HSBC Sevens World Series
The Kenya Rugby Union on Friday confirmed the appointment of former Sevens coach Benjamin Ayimba to take charge of the national team in time for the World Rugby Sevens Series of 2015 / 2016.
Ayimba, a former player, 1st handled the Kenya Sevens team between 2006 and 2011, leading the side to their 1st-ever World Series final in Adelaide, Australia in 2009, as well as the semi-final of the 2009 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai.
“Ayimba will be tasked with preparing the team for the Safari Sevens, as well as the men’s 2016 Olympic qualifiers in November in Johannesburg,” the KRU said in a statement.
The new coach takes over from Felix Ochieng, who took temporary charge of the team following the resignation of South African Paul Treu in December.
Welshman Geraint John on Monday quit as coach of Australia’s Sevens team to take up a new role for the Welsh Rugby Union.
The sudden announcement comes barely a year out from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
John, who had served as the Sevens director and head coach since June 2014, resigned to take up a new position with the WRU as the leader of the elite coach development.
Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam are the only 2 All Blacks regulars named in New Zealand’s initial rugby sevens squad on Wednesday to begin preparations for next year’s Rio Olympics.
Williams had been widely expected to make himself available for the sevens team for Rio after his switch back from rugby league late last year.
Messam, a former sevens player before he made the All Blacks, had also said he was keen on trying to win Olympic gold in Rio with Gordon Tietjens’ sevens side.
“We know what Liam can do and he will certainly give us some new options up front,” Tietjens said in a statement.
“He’s a hugely experienced sevens player having won 2 Commonwealth Games gold medals and been part of sevens World Series winning New Zealand teams.
“Sonny Bill Williams is a great athlete and has shown he can adapt very easily to the demands of rugby.
“I see him adjusting very well to the fast pace of sevens. He’ll be a great attacking weapon with his speed, strength and uncanny ability to offload.”
The BlitzBokke have been hard at work preparing for the upcoming Glasgow leg of the HSBS Sevens World Series as they face their toughest challenge yet in pursuit of being crowned World Sevens Series champions.
Neil Powell’s men hold a slender 4 point lead over Fiji on the overall log standings ahead of the Glasgow showpiece and he knows that the focus needs to remain on the task at hand and not the permutations regarding the overall Series.
It will not be an easy task though as they will have to get through a tough pool that sees them being drawn alongside 3rd-placed New Zealand, Samoa and Kenya.
“It is definitely going to be a tough pool – and tournament – but if you want to be the best in the world, you need to beat everybody. The key to our success will be to remain focused on our processes and to make sure we do the right things on the field. If we can do that, the result will take care of itself.
The Springbok Sevens have returned to South Africa following their participation in the latest rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
The squad underwent their usual medical assessment at their training camp on Wednesday, and apart from Philip Snyman and Stephan Dippenaar who both returned home with injuries last week from the Far East, no further injuries were reported.
Snyman sustained a knee ligament injury on the 2nd day in Hong Kong and he was replaced by Carel du Preez, who made his Springbok Sevens debut in Tokyo. The estimated recovery period for Snyman is 4 to 6 weeks.
His team-mate Stephan Dippenaar, meanwhile, picked up a mild hamstring injury on the last day of the Hong Kong event and was replaced by Ruhan Nel. He is expected to be back in action in 2 to 4 weeks.
Singapore look set to take over from Tokyo as a new Asian destination for the HSBC Sevens World Series at its National Stadium next year, as they continue to add to their growing portfolio of sporting events.
The wealthy Southeast Asian city-state joins Canada’s Vancouver as the new stops for the burgeoning 10-leg series that, this year, acts as a qualifier for rugby’s Olympic return at the Rio de Janeiro Games next year.
The awarding by governing body World Rugby is a boost for Singapore, after they missed out to Japan last year in the race to become the 18th franchise in the Southern Hemisphere’s Super Rugby tournament.
“We truly believe that our event at the iconic National Stadium has the potential to match the excitement surrounding current tournaments in the series,” Singapore Rugby Union President Low Teo Ping said after 23 other locations were edged out for the 4-year contract.
The Tokyo leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series took place this weekend in Tokyo, Japan.
It was Round 7 of 9 Rounds in the season.
After finishing 3rd at the previous 3 HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments, South Africa was determined to add another Cup title to their collection so far this season at the Japanese tournament this weekend. It was not to be, as they lost in the Final against England by 14 / 21.
Fiji finished in 3rd place and the surprise of the tournament, Canada finished 4th.
The Springbok Sevens (129 points) are currently enjoying a slightly increased but slender lead of 4 points over Fiji at the top of World Series standings after 6 Rounds. After winning the Cup in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, they have could not progress beyond the semi-final stages in Wellington, Las Vegas and Hong Kong but progressed to the Final in Tokyo.
New Zealand have fallen back to 9 Log Points behind South Africa on the HSBC Sevens World Series standings.
The 19 points the team collected this weekend in Tokyo allowed them to stay in 1st place above Fiji and New Zealand. With 2 tournaments to go in the season the slender South African lead simply means they still have to go fullout in the remaining tournaments, to be the winners overall for the season.
The Top 4 teams at the end of the HSBC Sevens World Series season in May will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The HSBC Sevens World Series standings table is detailed below.
After finishing 3rd at the previous 3 HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments, South Africa will be out to add another Cup title to their collection so far this season at the Japanese tournament this weekend.
The Springbok Sevens (110 points) are currently enjoying a slender lead of 2 points over Fiji at the top of World Series standings after 6 rounds. After winning the Cup in Dubai and Port Elizabeth, they have could not progress beyond the semi-final stages in Wellington, Las Vegas and Hong Kong.
The 17 points the team collected last weekend in Hong Kong allowed them to stay in 1st place above Fiji and New Zealand. Success in Tokyo on Sunday will thus allow the South Africans to consolidate their lead in the race for the coveted World Series title.
The Top 4 teams at the end of the HSBC Sevens World Series season in May will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
For now, the focus is very much on the next World Series assignment in Tokyo, where the Springbok Sevens will be hoping to challenge strongly for the Cup. They kick off on Saturday morning against Canada (04:58 SA Time) and their remaining games will be played at 07:46 SA Time against Kenya and 11:58 SA Time versus the USA.
The Springbok Sevens have called up uncapped Carel du Preez to replace injured forward Philip Snyman for the Tokyo Sevens tournament which take place this coming weekend.
The versatile Snyman sustained a knee ligament injury while playing for the Springbok Sevens on Saturday in Hong Kong.
Du Preez is currently contracted to the SA Sevens Academy and he has already played a couple of times for the Academy at tournaments in George, Dubai and Harare.
The tall loose forward represented DHL Western Province in the Under 21 ABSA Currie Cup competition last year and he has impressed the SA Sevens coaching staff since his fulltime switch to the shorter code at the end of last year.
South Africa collected 17 valuable World Series log points on Sunday after they defeated Samoa 26 / 5 to finish 3rd at the popular Hong Kong Sevens tournament.
The Blitzboks now have a 2 point lead (110 points) at the top of the standings after Fiji outplayed New Zealand by 33 / 19 to lift the Cup.
The tournament win moved Fiji into 2nd spot, just 1 point ahead of 3rd-placed NZ. The top 4 teams on the league table at the end of the season qualifies for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The teams will be in action in Japan next weekend where they will play in the Tokyo Sevens on 4 and 5 April.
The Springbok Sevens staged a magnificent comeback in their Cup semi-final against Fiji. Unfortunately for them, that was not good enough and they suffered a heart-breaking 21 / 15 loss against the Pacific islanders.
There will be additional prestige on offer when 16 of the world’s leading nations gather in Hong Kong to contest Round 6 of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
This weekend will be the 40th Hong Kong Sevens, as New Zealand look to overhaul arch rivals and World Series leaders South Africa at the top of the standings.
Scott Hastings, one of the many legends in attendance in Hong Kong this weekend, spoke to the significance of winning at the iconic stadium.
“Hong Kong is a fantastic tournament, the Mecca of Sevens, and so many world renowned players came to prominence playing for their teams here in Hong Kong,” Hastings said.
For teams like South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji there as the additional significance of World Series points.
The Blitzbokke lead the World Series with 93 points, including 2 tournaments wins, from the 1st 5 Rounds. New Zealand (1 win, 88 points) and Fiji (2 wins, 86 points) are hot on their heels.
Of course there is also the race for a Top-4 finish – and automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics – where teams like Australia (71), England (68), Argentina (54) and the United States (51) are in the running.
South Africa’s gem Cape Town joins an impressive new line-up of iconic cities hosting a round of the World Rugby Sevens Series from 2015 – 2016.
Cape Town will join the impressive line-up of iconic cities hosting a round of the World Rugby Sevens Series from 2015-16.
The South Africa Sevens will relocate to the impressive Cape Town Stadium for the 4-year cycle following a successful spell in Port Elizabeth. The move to a major international destination will enable more fans to watch the world’s top male players in action in an Olympic year.
The Springbok Sevens rugby squad announced on Thursday for the next 2 rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Tokyo shows 2 changes from the squad that played in New Zealand and the USA.
Justin Geduld and Stephan Dippenaar return to the 12-man squad in place of Rayno Benjamin and Warrick Gelant, who have returned to the Toyota Cheetahs and Vodacom Blue Bulls respectively to resume their provincial duties.
Geduld, a Commonwealth Games gold medalist with the Blitzboks last year, shrugged off the hamstring injury he picked up in Wellington, which ruled him out of the Las Vegas Sevens.
Dippenaar returns to the Springbok Sevens squad for the 1st time since the opening round last October, when he sustained a hamstring injury at the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia.
The rest of the squad is unchanged from the outfit that finished 3rd in Wellington and Las Vegas. Kyle Brown leads a Blitzboks squad that is very experienced, and has in Frankie Horne a stalwart forward who will play in his 64th consecutive World Series tournament.
The World Rugby Sevens Series is expanding next season with a 10th tournament confirmed for Vancouver, Canada.
World Rugby announced the new tournament today, with the 60,000 seat BC Place Stadium in Vancouver set to host the Canadian leg of the world series.
Sevens has enjoyed remarkable growth in the past few years with the addition of the sport to the Olympic programme.
Canada are one of the teams that have seen rapid improvement in their performances on the field, and hosting a home tournament is just reward for their passion for the game.
Rugby Canada’s successful bid came through a competitive tender process involving 25 destinations.
It has become a familiar refrain, a cliché. However, it will never be boring, as the Olympic dream is as much a driving force as overall victory in the Sevens World Series.
New Zealand, who recorded their first Cup win of the season by beating England in the Final in Wellington last week, gave notice yet again of their class and determination to be among the top four (automatic qualifiers) when the Olympic dream is realised in May.
Fiji However won the Las Vegas Sevens, with New Zealand ending 2nd, South Africa;s Blitzbokke 3rd and USA 4th.
Many had put a question mark on whether the All Blacks would be able to defend their title in Wellington, especially after the late withdrawal of former Sevens player of the year Tim Mikkelson, and the result even exceeded coach Gordon Tietjens’ expectations.
Teenage star Akira Ioane and 17-year old teenage brother Rieko who was outstanding in the recent Wellington Sevens for New Zealand, have both been signed by the Blues.
Akira, the loose forward, a star of Sir Gordon Tiejens’ All Black Sevens team last year, could make his debut in Saturday’s opening game of the Super Rugby for the Blues who are at home against the Chiefs.
Ioane, who has been a trainee with the Blues for the past few weeks, was named as the fulltime replacement for Peter Saili who is now playing in Europe.
Akira, who was born in Japan, has rugby in his blood with his father Eddie a former Samoan international while mother Sandra played for the Black Ferns.
The Springbok Sevens have called up wing Rosko Specman in place of the injured Justin Geduld for the next leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas.
The 3-day USA rugby event kicks off this coming Friday and South Africa are the defending champions.
Geduld suffered a hamstring injury over the weekend at the Wellington Sevens, where the Springbok Sevens claimed 3rd spot after a strong finish in their playoff match against Scotland. Specman (Steval Pumas) has 1 World Series tournament under his belt.
South Africa head the log with 76 points halfway through the 9-tournament World Series and are 7 points clear of New Zealand, who moved into 2nd place. The top 4 sides on the final standings in May will gain automatic entry into the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
The first Sevens Tournament in the 2015 calendar year for the HSBC Sevens World Series of 2014 / 2015 took place in Wellington, New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium.
The New Zealand Sevens tournament was played over 2 Days, Friday 6 and Saturday 7 February 2015.
Play started in the very early, small hours of the night / morning of 6 & 7 February (01:00 SA Time), with the opening game between the Blitzbokke from South Africa pitted against France.
South Africa’s Blitzbokke survived a scare to eventually progress to the quarters when France beat them 22 / 5 in the first game of the tournament and eventually finished in 3rd spot,beating Scotland by 40 / 7 and keeping their Top of the Log position after the early Rounds.
New Zealand won the Wellington Sevens in style, beating England in the final, by 27 / 21.
- Pool A: South Africa, United States, France, Japan
- Pool B: New Zealand, England, Canada, Papua New Guinea
- Pool C: Australia, Fiji, Wales, Portugal
- Pool D: Argentina, Scotland, Kenya, Samoa
Fixtures & Results:
Chris Dry and Justin Geduld have returned to the Springbok Sevens squad and will travel with the Blitzboks for the next two HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in New Zealand and the United States.
The Wellington Sevens takes place on 6 and 7 February in the New Zealand capital of Wellington and this will be followed by the Las Vegas Sevens a week later, from 13 to 15 14 February. The squad will depart to New Zealand on Friday 30 January.
South Africa will enter the Las Vegas tournament as the defending champions, and this followed on a successful 2013 season in the USA, meaning they will be hunting their 3rd back-to-back title in 4 years at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Nevada.
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.
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.
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.