HSBC Sevens World Series
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.”
Springboks Bryan Habana and Schalk Brits have been included in the South African sevens rugby squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Regular Blitzbokke coach Neill Powell will take charge of the squad, which features several household names in South African rugby.
Apart from Habana and Brits, experienced sevens campaigner Cornal Hendricks was also included. He made his Springbok debut in the 15-man code against the World XV last week.
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.
Scotland 7s head coach, Stephen Gemmell, has brought in two seasoned Scotland internationals to his 12-man squad for the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s this weekend (3-4 May).
Nick De Luca, capped 41 times for Scotland, will win his first HSBC Sevens World Series cap since Hong Kong in 2006, while Richie Vernon, capped 20 times for the national team, comes in for the first time since San Diego in 2009.
Versatile back Mark Richards has replaced Cecil Afrika in the Springbok Sevens squad for the penultimate HSBC Sevens World Series tournament next weekend in Glasgow, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed on Thursday.
Afrika was not considered for the Blitzboks’ 12-man squad to Scotland because he is still completing his rehabilitation at Stellenbosch following the groin strain he suffered in Hong Kong.
Depending on his progress, he might be considered for selection should the need arise to call up a player for the London Sevens (10 – 11 May).
Scotland 7’s have continued their preparations for the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7’s, in just over a week’s time, by replicating a match day at Murrayfield Stadium.
The squad undertook three ties throughout the day and were supported by players from Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.
Springbok Sevens forward Chris Dry will miss the last two rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Glasgow and London as a result of the back injury he sustained in Hong Kong, the South African Rugby Union confirmed on Wednesday.
Cecil Afrika will join the Springbok Sevens rugby squad in Hong Kong after the former IRB Sevens Player of the Year passed his fitness test over the weekend.
Afrika, who has now recovered fully from a hamstring niggle, replaces Steven Hunt.
The Springbok Sevens lost 33-26 to Fiji in a thrilling, epic Tokyo Sevens Cup Final after the Pacific Islanders managed to score a brilliant and trademark long range winning try with just second remaining on the clock.
However, despite the disappointment of losing their tournament title in what must surely rank as one of the all-time great HSBC Sevens World Series Cup Finals, the South Africans did manage to regain the lead on the overall standings.
Prolific try scorer Seabelo Senatla returns to the South African squad for the next two tournaments of the IRB Sevens World Series – in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
However, playmaker Cecil Afrika will miss the trip to the Far East because of a troublesome hamstring.
Steven Hunt replaces Afrika, while Senatla comes in for Sampie Mastriet, who is on Super Rugby duty with the Bulls, for the two changes to the 12-man squad that lost to New Zealand in the Wellington Cup Final last month.
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.