New Zealand took their first tournament win of 2017 after beating Argentina 38-14 in Cape Town to go top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings.
The All Blacks Sevens made up for their Cup final loss in Dubai last weekend with a clinical display in front of a sold-out Cape Town Stadium. Two tries from HSBC Player of the Final Joe Ravouvou combined with scores from Vilimoni Koroi, Tim Mikkelson, Regan Ware and Sione Molia to help head coach Clark Laidlaw's side to victory over an Argentina side chasing their first Cup win since San Diego in 2009."I'm so proud of how the boys played this weekend and last weekend," said captain Scott Curry. "It could have gone either way after we lost our first pool match against USA yesterday but day two is another day. We started fresh and really worked for each other and that’s what won it for us. We’ll look forward to our home tournament in Hamilton coming up soon – it’s a new city and they really love their rugby there."Hosts South Africa were knocked out 19-12 in the Cup semi-final by New Zealand yet finished strongly in third after beating Canada 19-17 in the bronze final. New Zealand are now two points clear of South Africa in the overall HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 standings with eight stops remaining. The teams will regroup in Sydney on 26-28 January.
South Africa went into this match as favourites having beaten New Zealand in the final in Dubai but the All Blacks Sevens had other plans. Blitzboks captain Philip Snyman scored early on after handing off the New Zealand defence on the right wing. Joe Ravouvou received a yellow card in the process for a late tackle, putting New Zealand down to six men. However, shortly after Tim Mikkelson found himself going under the posts after the South Africa defence was found napping. Cecil Afrika scrambled over the line for the hosts before half-time to make it 12-7 at the break.
In the second half New Zealand star Vilimoni Koroi got his side right back into it with a brilliant 75m break to score, with Afrika not even being able to catch him. Ravouvou made up for his earlier mistake by making a powerful run down the right wing and looked set to score before Rosko Specman came in with a strong tackle. With the ball loose Joe Webber got his hands on it and put New Zealand ahead 19-12.
The Blitzboks had one more chance to take the win but Tim Agaba knocked on after a flat pass came too hot to handle.
A star on day two, Connor Braid started Canada off with a great break before offloading to Pat Kay for the first score of the match. Marcos Moroni got Argentina back into the game after pulling in three defenders before offloading to Santiago Alvarez for the try.
Braid was at it once again, picking up the ball in the Argentina half, then making a huge arcing run to split the defence and score. Canada looked in control at this stage, but the tables turned quickly when Rodrigo Etchart showed a clean pair of heels to score. The conversion, from Lautaro Bazan Velez, proved to be absolutely crucial.
South Africa were under pressure from the outset at their home tournament after Fiji went 0-14 up within two minutes. A yellow card for Seabelo Senatla for a high tackle left them down to six men as Fiji capitalised on every mistake made by the Blitzboks. Werner Kok settled nerves after scoring a nice solo effort down the left wing, but immediately Fiji were back in the game as Josua Vakurunabili handed off Senatla on the right wing and helped Fiji to a 21-5 lead. South Africa then scored one of the tries of the tournament as Kwagga Smith, Tim Agaba and Justin Geduld linked up to run the length of the pitch. 12-21 to Fiji at half-time.
In the second half, Cecil Afrika unleashed a huge 30m pass to Senatla who ran in a try to make it 17-21 after the kick was missed by by Afrika. Kalione Nasoko dampened Blitzboks' hopes once more though, breaking through the line and running half the pitch to go under the posts, making it 17-26. Smith once again showed his true class, slicing down the right wing and dotting down under the sticks. With the kick good, just two points separated the sides. A Fiji attack was stunted on the right wing and the ball eventually ripped out, which was scooped up by Senatla to score his second and secure a thrilling win.
A loose NFL style pass from Sam Dickson gave England an early scrum five metres out after the ball eventually went dead behing New Zealand's posts. The ball made its way to Ruaridh McConnochie who went over from close range and gave England the lead. The All Blacks Sevens went straight back deep into England's half with some beautiful interlinking play, scoring eventually through Andrew Knewstubb.
England led 7-5 at half-time, and extended their lead through McConnochie once more in the second half. New Zealand attacked down the right wing, with Joe Ravouvou and Dylan Collier linking up, Collier going over for the score. At 12-10, a yellow card for Tom Mitchell for a high tackle opened up the space, and the All Blacks Sevens exploited this with Ravouvou finishing off in the left corner.
Connor Braid gave Canada the perfect start as he sped down the right wing, offloading to Pat Kay who turned and popped the ball to Mike Fuailefau to score. Nate Hirayama, in his 55th tournament, jinked and stepped through three French defenders to score and converted to make it 14-0. Justin Douglas, lethal on day one of the tournament, went into top gear down the left wing to add to the score and make it 21-0 at half-time.
Braid kicked things off in the second half with a try straight from the restart and then Matt Mullins added a score of his own to make it 35-0. France's only try came from Johan Demai-Hamecher late in the game as Damian McGrath's team took a convincing win.
Franco Sabato and Lautaro Bazan Velez both scored within the first three minutes to pile the pressure on Mike Friday's USA side, who went unbeaten on day one of the tournament. At 14-0 going into the second half, Santiago Gomez Cora's Argentina outfit turned up the skill level once more as Conrado Roura added another try. A long range run from Stephen Tomasin and score from Folau Niua made it 21-12 with seconds to go, but Argentina closed out the game thanks to Luciano Gonzalez.
Cape Town Sevens 2017 | Results
World Sevens Series | Standings
South Africa successfully defended their Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens title after beating New Zealand 24-12 in the opening round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018.
The reigning world series champions unleashed all their attacking firepower in what was a breathtaking display of sevens rugby across the two days. With his most experienced side ever, head coach Neil Powell notched up his fifth tournament win of 2017 and continued South Africa's dominance on the global stage.
First-half tries from Rosko Specman, former World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Seabelo Senatla and HSBC Player of the Final Kwagga Smith put the Blitzboks 19-0 up against New Zealand, who were chasing their first tournament win since Vancouver in 2016. Scott Curry and Andrew Knewstubb got the All Blacks Sevens back into the match, but at 19-12 it was the powerful Tim Agaba who closed the game out.
"It was a great performance from the guys," said Senatla, who scored seven tries in Dubai, "It's been a while since we all played together but it's so great to win again in Dubai."
England pipped Fiji 28-21 to win the Bronze final, while France beat Spain 21-12 to win the Challenge Trophy. The next round of the series takes place in Cape Town on 9-10 December, where England will be looking to retain their crown.
Dubai Rugby Sevens 2017 | Results
Text, Pictures and Videos: World Rugby
Fiji continued their march towards a fourth consecutive tournament win with a dominant display at round nine of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London.
Current HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders Fiji were sublime in the London sunshine on day one claiming three straight victories against Argentina, Scotland and New Zealand to top Pool A. The Pacific Islanders will face Pool D runners-up Canada in the first of tomorrow’s cup quarter-finals.
Hosts England finished the day in fine style in front of over 46,000 fans with a convincing 38-12 victory over Kenya to set up an exciting quarter-final against Australia with another huge crowd expected at Twickenham Stadium tomorrow. Australia impressed on day one with a perfect record of three victories over Ireland, Wales and Spain to top Pool B.
South Africa, currently lying in second place in the series standings just four points behind Fiji, finished in top spot in Pool D despite a shock defeat to Samoa after securing victories over Canada and Russia. This sets up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash against New Zealand as the All Blacks Sevens defeated Scotland and Argentina to finish as runners-up behind Fiji in Pool A.
USA topped pool C following wins over England and France and a draw with Kenya. The USA Eagles were helped on their way by top try scorer Carlin Isles who showed his pace to overtake teammate Perry Baker as leading series try scorer with an outstanding six tries on day one in London, taking his overall series tally to 41.
The story of the day came from Pool B as Ireland made history by reaching the Cup quarter-finals for the first time ever. On their first appearance in the series since 2004, Ireland clinched second place in the pool courtesy of a comprehensive 38-10 victory over Spain. The Irish attack was led by 24-year-old Jordan Conroy who impressed on his series debut with four tries on day one.
Each round of the series sees one invitational team join the 15 core teams on the world series and Ireland’s success represents the first time a non-core team has reached the quarter-finals since Japan at Las Vegas in 2016.
Tickets can be purchased on the day for tomorrow’s finals day which gets underway at 09:30 (GMT+1) at Twickenham Stadium. For ticket information click here.
Fiji v Canada
USA v Ireland
South Africa v New Zealand
Australia v England
London Sevens | Results Day 1
London Sevens | Fixtures Day 2
Fiji overcame closest rivals South Africa 21-17 in a thrilling final of the HSBC London Sevens at an exuberant Twickenham Stadium to claim their fourth successive tournament victory and extend their lead at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The result sees Fiji take a seven-point lead over South Africa in the standings going into the 10th and final round of the series in Paris from 8-10 June.
Invitational team Ireland created history by beating hosts England 21-19 to claim the bronze medal with a last gasp try from the outstanding Jordan Conroy, his eighth of the tournament, followed by a stunning conversion from the side-line by Mark Roche.
Fiji had seen off Ireland in the semi-finals by a margin of 38-12, while South Africa reached the final courtesy of a 29-19 semi-final victory over England.
Over 81,000 fans were in attendance across the weekend and were treated to a sun-soaked showcase of exciting rugby sevens action as Fiji continued their recent unstoppable form.
Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai was delighted with the victory: “I’m really happy with the boys today. It is always a pleasure to play in London and we are really blessed with all the Fijian supporters here. The victory means a lot to us, as a team and as a nation. Our goal was to come here and lift the London cup and we did. Our next goal is to win the world series so we will regroup and be ready to go again next week. We are really excited about Paris.”
Tuwai’s team mate Semi Radradra won the HSBC Player of the Final award and after receiving his medal from World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont, said: “I found it tough today but I got help from the boys and was hanging in there. I know we trust each other and finally we got the win.”
Earlier in the day New Zealand secured fifth place with a comprehensive 26-5 victory over USA, while Kenya beat Wales 33-19 to finish in ninth position and lift the Challenge trophy.
Meanwhile the series said goodbye to referee Craig Joubert who brought down the curtain on a stellar match official career as the Rugby World Cup 2011 final referee took charge of this 200th and last sevens series match with the Fiji v Ireland semi-final. Joubert will continue his involvement with the game as World Rugby Sevens Referee Coach.
Attention now turns to the final round of both the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris from 8-10 June. With only seven points separating the top two in the men’s standings, and Australia leading arch rivals New Zealand by just four points in the women’s standings, it promises to be an exciting finale to the series
London Sevens | Results Day 2
Text, Picture and Video: World Rugby
New Zealand beat USA 21-5 to win the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Sydney and move top of the overall standings after four events.
Pic: World Rugby
They’ve done it again! South Africa underlined their hot-favourite status with the third tournament win this season, following a 29-14 win against England in the final of the Sydney Sevens.
The Blitzboks played in all four finals of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2016/17. They faced England for the second time in a final this season and while England managed to beat South Africa on their home ground in December, this time it was all about the men in green.
Once again it was Seabelo Senatla who led the team with an incredible performance throughout the past two days. This was the last tournament for the HSBC Player of the Final as Senatla will join Super Rugby franchise Stormers.
Tries from captain Philip Snyman, Senatla and Justin Geduld went unanswered in the first half plus another one from Geduld in the second half sealed the game early. England captain Tom Mitchell as well as Dan Norton scored in the second half but it was too little too late.
Meanwhile, New Zealand beat Australia to claim bronze while Russia walked away with the Challenge Trophy in Sydney after beating France, 26-0.
After four rounds, South Africa leads the table with 85 points, followed by England (68 pts), Fiji (64 pts) and New Zealand (56 pts).
The series now moves to Las Vegas next month for the fifth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which again joins up with the women's series.
Cup Final | South Africa 29 - 14 England
Bronze Final | New Zealand 29 - 14 Australia
Challenge Trophy | Russia 26 - 0 France
Sydney Sevens | Results Day 2
Admittedly, it was rather disappointing to follow the first day of the Wellington Sevens, witnessing a 34,500 seater that looked empty. Considering that tickets for this tournament used to be the most popular in town, the organisers seemed to struggle with ticket sales this year. Stricter rules on alcohol consumption and an attempt to make the event more family-friendly didn’t attract the desired numbers. Officially, around 10.000 people visited the tournament on Saturday. Hopefully, numbers will pick up again on the second day and in future, because the Wellington Sevens are one of the most prestigious stops on the circuit.
Whereas the atmosphere off the pitch was nowhere near the usual party bash that we all love, the quality on the pitch didn’t let anyone down. Hosts New Zealand went, as expected, unbeaten through day one. The big surprise though came from Canada. The North-Americans won all three of their pool games against Wales, Scotland and Russia to set up a quarter-final against Argentina on Sunday.
In the "Pool of death", current series leaders South Africa beat Fiji, Australia and Japan. Besides New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, England also remained unbeaten as they overcame Papua New Guinea (40-0), Argentina (26-7) and Kenya (31-12).
The Cup quarter-finals on Sunday see England play Scotland, New Zealand face Fiji, Canada take on Argentina, while South Africa play France.
Day 2 of the Wellington Sevens starts tomorrow at 11.00am local time (22.00 UK time). You can follow all matches on Sky Sports or here.
Wellington Sevens | Results Day 1
Wellington Sevens | Fixtures Day 2
South Africa defended their pole position after the third round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with a 26-5 win over Olympic Gold medallists Fiji.
For the second time this weekend, the Blitzboks beat the Fijians at the Westpac Stadium. A day before South Africa went head-to-head with Fiji in the pool stages.
Above all it was South African Seabelo Senatla were the outstanding performer in Wellington, claiming the HSBC Player of the Final, DHL Impact Player, and his team’s top try scorer with 180 series tries.
Scotland, who beat rivals England in the quarter-finals, finished in third place after beating Canada 28-22 in the bronze final, while Kenya won the Challenge Trophy after beating Australia 19-17 in windy conditions.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series continues in Sydney next week where it joins up with the women's tournament for the fourth round of the season.
Wellington Sevens | Results Day 2
Sydney Sevens | Pools and Fixtures
This article originally appeared on
In what was yet another highly entertaining stop on the HSBC 7's World Series, South Africa's Blitzbokke once again showed their class to run away with the win.
Before the USA Sevens, there might have been question marks whether South Africa would manage to maintain their dominance in the HSBC Sevens World Series following the loss of top players such as Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla to the XV man game.
But like Smith with his Lions team and Senatla with the Stormers, South Africa had yet another very successful weekend in the desert of Nevada. In a close, but convincing 19-12 final win, the Blitzbokke prevented Fiji from securing their third back-to-back title.
During the semi-final, South Africa had to fight even harder to beat the brave and courageous hosts. The Americans cheered on by a packed Sam Boyd Stadium full of US rugby fans, finished the tournament with a much-deserved Bronze final win against New Zealand.
It was the fourth out of five tournament win for the Blitzbokke, resulting in a solid 24-point buffer at the top of the standings and the best-ever start to a series. Fiji managed to sneak into the second position, followed by England and New Zealand.
There were moments like the semi-final when South Africa seemed to struggle a bit and almost lost the game. But the true quality of Neil Powell’s team is that they know exactly how to win the game even in the tightest of situations. After an awfully long period of finishing the series in second position it now looks as though the team has found the perfect balance of powerful and fast players who are not just enormously skilful but also brilliant decision makers. Even more worrying for the opposition is the fact that the Blitzbokke have not only a strong starting 7 but also true quality in depth. Anything else than a clear home run to win the series this year would be a massive surprise.
Sevens always seemed to be a game that suits the Americans perfectly - fast end-to-end action with a carnival atmosphere on the ranks. There is no doubt that the sport has a bright future in the USA, considering the serious investment and development. But for some reason, Parry Baker and his teammates aren’t able to win tournaments. However, Las Vegas proved once more how much quality there is in the team. In the semi-final against South Africa, the USA played like a world-class 7s team: smart, powerful and confident. They lost the game, but it was so close and if it were any other team, they probably would have won. Despite the frustrating defeat, a few hours later they beat New Zealand to claim Bronze. Yes, it might have been the home crowd which inspired the US boys to play their best rugby this season, but there is no doubt that this team hasn’t reached its pinnacle yet.
Sometimes a game of Sevens can be decided by just one person. Player’s with exceptional pace and outstanding vision are able to take the ball and score from anywhere. South Africa’s Rosko Specman is one of a few who is capable of this. It was the second half of the final when he had such a moment of brilliance and scored out of nowhere to secure the fourth tournament win for his country.
Afterwards, Specman claimed the well-earned Player of the Final award and is now one of the most spoken about players on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Specman is wearing the No.11 shirt, which was previously worn by Seabelo Senatla who like him was one of these players who are able to decide matches on their own. With Senatla’s departure, Specman seems to be the perfect replacement for Neil Powell's men.
The 16 teams have now just a few days to recover from a long and intense three-day tournament in Las Vegas as the series continues almost 1000 miles up north in Vancouver on Saturday. The Canada Sevens has proven to be a great success and an early sell-out indicates that this will be another huge sevens weekend.
Staged at the beautiful and modern BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, the sixth stage of the World Sevens Series is set to be another cracker with many questions to be answered. Although South Africa has been the dominant force this season, there is still plenty to play for during the remaining five stages.
Shortly after the final tournament of the the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2017/2018 the teams and players came together for the annual award ceremony to crown the outstanding characters of the season.
The end of season awards provided a chance to celebrate the men’s and women’s sevens players, coaches and teams that are the stars, ambassadors and role models of the sport.
As the winter eventually arrived in this part of the world, 3400 miles towards east, the weather forecast looks much different. Sunny skies and 25°C - welcome to Dubai. A brand-new World Sevens Series is kicking off this weekend. Following a magnificent Olympic summer, the game is now being watched by millions of people around the globe. This season is vital and could give Sevens another huge boosts, so all eyes are on this first stop: the prestigious Dubai Sevens.
The Dubai Sevens take place at the Sevens Stadium (Capacity 40,000) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from Friday 02nd and Saturday 03th of December. The amateurs and women’s teams already kicked-off yesterday.
The matches kick-off on Friday at 09:00 local time (05:00 UK time) and Saturday 09:30 local time (05:30 UK time).
For a full fixture list click here.
In the UK, Sky Sports will cover the tournament on both days. For a full TV guide click here, for any other country check out this helpful guide.
Back-to-back Series champions and Olympic Gold medallist Fiji start the season with a new coach, so it will be interesting to find out if Garth Baber can follow in the footsteps of former coach Ben Ryan.
South Africa are among the top favourites this year, with a massively experienced squad, including stars like Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla. England is also looking strong as they travel with plenty of exciting players from the Team GB Silver medallist squad to Dubai.
Fiji’s record breaking captain Osea Kolinisau is currently one of the most dangerous runners in the business. The 31-year old won the World Rugby 7s award this year and should be full of confidence to guide his team to another successful season.
Uganda will make their Debut in the World Sevens Series and will be up against South Africa in their Pool B encounter on Friday, where they will also face Scotland and the USA. Pool A sees last season's champions Fiji drawn against Canada, Argentina and Wales, while Australia, Kenya, France and Japan have been drawn together in Pool D. England will battle against New Zealand, Samoa and Russia in Pool C.
A massive rugby fest is coming up this weekend. With the opening round of the Six Nations, the northern hemisphere is searching for the best team in Europe. However, down south, around 25°C hotter, it is all about the 7-a-side version of our beloved game. And it is another massive one. The Sydney Sevens is a double-header, hosting the fourth round of the men’s World Sevens Series and the second turn on the women’s circuit.
With just one week to rest, this huge weekend in Australia will offer the ultimate challenge for the teams in order to remain in the race for the title.
The Sydney Sevens take place at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney’s Moore Park (Capacity 45,500 capacity) on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of February. The Allianz hosts besides the annual 7s tournament, A-League football, rugby league and cricket matches.
The tournament kick-off on Saturday at 09:30 local time (22:30 UK time) and Sunday 10:30 local time (23:30 UK time).
See the full Day 1 fixture list below.
In the UK Sky Sports will cover the tournament on all days. For a full TV guide click here, for any other country check out this useful guide.
Without a doubt the South Africa. With week’s victory in Wellington, the Blitzboks have now won two out of three tournaments. They are in a top-form. However, it is a back-to-back tournament and a successful recovery is key. This could give other teams an advantage. Fiji, now in second position, England (3rd) and surprise package Scotland (4th) are all very keen to close the gap.
Seabelo Senatla is one of the main reasons for South Africa’s success. The 23-year old is the top try scorer and was the outstanding player in Wellington. If teams want to stop South Africa, they have to stop Senatla.
South Africa, England, Kenya, Japan
Fiji, France, Wales, Samoa
Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea,
Canada, Argentina, USA, Russia
Argentina v United States - 09.30
Canada v Russia - 09.52
France v Wales - 10.14
Fiji v Samoa - 10.36
England v Kenya - 10.58
South Africa v Japan - 11.20
New Zealand v Australia - 11.42
Scotland v Papua New Guinea - 12.04
Argentina v Russia - 12.36
Canada v United States - 12.58
France v Samoa - 13.20
Fiji v Wales - 13.42
England v Japan - 14.53
South Africa v Kenya - 15.15
New Zealand v Papua New Guinea - 15.37
Scotland v Australia - 15.59
United States v Russia - 18.23
Canada v Argentina - 18.45
Wales v Samoa - 19.07
Fiji v France - 19.29
Kenya v Japan - 19.51
South Africa v England - 20.13
Australia v Papua New Guinea - 20.35
Scotland v New Zealand - 20.57
The women’s tournament kicked-off already this Friday. For all fixtures and results click here.
The HSBC Sevens Series welcomes the new year with the prestigious Wellington Sevens in New Zealand. Wellington used to be a sell-out event for years, but ticket sales have dropped a bit this year. However, the event organisers are confident that the tournament, staged at the impressive Westpac Stadium, won’t disappoint.
With World Series champions Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa all managed by new coaching set-ups, it will be interesting to see how those teams perform under new guidance. Papua New Guinea is the latest addition to the 16-squads tournament. The pacific island nation will replace Uganda, which participated at the first two stages in Dubai and South Africa.
The Wellington Sevens take place at the Westpac Stadium (Capacity 34,500) on Saturday 28thand Sunday 29th of January. The Westpac (also known as the Wellington Regional Stadium) hosted two quarterfinals during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and is the home of the Super Rugby franchise Hurricanes.
The matches kick-off on Saturday at 11:00 local time (22:00 UK time) and Sunday 11:00 local time (22:00 UK time).
In the UK Sky Sports will cover the tournament on all days. For a full TV-guide click here, for any other country check out this handy guide.
After two rounds it’s currently a tight affair between South Africa and England who both won a tournament each. South Africa, two points ahead of England, only lost one match so far. Disappointingly, the only defeat the Blitzboks conceded was in the final of their home tournament in Cape Town last year. One team which certainly doesn’t want to disappoint anyone this weekend are hosts New Zealand. Under a new coaching setup, the Kiwis are ready to maintain their great home record. In the previous six years, New Zealand won the tournament five times.
So far, England’s Dan Norton has been the outstanding performer. The most tries, most tacklings and the most carries are all stats which the former Bristol-winger are leading. However, with New Zealand, being on home soil, expect the hosts to show off their skills. Tim Mikkelson, now entering his ninth year on the circuit, is still one of the very best and always a pleasure to watch.
England, Kenya, Argentina, Papua New Guinea
South Africa, Fiji, Australia, Japan
New Zealand, USA, France, Samoa
Scotland, Wales, Russia, Canada
Saturday, January 28 (Kick-off is local time)
Wales v Russia, 11.00
Scotland v Canada, 11.23
Fiji v Australia, 11.46
South Africa v Japan, 12.20
Kenya v Argentina, 12.32
England v Papua New Guinea, 12.55
USA v France, 13.19
New Zealand v Samoa, 13.41
Wales v Canada, 14.24
Scotland v Russia, 14.47
Fiji v Japan, 15.33
South Africa v Australia, 15.33
Kenya v Papua New Guinea, 15.56
England v Argentina, 16.19
USA v Samoa, 16.42
New Zealand v France, 17.16
Scotland v Wales, 17.26
Russia v Canada, 18.00
Scotland v Wales, 18.26
South Africa v Fiji, 19.18
Argentina v Papua New Guinea, 19.44
England v Kenya, 20.10
France v Canada, 20.36
New Zealand v USA, 21.13
All photos & videos: World Rugby
Another round of back-to-back tournaments is done and dusted. The Sydney Sevens, with its double-header has been no disapointment in terms of world-class 7s. There is a lot to take away from the past three days. Here are five lessons we learned, plus the best tries and outstanding players.
This Friday marks the beginning of yet another World Sevens Series season with the renowned Dubai Sevens, the launch of another eventful year for the ever-growing game.
It’s the first stop of the 10-tournament circuit which covers events on all five continents, starting in Dubai this weekend before moving on to play in Cape Town a week later for the last tournament of the year. The new 7s year starts in Australia (Sydney) at the end of January closely followed by the New Zealand leg (Hamilton) at the beginning of February.
In March, the 16 teams head to America to play a leg in the US (Las Vegas) and in Canada (Vancouver) a week later. The world-famous Hong Kong 7s and the Singapore 7s are on order in April before the series ends in June with the two European competitions in London and the series finale in Paris for the first time.
There are 15 core teams this season including Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, USA and Wales. In addition, one invitational on each round will complete the line-up.
So much to play for this season
While the World Sevens Series remains an ever-growing and entertaining prospect, it’s just one highlight in another momentous 7s-year. The outstanding event will be the seventh Rugby Sevens World Cup in July. Hosted at the AT&T Park in San Francisco, the 41k-seated home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team promises to become a hugely expected three-day long mega-event.
Unlike the annual World Sevens Series, the World Cup turned out to be a slightly more fortunate competition for the northern hemispheric teams. England won the inaugural event in 1993 on Scottish soil with famous characters like Lawrence Dallaglio and Matt Dawson before Wales produced a shock win over Argentina 2009 in Dubai to claim the title.
However, since then both tournaments and the historical launch of the Olympic 7s event has been dominated by men’s and women’s teams from the Southern Hemisphere. New Zealand above all, proved that the hugely successful talent production includes not only world-class 15s-aside and Rugby League athletes but also countless skilled 7s players.
Since the launch of the World Sevens Series in 1999, the Kiwis topped the table 12 out of 18 times at the end of the season and secured two World Cup titles, a record that shows how dominating they have been within this code of Union. However, in the past three seasons, Fiji topped the table twice while South Africa are the current champions following a perfect 2016/2017 season. England played a fine season and deservedly finished in a strong second position.
Before the World Cup in San Francisco, the international 7s elite will be challenged at another global competition, the 21st Commonwealth Games at Australia’s Gold Coast. From the 13th to the 15th of April, 16 men’s and 8 women’s teams are competing for the medals.
Who’s in the mix of silverware?
If South Africa showcases a similar performance like last season, surely coach Neil Powell has an excellent chance to guide the current Series and Commonwealth champions to back-to-back wins. Key players such as Chris Dry and Rosko Specman, both members of last season’s World Series Dream Team and the hugely experienced Kyle Brown and Justin Geduld are all back on board.
Kwagga Smith just interrupted his 7s-commitments with a few successful months of 15s with Super Rugby franchise Lions, Currie Cup side Golden Lions and a man-of-the-match performance for the Barbarians against the All Blacks. He’s back also back now and ready to strengthen a squad which finished last season with an impressive 28-point winning margin over second-placed England.
Simon Amor’s England squad looks promising and with the outstanding captain, Tom Mitchell and record try scorer Dan Norton they will be a good chance to finish in the top-three again, however Dan Bibby, one of England’s key player, won’t be available due to injury which could be a difficult one to replace.
The bookmakers favour Olympic gold medallists Fiji to finish second behind South Africa. With a new coaching setup, Welsh coach Gareth Baber who replaced the hugely successful Ben Ryan required time to find the winning recipe for the Flying Fijians. They finished the season in the third position but snatched only one tournament win, the Hong Kong 7s.
New Zealand, also under new guidance with Scottish coach Clark Laidlaw had a poor season, considering their enormously high standards. Laidlaw replaced coaching legend and IRB Hall of Fame member Gordon Tietjens, who stepped down after over 20 years in charge of New Zealand’s 7s team. Admittedly, not the easiest of tasks to follow such enormous footsteps, however failing to qualify for any Cup-finals during last year’s season must disappoint for any Kiwi fan. The nation is blessed with many top-stars such as the wonderful Tim Mikkelson and even though long-serving captain DJ Forbes announced his retirement New Zealand should be in the mix for the title.
One team with the most impressive improvements in recent years are the US boys. Sevens guru Mike Friday has formed a world-class team since his arrival in 2014. Especially former sprinter Perry Baker, who is not only the overall top points scorer of last season but also the freshly crowned World Rugby Sevens player of the year, has helped his team to reach a historic fifth place finish last season. They made it to the final in Singapore but just fell short against rivals Canada. However, 7s is an ever-growing giant in the States and the future looks bright for Mike Friday’s team. Hosting the World Cup and the sixth round of the series offers another golden opportunity to showcase the enthusiastic passion for 7s made in America.
Finally, it’s worth focussing on last year’s sixth-placed finisher Australia. In the last few years, the women’s side were the outstanding team from Down Under especially with the sensational Gold medal win in Rio. But the men’s team had a strong pre-season bagging a few important tournament wins, which should give Andy Friend’s outfit a confidence boost. Skipper Lewi Holland is optimistic, especially with the Commonwealth Games on home soil, this might be a very successful season for Australian rugby.
The World Sevens Series kicks-off this Friday 1st of December with the Dubai Sevens at The Sevens Stadium and concludes on Saturday the 2nd of December. For all tournament details and a full scheduleclick here.
World Sevens Series | Website
Rugby Sevens World Cup | Website
Commonwealth Games | Website
Pic & Text: World Rugby
Sport Singapore, Singapore Sports Hub and the Singapore Rugby Union today announced ticketing details for the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens 2019, the eighth stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 which takes place on 13-14 April at the iconic National Stadium.
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