HSBC Sevens World Series
Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, admitted on Tuesday he will have to make some tough choices when announcing his touring party of 12 players for the next two World Sevens Series tournaments in New Zealand and the United States.
The Wellington Sevens takes place on 6 and 7 February in the New Zealand capital and will be followed by the Las Vegas Sevens a week later, where the South Africans are the defending champions.
Despite the absence of Cheslin Kolbe as a result of Super Rugby commitments with the Stormers, Powell still has a very strong group of players to choose from.
Versatile Chiefs back Tim Nanai-Williams, while pushing for qualification to play for Samoa, could be forced to choose club over country.
The 25-year-old is pursuing a loophole through the international Sevens circuit that will allow him to play for Samoa at the World Cup later this year because his parents were born in the islands.
If his Chiefs team make a deep run in the Super Rugby play-offs however, he will miss the historic test match between the All Blacks and Samoa in Apia this July.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made it clear that Nanai-Williams will be putting his franchise first in the event of a clash as they will still be in the Super Rugby window.
Sonny Bill Williams has been given a May deadline to confirm his availability for New Zealand’s Sevens team that will compete at the Olympic Games next year.
Williams, who is currently preparing for another boxing bout, is one of several high-profile All Blacks on the wishlist of NZ Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens.
The others are brothers Julian and Ardie Savea, Liam Messam, Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Hosea Gear and Victor Vito.
Of that group, only Williams has no previous Sevens experience.
Another Pacific Island nation has fallen foul of the international controlling body of the sport, World Rugby, over the political meddling of its government.
A letter leaked from World Rugby has shown the organisation’s anger at the Fijian government’s seizure of television rights for Sevens and their intention to make it only available to a state owned network at no cost.
Its angry tone hints that Fiji faces a black out of next month’s Wellington tournament and they could also potentially miss out on this year’s 15-man World Cup.
World Rugby (the renamed International Rugby Board) explicitly says any failure to broadcast rugby in Fiji will not be their fault, but the fault of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s government.
The Kenya Rugby Union on Tuesday appointed Felix Ochieng as the new sevens team head coach to replace South African Paul Treu who resigned last week.
Ochieng, who was one of Treu’s two deputy coaches will remain in charge of the team for the remainder of the 2014 / 2015 season.
South Africa have beaten New Zealand 26-17 in the Cup final at the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in a repeat of last year’s victory, in front of 36 425 fans.
The Blitzbokke are the toast of South Africa after title defence at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium on the weekend.
The Blitzbokke have accordingly also now moved to first in the global HSBC Sevens World Series standings with win, as the road to Rio (2016 Olympics) heats up.
South Africa have defended their title and won their second consecutive round of the HSBC Sevens World Series with a 26-17 win over defending series champions New Zealand at the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, round three of the Series.
The last Tournament in the 2014 calendar year for the HSBC Sevens World Series of 2014 / 2015 took place in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament was played over 2 Days, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 December 2014.
When play started on Day 1, France scored within 14 seconds against Fiji, but Fiji rallied to demolish France by 45 / 5.
Canada surprised by beating Scotland 14 / 12 in the 2nd game.
A number of more surprises followed on Day one, but what remained firm was the South African Blitzbokke resolve as they monstered their way to 3 excellent wins, and only conceeding a solitary try in the process.
Apart from South Africa, the other big Sevens nations – New Zealand, England, Fiji and Australia were joined by USA, Scotland and Argentina in the Cup Quarters on Day 2.
South Africa advanced to the Final, beating England and Australia along the way, whilst New Zealand beat USA to advance to a semi against Argentina, then comfortably beat Argentina, to book their place against the South African Blitzbokke in the Final.
Australia took the 3rd Place Play-off game against Argentina, 34 / 19.
The South African Blitzbokke took Final honours against New Zealand by 26 / 17 and made it back to back tournament wins as well as a successful defence of the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens title!
To Southern Hemisphere rugby interests, this tournament represents the last action in the 2014 rugby season, with their off-season officially starting after this tournament.
In the Northern Hemisphere though, it is all action in December.
The 2014 / 2015 season carries added significance because the top-ranked sides after the ninth and final round in London in May 2015 will qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
After climbing into the top four after two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Australia and New Zealand know it’s far too early to rest on their laurels with Olympic qualification also up for grabs this season.
As the 16 captains assemble for the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth, Australian skipper Ed Jenkins and his New Zealand counterpart DJ Forbes reflect on their respective team’s elevation to the all-important top four after the first two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
This weekend’s HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Port Elizabeth will not be affected by load shedding, stadium organisers have assured.
Lourens Oberholzer from Access Management said that the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has high power generators designed to ensure constant supply of electricity to the stadium in the event of any power outage.
Oberholzer also said the local municipality has assured them that the stadium will not be affected by load shedding this weekend.
Nizaam Carr and Handré Pollard lead the full list of nominees released by SARU on Wednesday for their annual Player of the Year Awards, which will take place on 8 February in Midrand.
Carr and Pollard, both of whom made their Test debuts for the Springboks this season, have both been nominated in three categories.
The 23-year-old Carr has been nominated in for the SARU Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Currie Cup Player of the Year.
Pollard, who is only 20, has been nominated in the categories for SARU Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and SA Under 20 Player of the Year.
The odds are believed to have unexpectedly lengthened on Cape Town getting a stint soon in the HSBC Sevens World Series sun.
It is understood that, from a situation at roughly this time last year when it seemed a switch for the South African leg of the series from Port Elizabeth to the Mother City (and probably the under-used Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 soccer World Cup) was almost a fait accompli from the 2015/16 tournament onward, the Eastern Cape metropolis may instead get an extension of unknown duration.
The “Friendly City” stages its fourth successive Sevens jamboree this weekend, as the Blitzbokke try to match their feat in Dubai a few days ago of winning that leg; in doing so they advanced to second place behind Fiji on the global standings after two events of the 2014 / 2015 campaign.
It has been known for some time that tenders for a new hosting stint were going to be invited by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) after the latest PE staging of the Sevens.
The pools for the third round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in South Africa were drawn in Dubai with hosts South Africa heading Pool A.
World Rugby has confirmed the pool draw for the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens, round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014 / 2015 on 13-14 December 2014.
After their Cup win at the second round of the Series in Dubai, hosts South Africa are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up Australia, third-placed Fiji and the fourth semi-finalist New Zealand head the remaining pools.
Australian Sevens head Coach Geraint John has named an unchanged 12-man squad for this week’s tournament in South Africa.
Australia head to Port Elizabeth for the third round of the 2014/15 Sevens World Series with renewed optimism after reaching the Cup Final in last weekend’s Dubai Sevens and jumping four places to third in the overall standings.
Second seeds for the South African Sevens tournament after their impressive showing in the United Arab Emirates, Australia has been drawn in Pool B alongside Argentina, Portugal and Zimbabwe.
Head coach Geraint John said: “The players who performed so well for the country in Dubai deserve to be picked again for this tournament.
The second last Tournament in the 2014 calendar year for the HSBC Sevens World Series of 2014 / 2015 is underway in Dubai.
The Emirates Dubai Sevens tournament is played over 2 Days, Friday 5 and Saturday 6 December 2014.
The last Tournament for the year is next weekend, in South Africa, at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
On Day 1, the traditional Sevens big sides, Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa, England and Australia have easily overcome their opponents in their first games.
Surprise results were Canada beating Wales by 19 / 14 and Scotland beating Samoa 21 / 14.
On Day 2 Fiji and New Zealand advanced to the 3rd place play-off and South Africa and Australia advanced to the Final.
South Africa’s Blitzbokke easily took the Final and the Dubai title by 33 / 7.
Regular Springbok Sevens captain Kyle Brown is eager to get back into the Blitzboks jersey and ready to play his part for his country after missing the first round the Sevens World Series in October at the Gold Coast through injury.
A serious shoulder injury sustained in the final of the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, in July ruled Brown out of action for several months and forced him to miss the season opener in Australia.
The Springbok Sevens finished fourth at the Gold Coast, a result which coach Neil Powell described as unsatisfactory after errors cost them on the second day’s play.
Brown, who is looking forward to making his return after a lengthy injury-layoff, said he was excited to be back.
Exciting Vodacom Blue Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant will make his debut for South Africa at the Dubai HSBC World Sevens Series in December after being named in coach Neil Powell’s 12-man squad on Thursday for Round 2 of the International Sevens extravaganza.
The tournament will be hosted at the Sevens Rugby Stadium on 5 & 6 December.
Cheslin Kolbe and Rayno Benjamin, two former regular Springbok Sevens stalwarts, meanwhile will make their return to the Blitzboks squad after starring for their provincial unions this past season. There is also a welcome return for regular skipper Kyle Brown, who has overcome his shoulder troubles.
Powell, who coached the Springbok Sevens to second place in the Series last season and to a Commonwealth gold medal in June, said it was a tough job to select only 12 players for Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
Australian men’s Sevens head coach Geraint John has named his 12-man squad that will travel to Asia for the Dubai Sevens in December.
The pacy duo of Greg Jeloudev (ankle) and Allan Fa’alava’au (ineligible) return after sitting out the Gold Coast Sevens World Series opener in October.
Veteran forward Jesse Parahi misses out after breaking a finger in training last Thursday and will undergo surgery on Monday. Afa Pakalani (shoulder) and Shannon Walker (foot) are also unavailable through injury.
Seabelo Senatla has been released from the Springbok touring squad at the request of the Springbok Sevens and will return to South Africa on Sunday.
Senatla will join the Blitzbokke as they prepare for the next two tournaments in the HSBC Sevens World Series, in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
“We’ve got a very good relationship with Neil (Powell) and the Sevens, so we’re happy to help,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“At this stage we won’t be calling up a replacement as we have enough cover at the back.
The Springbok Sevens’ preparation plans for the next two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series have received a boost with the news that Springbok centre JJ Engelbrecht and Junior Springbok fullback Cheslin Kolbe will join the training group from Monday in Stellenbosch.
Successful talks between SARU and several provincial unions have paved the way for a number of Absa Currie Cup players to be released for Springbok Sevens training duty.
Engelbrecht, a contracted Springbok with 12 Test caps, played for the Vodacom Blue Bulls during the recently concluded Absa Currie Cup while Kolbe starred for the DHL Western Province during their successful campaign.
Three more Vodacom Blue Bulls players, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant and Duncan Matthews (all utility backs), will join the training on Monday.
Singapore clinched a four-year deal to host a leg of the IRB Sevens World Series at its state-of-the-art new National Stadium, starting next year, a media report said.
The Straits Times said the Singapore Rugby Union signed a host union agreement with the International Rugby Board last week.
It will join Vancouver and Paris as new entrants to the nine-nation, eight-month global campaign, with Tokyo, Las Vegas and Glasgow making way, the report said, without naming a source.
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Steroids have been found in supplements given to players on Kenya’s Sevens team, according to a report that calls for disciplinary proceedings against head coach Paul Treu and five members of his staff.
The report by a task force set up by the government to investigate allegations of doping in Kenyan sport says there are “strong suggestions” that Treu of South Africa and his assistants have violated anti-doping rules after introducing the supplements to players.
There was “a concoction they [the coaches] gave players to drink at the beginning and end of training,” Moni Wekesa, the Chairman of the task force that investigated, told The Associated Press on Monday.
The report says the Kenyan players would stop taking the supplement a few days before competing.
The FIRST Event is the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014 / 2015 took place this weekend in the Gold Cost, Australia.
On the First Day, the traditionally BIG SIDES all progressed to the next Rounds of the Cup Competition.
Surprize results were Argentina beating England in the first game of the tournament, by 21 / 19, Wales beating Kenya in game 14 by 24 / 19 and scotland drawing with Portugal by 21 / 21 in game 23.
On Day 2 the tournament concluded, with Fiji taking the honours, beating Samoa in the Cup Final by 31 / 24.
Herewith the Results and Fixtures:
Kenya has dropped ten players from their squad for the IRB world series opening tournament in Australia in a dispute with the national board over pay and contracts.
The players, including wingers Collins Injera and Horace Otieno and back-rower Biko Adema, were reportedly unhappy that the board had agreed to draw up performance-driven contracts without consulting them.
The Springbok Sevens team will soon start the next phase in their pursuit of Olympic silverware after they stunned the New Zealand team in the final at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the weekend.
The South African team made history by beating the All Blacks for the first time since Rugby Sevens were introduced as one of the sporting codes in 1998.
“It is an important tournament win for us as a Springbok Sevens team. This will mean a lot for us going into the next season and going into the Olympics in 2016,” Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell said at the team’s arrival in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
“It is always great to beat the All Blacks in a final and it was a tough one, the guys really worked hard to win that one. Credit to my boys.”
“It is an honour and a privilege to represent your country and to win in the Commonwealth games is special and means a lot to us.”
The South African team captured the imagination as they played with unbridled vigour throughout the campaign.
Opinions in New Zealand rugby are divided on the details of how many top tier fifteens players should be made available for a tilt at Olympic sevens and how those players should be transitioned into rugby’s abbreviated game.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed today a number of top tier Super Rugby players and All Blacks would prioritise sevens in 2016 in the lead up to the Rio de Janeiro Games.
However, he said there was plenty of debate around exactly how that process would be handled and hinted the failure to win gold in Glasgow would be factored into discussions.
Rio de Janeiro seems a long way from a chilly summer night in Glasgow, but rugby sevens guru Gordon Tietjens has already sent out his wish list of stars for the next Olympics.
That includes Sonny Bill Williams, and current All Blacks Cory Jane, Liam Messam and Julian Savea, as he casts the net wide in the wake of the end of a Commonwealth Games era.
He’s one of the most decorated coaches at the Commonwealth Games, but where did it all begin for New Zealand’s long-time Sevens coach?
“From where he was, from a fancy-free, practical joking, happy go lucky player to where he is now. It’s bloody legendary.”
Geraint John has joined the Australian Sevens team as head coach, from Canada who enjoyed their most successful season to date.
The 51-year-old has been head coach of the Canada’s Sevens team since 2010.
John, from Carmarthen, Wales, takes over the reins from Michael O’Connor, who stepped down as Head Coach in February after six years in the role.
Having steered the Springbok Sevens to a credible second place on the HSBC Sevens World Series, Blitzboks coach Neil Powell admitted that he needs to improve the depth of his squad to make them more competitive next season.
Powell took over the reigns as head coach of the Springbok Sevens when the 2013/14 season started in October last year. His immediate aim was to install a good level of consistency, and to reach the semi-final of each of the nine World Series tournaments.
Samisoni Viriviri’s name was called out at a function following the London Sevens at Twickenham, the final Round of the 2013 / 2014 HSBC Sevens World Series won by New Zealand.
He becomes the first Fijian to win the award since it was first presented in 2004, having finished the season with 52 tries.
The final round of this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series took place in London. The London leg of the series took place during Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 of May.
Before this tournament New Zealand topped the World Series table and were hot favourites to add yet another trophy to their sevens cabinet, which they comfortably did by winning this leg of the HSBS Sevens World Series in Londom too.
Prior to the tournament they were already 19 points ahead of their nearest rivals, South Africa, on the overall standings table.
New Zealand, South Africa and Fiji notched up big wins in their first games on Day 1 against Argentina, Portugal and Spain respectively. South Africa then remained unbeaten through Day 1 while Fiji lost one game, to Australia and New Zealand also lost one game, being narrowly defeated in the final game of Day 1 by England. All three these teams competed in the quarter finals of the Cup section on Day 2 where they were joined by England, Australia, Samoa, Kenya and France.
The BlitzBokke’s ‘reward’ for topping their pool is a Cup quarter final against New Zealand, but New Zealand comfortably dispatched the Blitzbokke by 32 / 5 in their quarter final.
The Results were periodically updated here on Rugby-Talk.
All times are in British Summer Time (BST), one hour behind South African Time.
The Springbok Sevens will be without regular squad member Stephan Dippenaar in this weekend’s London Sevens to be played at Twickenham.
The Glasgow leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series took place this weekend.
Super Rugby’s broadcast times largely clashed on Saturday with these games, therefore we looked at the results already done and dusted and we followed the rest of the games as they progressed.
The Fixtures and Results were updated from time to time here on Rugby-Talk.
New Zealand takes the Cup, beating Canada in the final by 54 / 7 and now have an unassailable lead of 19 points in the season, effectively already winning the overall title for the season, with one leg to go in the season.
Former Rugby League player Lausii Taliauli is set to make his World Sevens Series debut after being added to the Australia squad for the Glasgow leg this weekend.
Australia head coach Michael O’Connor made the late change to his squad after Taliauli was declared fit by the Australian Rugby Union medical staff.