(Picture & Text via World Rugby)
Rugby World Cup Sevens qualification, the series title and relegation fights are all on the agenda this weekend as teams get set for the HSBC Paris Sevens.
The ninth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series kicks off at the Stade Jean Bouin in central Paris on Saturday with South Africa leading the standings, 25 points ahead of Fiji with England a further two points behind in third.
South Africa failed to reach the final for the first time this season in Singapore last month, but should they reach the Cup decider or lift the silverware in Paris then they would only need to take the field at Twickenham next weekend to secure a second series crown and first since 2009.
However, captain Philip Snyman insists his side are taking nothing for granted and are focused only on improving from the last round.
"We're really looking forward to the sevens in Paris this upcoming weekend. We had a nice break in Stellenbosch since Singapoore and we worked hard. We want to fix some mistakes this weekend," he said.
"The guys who are joining for Paris are looking really sharp. We have guys like Rosko Specman coming back in and the team is in good spirits."
The series title is not the only focal point in Paris, though, as four teams will be looking to cement their passage to Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco.
Nine teams have already qualified, the quarter-finalists from RWC Sevens 2013 in Moscow - New Zealand, England, Fiji, Kenya, South Africa, Wales, Australia, and France - and USA as 2018 hosts.
Four teams can join them through the 2016-17 series as the best ranked outside those nine qualifiers with Canada, Argentina and Scotland able to confirm their qualification this weekend in Paris. The final spot from the series looks to be a race between defending Paris champions Samoa and Russia with the Pacific islanders nine points ahead of their rivals.
"I think RWC Sevens is a really special event for Canada, it being in the States and so close to us. I think San Fran will be a cool venue. Just getting that qualification done and sorted out will be great and then we can look forward to the actual tournament," said Nate Hirayama, who captained Canada to their first series Cup title in Singapore.
Further down the series standings Japan, who finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, are battling to avoid losing their status as a core team on the series as they lie nine points behind Russia with two rounds left.
Spain, who join the 15 core teams as the invitational team in Paris and London, will replace the relegated side next season after winning the 2017-18 series qualifier in Hong Kong last month.
When and Where?
The Paris 7s take place in the home of Stade Français the Stade Jean-Bouin in the French capital (Capacity 20,000), on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of May. The matches kick-off Saturday at 10:00 local time (9:00 UK time) and Sunday 09:00 (08:00 UK time). The final is scheduled for 17:30 local time on Sunday (16:30 UK time).
Where Can I See It?
Pool A: Canada, South Africa, Scotland, Japan
Pool B: USA, New Zealand, Wales, Argentina
Pool C: England, Kenya, France, Spain
Pool D: Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Russia