One of the most dangerous attacking fullbacks in
modern rugby history, New Zealand’s Christian Cullen, has been
named as the third player in the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s
(HKRFU) ‘The Hong Kong Magnificent Seven’ campaign.
The campaign is
designed to accentuate the celebration of 40 Years of Sevens in
Hong Kong as part of the
2015 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong
Sevens with the HKRFU announcing its top seven international
players to have taken the pitch at the hallowed Hong Kong Stadium
in So Kon Po over the past four decades.
Widely acknowledged as one of the most dangerous
fullbacks of the modern era, Cullen burst onto the international
scene after his appearance in Hong Kong in 1995. After playing
only one match in the previous year’s tournament, Cullen replaced
the injured Adrian Cashmore in 1996.
He grasped the opportunity with both hands,
scoring an astonishing 18 tries over the weekend and claiming the
1996 Leslie Williams Award for the Best & Fairest player.
“It’s a great honour to be included in the list
of the greatest players to appear at the Hong Kong Sevens in the
past 40 years – so many fantastic rugby players have played here,
and for many like myself it was the start of an international
career,” said Cullen from New Zealand. The 1996 tournament will
always hold special memories for me, an epic Cup Final against
Fiji and of course winning the Leslie Williams Trophy. I always
love coming back to Hong Kong, and I am looking forward to joining
the celebrations at the end of March.”
Cullen’s Hong Kong exploits led to his All
Blacks debut later in the same year - aged 20 - and reinforced his
sevens sobriquet as the Paekakariki Express. He went on to score a
hat-trick in his test debut against Samoa and collected four tries
against Scotland in his second test. The first steps in a
glittering career that would see him become New Zealand’s most
capped fullback and scorer of a then record 46 test tries for his
Returning to the Sevens fold in 1998, Cullen
played a pivotal role in helping New Zealand win the gold medal at
the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He joins
previously announced sevens legends China’s Mr Rugby Zhang Zhiqang
and England maestro Ben Gollings in the HKRFU’s Magnificent Seven
and is the first player selected that predates the inception of
the HSBC Sevens World Series in 2000.
An additional player will be announced each week
in the build up of the
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens from
27-29 March 2015 when the entire Magnificent Seven will be
assembled on the pitch that they helped make synonymous with
world-class sevens to the approbation of the 40,000 strong crowd.
Pictures from the 2014 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
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