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18th September 2015

HK 10s champions among World Cup’s '10 Most Exciting Players'

September 18, 2015: All Blacks hot-stepper Nehe Milner-Skudder and giant Fiji winger Nemani Nadolo were named in the '10 Most Exciting Players at Rugby World Cup' by Planet Rugby ahead of the 20-team event (,25883,16016_79771,00.html).

Both of these flying backs are among at least 25 of this year's World Cup stars who have played at the world’s best 10-a-side tournament, with the majority – including Milner-Skudder and Nadolo – winning the famed Hong Kong tournament.

Milner-Skudder, one of seven of New Zealand’s World Cup squad to compete at the 10s, helped Penguins win the Cup in 2013. In 2010, flyhalf Beauden Barrett played for Penguins and flanker Sam Cane, then only 18, shone for Samurai.

In 2003, flanker Jerome Kaino was 19 when he and three other future All Blacks helped New Zealand Metro win the Cup in Hong Kong, while a 21-year-old Conrad Smith played that same year for Otago Shepherds.

In 2008, prop Charlie Faumuina helped New Zealand Metro win their third straight title, playing alongside the likes of 2011 World Cup winner Israel Dagg, while fullback Ben Smith played for New Zealand Legends.

Tonga are also in Pool C and also have seven former 10s stars, including six Cup winners! Hale T-Pole is a 10s stalwart, having played four years for the star-studded BGC Asia Pacific Dragons – winning in 2012 and 2014 – before assisting head coach Tana Umaga this March as the team won the Cup a third time. The flanker also played 10s for the New Zealand Legends in 2001.

Ikale Tahi captain Nili Latu has helped Dragons win the past two editions of the world’s best 10-a-side event after earlier appearing for New Zealand Legends, while No. 8 Viliami Ma’afu was part of the Dragons’ victorious 2012 squad.

Hooker Paul Ngauamo played for Penguins in 2011 and 2013, winning the 10s on his second attempt, while props Soane Tonga’uiha (2003) and Sona Taumalolo (2008) both helped New Zealand Metro win the Cup. Scrumhalf Samisoni Fisilau played for New Zealand Legends in 2010.

Samoa’s Alesana Tuilagi and flyhalf Tusi Pisi are both recent 10s winners and among five of the Manu Samoa squad to previously play 10s. Last year, a rampaging Tuilagi helped BGC Asia Pacific Dragons win the 10s, while this year Pisi was the Dragons’ playmaker as they retained the Cup.

Prop Census Johnston played 10s for New Zealand Metro in 2004 and 2005, centre Paul Perez represented New Zealand Legends with Jonah Lomu in 2007, and hooker Manu Leiataua played for Samurai in 2012.

Fiji, in Pool A, have three 10s champions in their ranks, including giant winger Nemani Nadolo, who was Player of the Tournament in 2012 after helping BGC Asia Pacific Dragons win the 10s for the first time. Scrumhalf Henry Seniloli helped the Dragons regain the Cup in 2014, while flanker Malakai Ravulo played for Borneo Eagles in 2012 and the Dragons in 2013.

John Hardie, Scotland’s Kiwi-born flanker, played for New Zealand Legends in 2009, while in 2011 Japan fullback Karne Hesketh played for Legends and Romania centre Paula Kinikinilau represented Penguins.


GFI HKFC 10s players in 2015 Rugby World Cup*

New Zealand (7)

Nehe Milner-Skudder (fullback) – Penguins 2013 (Cup winners)

Beauden Barrett (flyhalf) – Penguins 2010

Sam Kane (flanker) – Samurai 2010

Jerome Kaino (flanker) – New Zealand Metro 2003 (Cup winners)

Conrad Smith (centre) – Otago Shepherds 2003

Charlie Faumuina (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2008 (Cup winners)

Ben Smith (fullback) New Zealand Legends 2008


Tonga (7)

Nili Latu (flanker) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014-2015 (Cup winners); New Zealand Legends

Hale T-Pole (flanker) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2011-2014 (Cup winners 2012, 2014); New Zealand Legends 2001

Viliami Ma’afu (No. 8) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2012 (Cup winners)

Paul Ngauamo (hooker) – Penguins 2011, 2013 (Cup winners 2013)

Samisoni Fisilau (scrumhalf) New Zealand Legends 2010

Sona Taumalolo (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2008 (Cup winners)

Soane Tonga’uiha (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2003 (Cup winners)


Samoa (5)

Tusi Pisi (flyhalf) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2015 (Cup winners)

Alesana Tuilagi (winger) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014 (Cup winners)

Manu Leiataua (hooker) Samurai 2012

Census Johnston (prop) – New Zealand Metro 2004, 2005

Paul Perez (centre) New Zealand Legends 2007

Fiji (3)

Malakai Ravulo (flanker) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014 (Cup winners)

Henry Seniloli (scrumhalf) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2014 (Cup winners)

Nemani Nadolo (winger) – BGC Asia Pacific Dragons 2012 (Cup winners)


Scotland (1)

John Hardie (flanker) – New Zealand Legends 2009


Romania (1)

Paula Kinikinilau (centre) – Penguins 2011


Japan (1)

Karne Hesketh (fullback) – New Zealand Legends 2011


* If you’re aware of any other GFI HKFC 10s players competing at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, email:

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