The risk of losing star Wallabies like Israel Folau after the 2015 World Cup has prompted the Australian Rugby Union to change its rules to allow overseas sabbaticals.
The Australian Rugby Union will dangle a sizeable carrot to lure the country’s top players to sevens in the lead up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
Joaquin Paz sparked a second-half comeback as unbeaten Buenos Aires clinched the World Club 7′s title at Twickenham over Auckland, who lost out at the final hurdle for the second year running.
Auckland were in the ascendancy after Mitch Karpik’s double but the Argentinians’ resolve throughout the weekend was also present in the final, with the deadly Paz crossing twice to secure a 26-22 victory.
The sights and sounds of our national rugby teams struggling in defeat are rare but well worth the wait for those who like to study the innuendo style of excuse-making.
One thing you don’t hear at these times is genuine praise for opponents, of being beaten fair and square.
New Zealand rugby expects and often gets the world to fall at its brilliant feet, but doesn’t give back. Just check a few boorish World Cup losing reactions on that score.
New Zealand rugby bosses continue to debate who and how many top tier fifteens players should be made available for a tilt at Olympic sevens glory, but All Blacks centre Conrad Smith has indicated most players are crystal clear on the issue.
“There’s obviously certain forwards that don’t give it much thought, but for the last year or so certainly some of the backs and some of the guys that have been involved before talk about how they’d love to be involved and why not?” he said yesterday.”
“It’s a pretty unique opportunity to get an Olympic gold. That would be something most guys would jump at.”
It has become clear the New Zealand Rugby Union and the All Blacks management want to help the sevens team secure a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but are still debating exactly how to do so.
All Blacks backs coach Ian Foster said it would be a matter of striking a balance between helping the sevens Olympic campaign and not adversely effecting the national fifteens team.
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.
Several ex-New Zealand and Australia internationals have confirmed that they will lodge an application to switch allegiances to a Pacific Island nation with whom they hold a passport, with a view to participating at the Rugby World Cup in England next year.
With the inclusion of rugby 7s at the Olympics in 2016, there has been a change in eligibility laws that will see players who have represented one nation now eligible to play for another, if they hold a passport from that country.
If they have not played international rugby in the past 18 months, they will be eligible for their new country in the Sevens World Series or designated Regional Olympic Qualification Tournaments and would thus be able to play for that country in all forms of rugby.
The Commonwealth Games was underway and the first Rugby games of these games were on Saturday 26 July 2014.
All games were played at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.
South Africa won the Gold Medal, New Zealand the Silver, Australia the Bronze!
Before the Final of these Games, New Zealand had not lost a single Commonwealth Games Sevens game… well, that record no longer stands.
The new Commonwealth Games Gold Medal Champions are South Africa’s Blitzbokke… for 4 more years!
It was a tough and physical Final, and New Zealand still deserve their plaudits for being the premier Sevens side in World Rugby.
Herewith the Fixtures & Results:
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.”
Some four years of hard work, of highs and of lows, have led to this weekend. Today (Friday 25 July) marks the eve of the rugby sevens tournament at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
During the past 1,460 days, a full-time sevens programme has been implemented, beginning at the outset of season 2011-12, the abbreviated national team’s most successful head coach, Stephen Gemmell, was reinstated in January 2013 and the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens Festival was transported along the M8 to Scotstoun Stadium, where the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s has taken place for the past three years.
It was in the host city, only two months ago that Scotland 7s matched their best ever finish in a HSBC Sevens World Series event, finishing in fourth place
Now, it is the belief of many that Gemmell has picked the best ever 12-man squad to pull-on Scotland’s short game jersey and that this is a squad who can make sevens history.
There is a palpable level of excitement in the country ahead of the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Glasgow this year. Driving up the road over the weekend one was reminded by overhead sign boards long before reaching Glasgow of the need to plan ahead and potential difficulties in travelling as a result of the Games.
The online search engine Google has the theme of the games on its page, there is a lot of coverage in the media both online, in print and of course in audio and visual. Radio schedules have already been changed on some stations providing coverage already ahead of the Games which are due to get kick started with the opening ceremony tonight. In advertising it’s radio coverage the national broadcaster has even made a pledge to bring all the action of Scotland’s medal winning events live to the public. Colleagues have members of their family involved on a voluntary basis as ambassadors for Glasgow 2014 with some having already been helping out in the Athletes Village for the last two weeks.
Toulon have released South Africa winger Bryan Habana to play for the Blitzbokke at the Commonwealth Games.
Habana had previously been named in the original squad to compete in Scotland before the club decided to prevent him from participating.
However, Toulon have now announced that the 97-times capped flyer has been released to compete in the tournament before he links up with the Springboks to play in The Rugby Championship.
Schalk Brits is the other big name who won’t be featuring in the competition, after his release was denied by Saracens.
SASCOC have confirmed enforced late changes to the rugby sevens squad to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Cheslin Kolbe, the Western Province and Stormers speedster, has been withdrawn by Western Province due to a knee injury.
Warrick Gelant was due to replace Kolbe but was injured at the weekend and will undergo surgery this week. This sees Mark Richards, a member of the gold-medalling SA sevens team at the World Games in Colombia last year, coming in as a late replacement.
The governing body of the English Premiership has prevented Schalk Brits from representing the South African Sevens team at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland later this month.
Brits’ club Saracens were happy for him play in the event, but the final say lies with the governing body of the English Premiership.
Stuart Hogg has been named in the Scotland 7′s squad to compete at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Ibrox Stadium, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July).
Scottish Rugby and Commonwealth Games Scotland can confirm Scotland’s 24 times capped full-back and British & Irish Lion will replace Tommy Seymour. Seymour sustained a neck injury during the Scotland summer tour that will rule him out of the Games, however he will return to the care of Glasgow Warriors to recover and prepare for the new season.
The Springbok Sevens team’s hopes of winning a medal at the Commonwealth Sevens could well have been given a blow if indications that Springbok fifteens stars Bryan Habana and Schalk Brits may have to be forced to withdraw by their respective leagues.
While both Brits’ Saracens club and Habana’s Toulon club have given them the go-ahead to be selected for the Games, it seems now that the Premiership and Top14 may well order both to withdraw as the Games falls within the prescribed off period for European rugby.
As both leagues stipulate a strict four week rest period for players during the off season, it is unlikely they will change their minds and Blitzbok coach Neil Powell may well be forced to look elsewhere to bolster his team.
Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell expressed his satisfaction following the successful defence by his team of the Roma Sevens tournament in Rome, Italy over the weekend.
The South Africans won the tournament in convincing fashion to retain the title they won as part of their 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens preparations last year.
Participation this time around was in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games in Scotland next month.
Wallaby Liam Gill and Rebels flank Sean McMahon are all but certain starters for the Australian Sevens side in next month’s Commonwealth Games.
Provided the pair get through this weekend’s Super Rugby fixtures unscathed, they will be released to join the Australian Sevens camp next week and be included in new coach Geraint John’s final squad of 12 for Glasgow to be named on 7 July.
Reds openside flank Gill won a Sevens silver medal with Australia at the 2010 Delhi Games, while blindside flanker McMahon played his last Sevens tournament as recently as late last year in Dubai.
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.
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.
One of Scottish Rugby’s most capped backs will return to the Scotland 7′s squad, where his international career started, at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (Ibrox Stadium, 26-27 July).
Glasgow Warriors’ winger Sean Lamont who has won 86 caps for his country and who was in the 2002 Scotland 7′s Commonwealth Games squad in Manchester has been named in Stephen Gemmell’s 12-man squad for Glasgow 2014. Lamont won his last World Series cap at Murrayfield in 2009.
Gemmell has also completed a major coup by securing the services of Scotland and Glasgow Warriors winger, Tommy Seymour who has won eight Scotland caps, but has not yet been involved with Scotland 7s. His selection follows some impressive performances for club and country that display a pedigree for the abbreviated game.
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 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.
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.
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.