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HKRFU Launches Campaign to Honour Best Rugby Sevens Stars

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The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) has launched a campaign to honour the best seven international rugby sevens players to have taken to the pitch at So Kon Po over the past four decades.

The campaign accompanies a fan poll to identify Hong Kong’s top national team representative of the past four decades.

The first inductee into this singular sevens roll of honour is China’s Mr Rugby, Zhang Zhiqiang, who holds the all-time record for tries scored in Hong Kong since the inception of the HSBC Sevens World Series in 2000 (25). Zhang added 43 conversions for a total of 211 points in a glittering career at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Known in Hong Kong as ‘Johnny Zhang’, Zhang played at the sevens on ten occasions and coached China in Hong Kong on another five. He led China to their only silverware at the Hong Kong Sevens when they won the Bowl in 2006.

Appearing as a special guest of the HKRFU at the Official Draw for the 2015 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on 16 February Zhang said, “To be named in the Magnificent 7 of the Hong Kong Sevens is the greatest rugby honour in my life.”

Former England sevens star Ben Gollings was also announced at the Draw as the recipient of the honour for week two of the seven-week campaign that leads up to the kick-off of the sevens at the end of March.

As the all-time leading points scorer on the HSBC Sevens World Series, Gollings’ record stands alone. An astonishing 276 of those points came from just eight appearances at the Hong Kong Sevens, earning Gollings the record as the leading points scorer in Hong Kong since the inception of the World Series in 2000.

Gollings’ Hong Kong haul came from 20 tries (tied-fifth all time in Hong Kong since the series began) and 88 conversions. He leads his next closest rival on the Hong Kong scoring table, Portugal’s Pedro Leal (224), by 52 points and outpaces third-placed Zhang (211) by 65 on Hong Kong’s leaderboard.

Gollings played on three of England’s four cup winning sides in 2002, 2004 and 2006 (England also won in 2003), and featured at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2005. He returned to his favourite stomping ground from 2008 to 2011 and is still a regular and much welcome visitor to the sevens each year.

Zhang Zhiqiang commented on his new teammate saying, “Ben is a player with a lot of heart and skill. I enjoyed watching him and playing against him for so many years in Hong Kong. As captain and then coach of the China Sevens team I would always ask the players to watch tape of Ben to see how Sevens should be played.”

The third member of the Magnificent 7 will be announced in the week of 23 February, followed by a player per week, with the final inductee being honoured along with his teammates at the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s 40 years of Sevens Gala Dinner on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015.

The entire Magnificent 7 will be assembled at the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens from 27-29 March 2015 where their achievements will be recognized during the tournament.

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will be played from 27 to 29 March 2015 at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium.

See: Pictures from the 2014 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, Cathay Pacific, HSBC, HK, Rugby, Hong Kong, Sevens

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