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Sevens

AustraliaAustralian 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.

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Seabelo Senatla

Seabelo Senatla

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.

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BlitzbokkeThe 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.

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Singapore National StadiumSingapore clinched a four-year deal to host a leg of the IRB Sevens World Series at its state-of-the-art new National Stadium, starting next year, a media report said.

The Straits Times said the Singapore Rugby Union signed a host union agreement with the International Rugby Board last week.

It will join Vancouver and Paris as new entrants to the nine-nation, eight-month global campaign, with Tokyo, Las Vegas and Glasgow making way, the report said, without naming a source.

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Kenya Sevens

Kenya Sevens

Initial Report:

Steroids have been found in supplements given to players on Kenya’s Sevens team, according to a report that calls for disciplinary proceedings against head coach Paul Treu and five members of his staff.

The report by a task force set up by the government to investigate allegations of doping in Kenyan sport says there are “strong suggestions” that Treu of South Africa and his assistants have violated anti-doping rules after introducing the supplements to players.

There was “a concoction they [the coaches] gave players to drink at the beginning and end of training,” Moni Wekesa, the Chairman of the task force that investigated, told The Associated Press on Monday.

The report says the Kenyan players would stop taking the supplement a few days before competing.

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HSBC Sevens World SeriesThe FIRST Event is the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014 / 2015 took place this weekend in the Gold Cost, Australia.

On the First Day, the traditionally BIG SIDES all progressed to the next Rounds of the Cup Competition.

Surprize results were Argentina beating England in the first game of the tournament, by 21 / 19, Wales beating Kenya in game 14 by 24 / 19 and scotland drawing with Portugal by 21 / 21 in game 23.

On Day 2 the tournament concluded, with Fiji taking the honours, beating Samoa in the Cup Final by 31 / 24.

 

Herewith the Results and Fixtures:

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Kenya Sevens

Money troubles – the Kenya Sevens team

Kenya has dropped ten players from their squad for the IRB world series opening tournament in Australia in a dispute with the national board over pay and contracts.

The players, including wingers Collins Injera and Horace Otieno and back-rower Biko Adema, were reportedly unhappy that the board had agreed to draw up performance-driven contracts without consulting them.

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Bernard Lapasset

IRB Chairman: Bernard Lapasset

The International Rugby Board have released a document detailing the necessary requirements for players to switch nationalities.

Players looking to represent another country will have to play in a minimum of four Sevens World Series legs for their conversion to be approved, along with adhering to other terms.

All players who apply this way will also have to take part in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

The document also states that players will not be able to revert to their former Union should their application to play for a second Union fall through.

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OlympicsAny 120kg prop hoping to disguise himself as a rugby sevens speedster in a bid to secure a switch of nationalities for the 15-man game should think again after the sport’s governing body said on Monday it will be alert to such underhand dealings.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) says it is confident it will sniff out any dubious attempts to use Olympic sevens qualification matches to secure a shift in nationalities for the 15-man game – and that their system has the full backing of the IOC.

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European SevensIt was a tight-knit England squad that landed the Cup at the European Sevens Grand Prix Series event in Manchester, according to a prolific Tom Bowen.

Bowen scored four tries across the weekend, including one in Sunday evening’s final, as England saw off a resilient French outfit to win 28-21.

They had to come from behind twice to beat France and lift the trophy, while Scotland and Portugal also took home silverware with the Plate and the Bowl respectively.

“We came here to win the tournament,” said Bowen. “There’s not many of us, so when you spend so much time together, especially on these tours, you become really good friends and it makes you perform better.

“I’m happy with my own personal performance. There are a few things I’ve got to work on but pleased with what I did in the final and what I did all tournament really.

“I managed to get a few tries so I’m happy enough with that.”

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sco7s_team_2_0Scotland 7’s will compete in the Manchester 7’s Cup quarter-finals today (Sunday 14 September), following two victories against Italy (24-19) and Georgia (45-0) yesterday.

The Scots will play Russia at 11.06am, at the AJ Bell Stadium, as they look to improve on their third place finish, in the last Rugby Europe tournament in Moscow back in June.

After the disappointment of a, 5-12 loss to Spain, the side grew in confidence and composure, as each of the remaining ties past.

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Brett Gosper

Man in charge: Brett Gosper

The IRB are looking to close the loophole which could see players switch nationalities according to chief executive Brett Gosper.

With rugby becoming an Olympic sport in 2016, a loophole was opened up for those players who had previously played international rugby for one country and wished to change allegiances in Sevens, which would then have carried over into the 15-man game.

Players with passports for another country and who hadn’t played international rugby in the previous 18 months, simply needed to take part in an Olympic Sevens tournament, including qualifiers, to become eligible for the XVs side of their new country.

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Israel Folau

Wanted man… Israel Folau playing against the All Blacks.

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.

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World Club 7'sJoaquin 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.

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New Zealand Sevens Captain DJ Forbes and Scott Curry.

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.

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ANOTHER BIG DREAM: Conrad Smith thinks many All Blacks would love the chance to compete at an Olympic Games.

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.

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BlitzbokkeThe 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.

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Sonny Bill Williams

STAR POWER: Players like Sonny Bill Williams could potentially turn out for the New Zealand Sevens team at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

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.

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New Zealand Sevens team

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: The New Zealand Sevens team trudges off the field at Ibrox Stadium are missing out on gold to South Africa.

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.

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Olympics 2016New ZealandAustraliaSeveral 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.

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Commonwealth Games 2014South AfricaThe 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:

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Sir Gordon Tietjens

Sir Gordon Tietjens is New Zealand’s legendary sevens coach with training techniques to scare the fittest players.

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.”

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Glasgow 2014Some 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.

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Glasgow 2014There 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.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana – On standby for Blitzbokke duty

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.

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BlitzbokkeSASCOC 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.

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Glasgow 2014Stuart 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.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

Schalk Brits

Schalk Brits

 

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.

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Neil Powell

Neil Powell

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.

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Sean McMahon

Sean McMahon

Australia

Liam Gill

Liam Gill

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.

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Brett Gosper

Brett Gosper

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.

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Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana

Schalk Brits

Schalk Brits

Cornal Hendricks

Cornal Hendricks

Cheslin Kolbe

Cheslin Kolbe

Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

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.

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Geraint John

Geraint John

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.

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Glasgow 2014ScotlandOne 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.

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