Pictures and Videos: World Rugby
Following last weekend’s Dubai Sevens, the 7s year has come to an end for the women’s teams, however, the 15 core men’s sides plus Zimbabwe will enjoy one more blast before closing in on yet another eventful and record-breaking 12 months.
With over 100,000 tickets sold and staged at one of the biggest and most stunning stadiums on the circuit, this weekend has everything in place to offer another entertaining contest.
While the new season is still at a very early stage, with only one tournament played, the opener in Dubai revealed which teams have done their homework over the last few months.
World Cup holders New Zealand are currently in absolute top form and must be considered the red-hot favourites in Cape Town. But there is no doubt the chasing nations, will try hard to tighten the gap this weekend.
WHEN and WHERE
The second stage of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series takes place at the Cape Town Stadium (Capacity 55,000) in the Green Point Park, just 10 minutes away from the city centre.
The matches kick-off on Saturday 8th December 10:15 local time (08:15 GMT) and Sunday 9th December 10:36 local time (08:36 GMT). The final is scheduled for 19:44 local time (17:44 GMT) on Sunday.
WHERE CAN I SEE IT
WHO'S the FAVOURITE?
After a long and successful spell under coaching legend Gordon Tietjen, successor Clark Laidlaw required a couple of seasons to guide his team back to the top, but it seems the Kiwis are back to their best. They defend the title in South Africa Sevens this weekend and with the first 22 points in the bank, after stage one, New Zealand travel with heaps of confidence to Green Point.
But maybe, just maybe England could be in for some silverware this weekend. With the spirit of 2017, when record breaker Dan Norton and his fellow team mates won the competition, and on the back of a strong performance in Dubai, Simon Armor’s team might surprise with a big upset, to finish the year in style.
Following a disappointing 6th place finish in Dubai, the Blitzboks should be extremely keen to finish stronger at home. Last time Neil Powell’s team won in Cape Town was 2016, however in the last two years they finished second and third, before they went on to win the series eventually.
ONE to WATCH
23-year old Marcos Moroni is a powerful and fast centre who would earn his starting place in any team. The Argentinian not just a very gifted 7s player but also a fantastic backline asset in the 15s-a-side game where he represents the Jaguares Super Rugby league. Last season he scored eight tries for Argentina on the circuit.
Pool A: New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa, Zimbabwe
Pool B: USA, Argentina, Spain, Japan
Pool C: England, Fiji, France, Kenya
Pool D: Australia, Scotland, Canada, Wales
DAY ONE FIXTURES (ALL TIMES ARE LOCAL TIMES / GMT -2)
SOTLAND V CANADA 10:15
AUSTRALIA V WALES 10:37
FIJI V FRANCE 10:59
ENGLAND V KENYA 11:21
ARGENTINA V SPAIN 11:43
USA V JAPAN 12:05
SOUTH AFRICA V SAMOA 12:27
NEW ZEALAND V ZIMBABWE 12:49
SCOTLAND V WALES 13:36
AUSTRALIA V CANADA 13:58
FIJI V KENYA 14:20
ENGLAND V FRANCE 14:42
ARGENTINA V JAPAN 15:04
USA V SPAIN 15:26
SOUTH AFRICA V ZIMBABWE 15:48
NEW ZEALAND V SAMOA 16:10
CANADA V WALES 16:57
AUSTRALIA V SCOTLAND 17:19
FRANCE V KENYA 17:41
ENGLAND V FIJI 18:03
SPAIN V JAPAN 18:50
USA V ARGENTINA 19:12
SAMOA V ZIMBABWE 19:34
NEW ZEALAND V SOUTH AFRICA 19:56