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.
Sonny Bill Williams has been given a May deadline to confirm his availability for New Zealand’s Sevens team that will compete at the Olympic Games next year.
Williams, who is currently preparing for another boxing bout, is one of several high-profile All Blacks on the wishlist of NZ Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens.
The others are brothers Julian and Ardie Savea, Liam Messam, Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Hosea Gear and Victor Vito.
Of that group, only Williams has no previous Sevens experience.
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.
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.
Singapore 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.
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.
The 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:
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.
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.
Any 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.
It 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.”
Scotland 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.
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.
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: