Top 5 Plays From Day 1 of 2022 HSBC Los Angeles Sevens

When two titles are on the line, the competition will only intensify.

That’s been the case at the 2022 HSBC Los Angeles Sevens, where both the tournament and full 2021-22 series title are up for grabs.

Ahead of the placement and knockout games on Sunday, let’s recap Saturday’s action by circling back to the top five plays from Dignity Health Sports Park:

Perry Baker, USA open with huge win over South Africa

USA and South Africa held the slot for the first game of the tournament, which was a tough beginning fixture for the Eagles. The Springboks entered the weekend ranked atop the series standings, but they were not prepared for Perry Baker and Co. 

Baker put the game well beyond reach with a lightning-quick try as he split open the Springboks’ defense like a hot knife through butter to mark a huge win.

Kenyan Billy Odhiambo reaches centurion try mark

Kenya’s first pool-stage match against Samoa did not go so well (33-14 defeat), but it bounced back in a major way in the second contest against England. Billy Odhiambo played a decisive factor in that, as he logged Kenya’s second try of the match to hold off the Three Lions 19-14.

The score marked 28-year-old Odhiambo’s 100th career try, making him the fourth Kenyan man in history to achieve the mark. 

Samoan Vaa Apelu Maliko shuffles past Kenya’s defense in style

Vaa Apelu Maliko has been a rising star for the Samoan men’s rugby sevens program, and he started off the Los Angeles Sevens on the right foot – almost literally. In the aforementioned drubbing of Kenya, Maliko was responsible for two of Samoa’s three tries in the win. 

The way he used his right foot to plant and swivel away from two Kenyan defenders en route to the try zone was simply sensational. 

Fiji’s Viwa Naduvalo shifts an extra two gears for speedy try

The Flying Fijians lived up to their name against Wales to kick off group competition. After opening the game with a try, Viwa Naduvalo ended Wales’ hopes of a late second-half comeback in style. 

The 23-year-old shifted an extra two gears to slice through the Dragons’ defense en route to a 28-12 win over Wales, and he also helped Fiji beat France with impressive tries in a 29-12 comeback win after trailing 12-0. 

USA’s David Stills delivers devastating stiff arm vs. Canada

After beating South Africa and falling to New Zealand, picking up a win against rival Canada was a must for the U.S. The scoring came instantly as Canada earned a try in the opening minute, but USA’s David Stills responded in emphatic fashion. 

Stills stormed down the left lane and absolutely pummeled Canada’s Brock Webster as he glided into the try zone. That’s a moment worthy of a still, no pun intended.

The championship game is slated for Sunday at 5:28 p.m. 

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