HSBC Sevens World Series
Chaos has erupted in Kenyan rugby that threatens to engulf their highly-successful Sevens programme and could end their hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics next year.
With players not having been paid for 3 months now, an attempt by the South African management members to resolve the impasse has been met with anger from the Kenyan Rugby Union, with officials trying to boot assistant coach Vuyo Zangqa and conditioning coach Graham Bentz from the country without resolving the crisis.
Kenya has been the beacon of African rugby and a shining light on World Rugby’s international Sevens circuit, but internal politics – the same problems that saw former Blitzbok coach Paul Treu sever his relationship with them last year – are now tearing the team apart.
There is currently a breakdown in the structures that have been put in place, with players not able to train properly, little or no support coming from the KRU, high-performance equipment breaking down. But it is the players not being paid that has brough the situation to a breaking point, with the KRU either unwilling, or unable to sort out the mess.
Their reaction to the South African management’s plea for help was to arrive at their training base on Tuesday, hand them plane tickets and tell them to “pack up and go.”
Leading try-scorer on the 2014 / 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series, Seabelo Senatla and regular Tournament Dream Team member Werner Kok have both been nominated for the 2015 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Award, in association with HSBC.
This announcement, made by World Rugby on Sunday evening, caps off a memorable season for the Springbok Sevens duo, who alongside fellow team member Kwagga Smith, was also named in the Series Dream Team after the completion of the final tournament in London.
Kok and Senatla were nominated with Fijian ace Semi Kunatani, with the trio voted for by the management teams of the 15 core sides who compete at all 9 Rounds of the World Series. Kok ended the season as the leading tackler of all players and also scored 23 tries.
Senatla finished the season as the leading try scorer with 47 tries and has scored 2 of this year’s fans’ favourites, as well as scoring in both of South Africa’s Cup final victories in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
The last leg of the 2014 / 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series took place in London England this Saturday and Sunday 16 and 17 May 2015 from 09:00 BST (10:00 SA Time) both days.
All the action was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on Saturday and on SuperSport 1 (Sunday) on TV in South Africa.
After 8 Rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand battled it out for the 16th World Series title in London.
Following their victory at the Glasgow Sevens last weekend, Fiji headed into the 9th and Final Round of the Series in 1st spot – with Ben Ryan’s side aiming to win their 1st Series title since 2006.
Not since 2010 has a side other than New Zealand won it, but with Fiji on 147 points and South Africa on 142 prior to this tournament, the 4-time defending champions had their work cut out to win a 13th World Series title as they sat 3rd on 139 Log Points, prior to this tournament.
New Zealand fell out of the race for the ultimate World Series title when England beat them in the quarter-final and the same fate befell South Africa’s Blitzbokke as they persihed against Fiji by 7 / 19 in the quarter-finals in London, the same fate which befell them in Glasgow.
Having led the Series since Round 2 the BlitzBokke failed to make the Cup semi-finals for the 1st time all season in Glasgow and now again in London.
Paris in France is 1 of 5 cities that will join the Rugby Sevens World Series from next season, World Rugby announced on Friday.
Vancouver, Sydney, Cape Town and Singapore have also been added to the 10-destination series for the 2015 / 2016 season, leading up to the sport’s debut at the Olympics in Rio.
The event will be held at the Jean Bouin stadium, home of the city’s Top 14 outfit Stade Francais.
In a statement released yesterday (14 May 2015) The Board of Scottish Rugby unanimously confirmed that the national 7s team will continue to compete in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The positive recent results by the team, heritage of the game in Scotland and incentive of contributing to a future Team GB Olympic 7s squad means Scottish Rugby will continue to support a national 7s team.
The current squad and management have been informed of this decision. Discussions will take place with the 7s team and management following the HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in London to plan the structure of the programme for next season.
It is a tight race to see who takes the Series in Twickenham with Fiji leading the way, and the pools for the London leg have been confirmed.
After their Cup win at the 8th Round of the Series in Glasgow, Fiji are top seeds and head Pool A, while runners-up New Zealand, 3rd-placed England and the 4th semifinalist USA head the remaining pools.
The 2014 / 2015 season carries added significance because the top-ranked sides in the series qualify directly for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Following their performances in Glasgow, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand have all confirmed their place in Rio, with just the 4th and final spot still be decided.
The Glasgow Sevens, the 2nd last leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series takes place this weekend in Glasgow, Scotland at Scotstoun.
The Tournament is held over 2 days, with Saturday 9 May the 1st Day and the tournament concluding on Sunday 10 May.
The 3 leading sides in the World Series are South Africa (129 Log Points), Fiji (125 Log Points) and New Zealand (120 Log Points). England follows some distance behind in 3rd spot on 100 Log Points, with Australia 9 points behind them on 91 Log Points and the rest of the field far up the rear.
The Top 4 Teams in the standings at the end of the 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series, which concludes next weekend in London, England, automatically qualify for spots at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, so for England and Australia there is all to play for in this tournament and next weekend.
For the Top 3 sides in the series, who have already made sure of Olympic qualification (bar the almost impossible preventing it in these 2 last tournaments) this weekend and the next is all about winning the HSBC World Series. South Africa are only 4 Points ahead of the Fijians, who have raised the bar and upped the ante substantially in the last few tournaments. New Zealand, who are last year’s champions are also within reach and will be desperate to beat Fiji and South Africa convincingly, in order to retain the crown.
The weekend’s action kicked off at 11:30 SA Time (10:30 BST, 09:30 GMT) and all the action was broadcast live on SuperSport 6, on TV in South Africa.
South Africa played Samoa at 12:58 SA Time (11:58 BST, 10:58 GMT), then they played Kenya at 16:04 SA Time (15:04 BST, 14:04 GMT) and their 3rd and last game of Day 1 was against New Zealand at 19:37 SA Time (18:37 BST, 17:37 GMT).
On Day 1 the traditionally big Sevens Nations of South Africa, New Zealand and Fiji all advanced to the quarters, joined by England, Canada, Scotland, Australia and the United States in the quarters.
Day 2’s action started at 12:30 SA Time (11:30 BST, 10:30 GMT) on Sunday and the action was broadcast on SuperSport 1 on TV in South Africa. The tournament concluded with the Cup Final which took place at 20:50 SA Time (19:50 BST, 18:50 GMT).
South Africa’s Blitzbokke lost their quarter-final game against Fiji by 0 / 15 and Fiji and New Zealand went on to contest the Cup Final.
Fiji managed to beat New Zealand in the Cup Final by 24 / 17, to take the Glasgow title.
Fiji has now moved to the Top of the 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series points table, 5 points above South Africa, who have moved down into 2nd spot. New Zealand have also crept closer to South Africa on the Log and only 8 points now seperate the Top 3 teams, going into the Final Round of the 2015 HSBC Sevens World Series next weekend in London, England.
A good performance at the Glasgow Sevens will not only ensure that the Springbok Sevens stay in the hunt for the coveted HSBC Sevens World Series title, it would also clinch their spot as 1 of the 4 automatic qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
With the Top 3 teams in the Series separated by just 12 points, they will have everything to play for with an eye on the 16th Series title.
South Africa is currently in the Top Spot on the Log with 129 points and is the only side to have advanced to every Cup semi-final so far this season, while Fiji (125) and New Zealand (120) are hot on their heels.
The South Africans this week returned to Glasgow, where last year they experienced 1 of their greatest achievements by clinching the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell said his team would draw inspiration from the triumph at the Ibrox Stadium.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell has made 2 changes to his squad for the final 2 Rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series tournaments in the United Kingdom next month.
The penultimate World Series tournament takes place on 9 and 10 May in Glasgow and the season concludes a week later with the 9th and last tournament of the season in London.
Stephan Dippenaar and Philip Snyman have both recovered from their knee injuries sustained in Hong Kong and return to the squad in place of the Carel du Preez (who made his debut in Tokyo) and the injured Justin Geduld (hamstring).
South Africa is currently leading the World Series standings after 7 Rounds, having won 2 Cup finals (Dubai and Port Elizabeth) and qualifying for the semi-finals of each of the previous 7 tournaments.
The team now returns to Glasgow, the venue of their Commonwealth Games triumph of last year. This time they face a daunting task to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Samoa have named an enlarged 58-man playing squad which includes Chiefs back Tim Nanai-Williams who is pushing for his eligibility through the Sevens loophole.
Nanai-Williams has been included but will need to play in at least 2 Rounds of the Sevens World Series for Samoa to be eligible for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Rugby World Cup in England later this year.
Other notable inclusions in the squad are Newcastle flyer Sinoti Sinoti, Bordeaux’s Peter Saili, Sharks’ Paul Perez, former Stormer and current Wasps wing Sailosi Tagicakibau, Alesana Tuilagi – brother of Manu, former Waratahs wing Alofa Alofa and Hurricanes centre Reynold Lee Lo.
International Rugby Board Chief Executive Brett Gosper urged international unions to play their star names at the Rio Olympics Sevens to maximise the sport’s opportunity on the world stage.
Gosper said that while the value of having regular Sevens players must be properly respected, Rugby Union’s chances of becoming a permanent Olympic sport may rely on an injection of star power from the traditional, more high-profile 15-a-side game.
“In 2017, straight after Rio, they’ll decide if Rugby continues to be a core sport at the Olympics. We will be in Japan in 2020 as well, but that may be it,” Gosper told reporters in Sydney.
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.
New Zealand brushed aside England 26-7 to win the Hong Kong Sevens and reclaim top spot in the overall standings in the IRB Sevens World Series, Sunday.
The All Blacks Sevens, the defending World Series champions, won its third tournament this season in fine style, running four tries past a hapless England to claim their 11th Cup Championship in Hong Kong and first since 2011.
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.
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.
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.
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 South African Blitzbokke and the other 15 international teams participating in this weekend’s Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens arrived at the Port Elizabeth International Airport on Monday evening.
The 16 teams arrived on two flights from Johannesburg, with the second flight about half an hour after the first flight.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament marks the last leg of the 2013 part of the 2013 / 2014 HSBC Sevens World series, to be resumed well into 2014.
The Dubai leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series was played, with Day 1 on 29 November and Day 2 on 30 November 2013.
Here are the Results & Fixtures.
Fiji won the Tournament against the Blitzbokke of South Africa, by 29 / 17.
The captains of the top four seeds – New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa – admit that they expect a tough test in this weekend’s Dubai Sevens.
The Springbok Sevens will aim to improve on their Gold Coast performance of last month when they play in the Dubai Sevens on Friday and Saturday. The tournament marks Round 2 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which consists of nine tournaments worldwide.
Pumas speedster Rosco Speckman was this week added to the Springbok Sevens training squad in Stellenbosch.
The group is preparing for the next two legs of the IRB Sevens World Series – in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
Springbok Sevens assistant coach Vuyo Zangqa will not renew his contract and will be stepping down from his current position with the South African team.
Zangqa was offered an extension on his contract, but has decided to pursue other career opportunities once his contract expires at the end of the month.
The first Tournament of the HSBC Sevens World Series of the 2013 / 2014 season happened at the Gold Coast, Queensland, at Skilled Park.
Here are the results of the Tournament:
The Gold Coast Sevens marks the start of the IRB Sevens World Series where Fiji will be determined to make it three in a row this weekend.
The defending Gold Coast Sevens champions line-up in Pool C against Wales, Canada and Portugal and captain Osea Kolinisau is confident they’ll complete their hat-trick at Skilled Park.
Neil Powell was announced as the new Blitzbokke coach on Saturday.
The former Blitzbokke captain will be taking charge as coach at the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia.
Sevens looks to be the big winner as New Zealand’s professional rugby players are set to receive a significant pay increase through the new collective employment agreement.
The New Zealand Rugby Union and the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association said today they had signed an agreement covering the professional game through to 2015.
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 was held in Moscow, Russia between 28-30 June. It was the sixth RWC Sevens and the second comprising a men’s and women’s tournament, following the event in Dubai in 2009.
Before this tournament, the defending men’s champions were Wales. Australia were the inaugural women’s champions.
New Zealand’s MEN and WOMEN’s sides won this tournament, completing an impressive double.
New Zealand 33 / 0 England (men)
New Zealand 29 / 12 Canada (women)
New Zealand will be aiming to translate their world-beating form on the IRB World Series circuit into a title tilt at the World Cup Sevens in Moscow this weekend, with one eye on the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.