Kong does to an England side could be that edge that they need to get to a final and maybe take the Cup.
"Simon Amor has got most of his squad. He's here to win it. Simon of all people knows how to win this tournament having played here many times.
"England have definitely got the ability to win. They proved that last weekend, unfortunately just slipped up in the semi-finals. The added factor of the crowd here and playing in Hong Kong could be a game-changer for England."
Gollings is no longer a full-time player, but does feature on an invitational basis, and he has fond memories of playing in Hong Long having triumphed in 2002 and 2006.
"Quite a few of my cherished moments have been here in Hong Kong," he continued. "In 2002 when England first won it and being part of that side was quite spectacular considering I don't think anybody was expecting us to do what we did.
"To win here in Hong Kong is a home from home. The 2006 win in Hong Kong as well was quite special for me in particular as I scored the winning try and kicked the winning goal. Those are two of the big moments I think."
In 2009 the IOC Session in Copenhagen voted almost unanimously to add Sevens to the summer Olympics schedule in 2016 and Gollings has seen excellent growth in the sport on the back of the move.
"I think we're already starting to see a huge impact from when it was announced," he concluded. "More and more countries are getting involved in the game.
"I'd say the game of rugby as a whole, Sevens has become the medium for a lot of those countries because it doesn't take as long to produce a side that has 15.
"What it has done for the sport has been sensational and hopefully it keeps growing and growing to the Olympics and then people get to see what a spectacle it is and it keeps growing from there."
Sevens Legends Waisele Serevi and Ben Gollings are leading the HSBC Rugby Festivals powered by Serevi which are taking rugby to children around the world. For more info follow @HSBCrugby