Pic: World Rugby
The Australian round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 will be hosted at Bankwest Stadium for the first time with the very best of rugby sevens on show.
Sydney follows a spectacular tournament in Hamilton, New Zealand, last weekend where the hosts were victorious in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
The Hamilton and Sydney events are the first tournaments to be played across a new and exciting two-day format, which was introduced for these particular events after it was announced last year that Hamilton would become a combined men’s and women’s tournament for the first time in the history of the HSBC New Zealand Sevens.
With the 2020 tournament being Sydney’s fourth to feature a women’s competition alongside the men, this year’s event will be the most equitable yet with the two-day format ensuring that the men and women play under the same conditions over the entire tournament.
Olympic gold medallists and hosts Australia currently sit second in the overall women’s standings with the Black Ferns Sevens leading the way after winning the last three rounds in Dubai, Cape Town and Hamilton.
Rugby Australia and World Rugby will, together in partnership, support the ongoing bushfire situation in Australia this weekend by donating $1,000 for every try scored by Australia’s men and women to the bushfire relief fund.
The HSBC Sydney Sevens is the fifth tournament in the women’s series and the fourth in the men’s this season. The series culminates in Paris on 30-31 May before 24 men’s and women’s teams will travel to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
When and Where?
The HSBC Sydney Sevens double-header moved from last-years Spotless Stadium to the newly built and slightly bigger Bankwest Stadium (capacity 30,000) in Parramatta, 30 minutes away from the centre.
The competition kicks off at 09:30 local time (GMT+11) on Saturday 1 February with the USA facing Fiji in the women’s tournament.
The men’s tournament kicks off at 11:57 local time (GMT+11) on Saturday with the opener between Scotland and the Mike Friday’s US boys.
The women’s final is scheduled for 20:26 local time (GMT+11), followed by the men’s final at 20:56 local time (GMT+11) on Sunday.
Where Can I See It?
In the UK, Sky Sports covers both days of the competition https://www.skysports.com/. For an extensive overview about all other broadcaster check out this guide.
Who’s the favourite?
While the Black Ferns seemed to be beatable after the first leg in Glendale when they finished third, now after four rounds played, and the Kiwis, with three consecutive tournament wins sitting comfortable in the top position, it’s hard to see anyone providing a serious threat.
On the other hand, the race for the second position is the much tighter with Australia, Canada and the USA only four points separated. Especially the Aussie women’s side will work hard this weekend to secure a win on home soil. Last time they won in Sydney was 2018.
Like the female counterparts the New Zealand men’s team also enjoying a very successful season, after securing 63 points from the first three legs, they remain the side to bear. It’s nearly six years since the All Blacks Sevens team last won the series, therefore motivation levels are high to finish the season on top and enter the Olympics on a high.
One to Watch
The World Rugby Sevens Player of the year 2018, is one of many superstars in the New Zealand women's teams. After a break, she just rejoined the team for the tournament in Hamilton last weekend and showed why she’s regarded as one of the finest athletes on the circuit.
Fijian-born Veredamu is without a doubt one of the strongest attackers on the circuit. He’s a vital element for the recent French successful run. France is sitting in joint second position with South Africa, both on 48 points.
Pool A: New Zealand, England, Russia, Japan
Pool B: Canada, USA, Fiji, Brazil
Pool C: France, Australia, Spain, Ireland
Pool A: New Zealand, Kenya, Fiji, Wales
Pool B: France, Argentina, South Africa, Samoa
Pool C: Australia, USA, Scotland, Japan
Pool D: England, Canada, Ireland, Spain