The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced the dates for the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014 / 2015, which has gained in significance with the recent announcement that the top four-ranked nations will qualify from it directly for the Olympic Games in 2016.
According to the IRB’s official website, the 16th edition of the record-breaking series will visit the same nine countries as the current 2013/14 season with two changes to the order of rounds. The event in the USA will be played the weekend after New Zealand’s, and Japan’s tournament will follow on from Hong Kong.
Michael O’Connor has resigned from his position as Australian Rugby Sevens head coach citing family considerations as the contributing factor behind his decision.
“I tended my resignation to Anthony Eddy [General Manager - Rugby Sevens] and the ARU earlier this week.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers on Wednesday became only the sixth player to be named South African Rugby Player of the Year more than once, while Eben Etzebeth was named the Young Player of the Year for 2013 for the second successive season at a glittering ceremony at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg.
De Villiers led the Springboks to 10 wins in 12 Tests in 2013 and scored five tries in the process following an outstanding Vodacom Super Rugby campaign for the DHL Stormers. His first-class record now stands at 254 matches with 91 tries scored.
The New Zealand leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, in Wellington, was played this weekend.
The South African Blitzbokke started their bid to win a 3rd Tournament in a row in fine fashion, by beating Wales 26 / 0 and beating Portugal 27 / 5.
The Blitzbokke’s next challenge was England, and the game was won by England, by 19 / 5. Both England and South Africa advance to the Cup Quarters, England played Samoa and the Blitzbokke played Australia.
New Zealand comfortably beat France, 47 / 0 in the last game of Day 1, after earlier losing to Fiji, but also advanced to the Cup Quarters, where they played against Canada.
At the 2nd Day of the tournament, New Zealand and South Africa advanced all the way to the final, with Fiji beating England in the 3rd place play-off.
New Zealand won the final by 21 / 0 against the South African Blitzbokke, capitalizing on mistakes and shutting the Blitzbokke out in the 2nd half.
The South African Blitzbokke Sevens team head into the weekend’s Wellington Sevens in New Zealand looking for a 3rd successive tournament title in what would be a first for the South Africans.
The last time any team could win 3 consecutive tournaments on the IRB Sevens World Series was in 2010 when Samoa took the honours in the USA, Australia and Hong Kong.
Auckland teenager Akira Ioane is set to make his international debut in the Wellington leg of the IRB Sevens World Series this weekend.
The injured Springbok Sevens duo of Seabelo Senatla and Rosko Specman will return to South Africa and will be replaced by Jamba Ulengo and Kwagga Smith for the Wellington Sevens on 7 – 8 February, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed on Thursday.
The two wings sustained ankle injuries during last weekend’s Las Vegas Sevens, where the Bok Sevens team won the tournament title for a second successive year. Smith and Ulengo will join the squad on Saturday.
South Africa defended their Las Vegas Sevens successfully when they defeated New Zealand 14-7 in another dramatic and tense Cup final between the two rugby rivals in the early hours of Monday morning (SA time).
The teams were tied 7-all at halftime after Scott Curry had opened the scoring for New Zealand and Branco du Preez replied for the Springbok Sevens.
New Zealand were dealt a big blow ahead of their home leg of the IRB Sevens World Series.
The Kiwis, who lost to South Africa in the Cup Final at the Las Vegas leg at the weekend, will be without the services of Sam Dickson, who was handed a nine-game ban for eye-gouging in their final pool match against Fiji.
The Springbok Sevens’ defence of their Las Vegas Sevens title started off on a powerful note as they ended day one without conceding a point.
Placed in a tricky pool alongside Wales, Canada and Kenya, the Blitzbokke placed their marker early on as they smashed Wales 43-0 in the opening game of the tournament and then followed it up with a comprehensive 29-0 win over Canada in the second game of their pool fixtures.
The Blitzbokke will be aiming for a third title in four years at the Las Vegas Sevens this weekend.
The BlitzBokke head into the fourth round of the IRB Sevens World Series in Las Vegas off the back of an emotional Cup win on home soil in December.
A lot of rugby will be played this weekend, with the much awaited friendly between Saracens and the Cell C Sharks, the HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Las Vegas and the LV Cup, amongst others, happening.
The Referees & Match Officials have been named.
After an Off-season which certainly drove me slightly more batty than I already was, the new Rugby Season is now close at hand.
The coming weekend sees some of Super Rugby’s warm-up matches, with the Lions playing the Leopards on Friday evening 24 January, the Cheetahs playing against NMMU and again against the Kings on Saturday and of course the Sharks playing Saracens on Saturday 25 January in London. In addition there is the HSBC Sevens World Series Las Vegas tournament on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday and slightly into Monday very early morning.
Auckland player Akira Ioane has had to withdraw from the team for the Las Vegas Sevens tournament and has been replaced by Manawatu’s George Tilsley.
New Zealand will be without the services of star playmaker Tomasi Cama when they take part in the fourth leg of the IRB Sevens World Series in Las Vegas.
Cama suffered a calf injury in training and will not depart with the team on Sunday – ahead of the Vegas tournament on 25 January and 26.
Despite their difficult financial situation, Fiji will definitely still take part in the Wellington Sevens tournament next month.
Sevens Wellington general manager Marty Donoghue confirmed that the Fiji team will remain a key feature of the 7 – 8 February tournament at Westpac Stadium.
Carlin Isles, a 24-year-old US Sevens wing, touted as the fastest man in rugby, was signed to a practice squad receiver contract on Thursday by the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
The South African leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, was held at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, takes place on 7 and 8 December 2013.
The tournament was played in emotionally charged circumstances after the death of beloved South African and world statesman, Nelson Mandela, who passed away in the night of 5 December 2013.
In these circumstances the open question was whether South Africa’s Blitzbokke could go one better than the previous tournament when they were beaten in the final by Fiji.
The question was answered… the South African Blitzbokke are the winners and title holders at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth!
Here are the Fixtures and Results:
Maybe it’s fitting that the South African leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series tournament of 2013 / 2014 takes place a couple of days after the passing of the world’s biggest ever statesman, Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) at the stadium named in his honor, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
It is the last sevens action in the HSBC Sevens World series of 2013.
The South African Blitzbokke will be eager to tribute this tournament to Madiba.
We bring you all you need to know about the 16 teams who will be vying for top honours in the Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens, the third round of the IRB Sevens World Series in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
The Springbok Sevens have called up Steven Hunt, Kwagga Smith and Rosco Speckman as injury cover for Stephan Dippenaar, Jamba Ulengo and Frankie Horne.
The South Africans will be in action over the weekend in the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens in Port Elizabeth.