HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

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HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 12:48 am

The men's tournament kicks off this weekend in Dubai. This one is key for Olympic qualification in Tokyo, as only the top four teams will be guaranteed automatic qualification. Four years ago, that was Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand and England (i.e. GB). Last year, Australia claimed fourth, with England a point behind in fifth. It will be a major surprise if the other three don't finish in the top 4, so the main fight is likely to be for that final place, with Australia, USA, Argentina, Kenya and Canada among the challengers to keep Team GB out.

There was talk after Rio of combining Wales, Scotland and England into Team GB for the overall Sevens series but that didn't really go anywhere.

England are without one of last season's best players, Ruaridh McConnochie, who signed a contract with Bath. Simon Amor has said the squad is slightly smaller this year but is optimistic about quality. He's got two school players who couldn't get academy contracts, which gives you some idea of how things work in the short code. It's crazy that we have no access to promising academy players.

We've lost Tony Roques from the coaching squad, so James Rodwell and Charlie Hayter have stepped into player-coach roles, with responsibility for coaching Women Sevens too, now that the England Mens and Womens programmes have been combined (the Womens Sevens also has a round in Dubai. It has kicked off already, with England going unbeaten on the first day, managing a surprise win over Australia, and a last-gasp victory over USA)

Simon Amor has said this is the most competitive year for Sevens, with qualification at stake. In the season just before the Olympics, teams tend to switch things around, to try different tactics, or look to keep players fresh.

England's pool in Dubai includes Australia, Canada and Japan, so that's a good chance to measure ourselves, and try to get an early advantage in the qualification race. Wales are in a pool with New Zealand, Spain and USA, while Scotland match up against Fiji, France and Kenya.


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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Cyril on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 1:02 am

Do Ireland not have a 7s side?

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 5:22 am

Cyril wrote:Do Ireland not have a 7s side?
Yes, but they haven't yet qualified for the HSBC series. They do have a team in the women's series, however, which made the quarter finals yesterday, and is die to face Canada.

Ireland Men can still qualify for the Olymics by winning the European play-off round. You don't have to be in the HSBC series to qualify.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 12:53 pm

Dan Norton became the first player on the Sevens series to score 300 tries.

https://twitter.com/WorldRugby7s/status/1068469093030862848

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 01 Dec 2018, 3:59 pm

An enjoyable round. The top two finishers from last season, South Africa and Fiji, both went out in the quarter finals, which opened things up.

England lost to Australia in the pool stage, largely because we picked up three yelllow cards, which meant playing almost half the match a man down. That put us against South Africa, and we dominated, scoring four unanswered tries.

Sadly, we then went down to New Zealand in a tight match. England had a lot of possession but were kept out in a phenomenal defensive effort, when you thought we were bound to work a winning score.

South Africa ended up meeting Fiji in the 5th/6th play-off which was quite a match. Fiji levelled it in front of the posts with the last play of regular time but one of their new players sliced the conversion horribly. We were deep into extra time when Fiji finally found the winning try.

England faced Australia in the 3rd/4th match. Their livewire, Maurice Longbottom, is finally realising his potential in the short code, which makes them a difficult opponent. However, this time we kept seven men on the pitch throughout the game and clinched 3rd place with a last-play try.

USA met New Zealand in the final. The Kiwis had been pushed hard by England, so probably carried more fatigue into the match. They also had more players unavailable for the starting line-up.

It was New Zealand, though, which led 7-0 at half time. A high tackle yellow card let USA back in with a try but the Americans wasted their pressure. First , they gave up possession and a try, then, they got penalised for having eight players on the field, which allowed New Zealand to control the end of the game. USA took some risks but just gave up another try, to go down 21-5.

Trivia time: the winner of the opening round in Dubai has gone on to win the overall title for the last five seasons.

One noteworthy feature: after the Autumn internationals, officiating in sevens is a rude awakening. There is zero tolerance for high shots, and yellow cards were frequently shown.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 02 Dec 2018, 1:23 am



Some highlights from the knock-out stages.

Incidentally, it seems a Scottish player had a Freddie Burns moment.

Scotland Sevens star Jamie Farndale has come up with some big plays over the years, but a massive blunder over the tryline cost his side victory against Fiji in Dubai.

With 15 seconds left on the clock and Scotland only two points behind, Farndale crossed the line to score what would have been the match-winning try against the defending Sevens Series champions.

He stepped past two Fijian defenders to get over the line, but the Scot seemed to want to get closer to the posts - in doing so, he ran over the dead-ball line before he could get the ball down. He then fell flat on his face in the process, adding insult to injury.

The referee ruled out the try and called time on the Pool B encounter to leave Scotland heartbroken, losing 21-19.

Many people felt sorry for the 24-year-old as it happened to be St Andrews Day - Scotland's national day.

Although New Zealand and USA were in the finals, only one of their players made the Dubai Dream Team:

Dan Norton (ENG)
Maurice Longbottom (AUS)
Andrew Knewstubb (NZ)
Tom Mitchell (ENG)
John Porch (AU)
Ethan Waddleton (ENG)
Marcos Moroni (ARG)

Dan Norton is probably there because of his record, although he didn't have a bad tournament. The others are on merit, and reflects the fact that Australia and England were probably the most consistently dangerous teams but both slipped up at one key moment in their respective semi-finals.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Taylorman on Sun 02 Dec 2018, 8:48 am

Thought Dan Norton should have done better out wide in the final play. Could have flipped the semi. Very strange team. One player from the entire final. Please.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 02 Dec 2018, 11:57 am

Taylorman wrote:Thought Dan Norton should have done better out wide in the final play. Could have flipped the semi. Very strange team. One player from the entire final. Please.
Not really. New Zealand, for instance, had a lot of injuries, so few of them had the chance to stand out across the tournament.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Mon 03 Dec 2018, 3:51 pm

England will face Fiji, France and Kenya in Cape Town.

New Zealand have been drawn in the same pool as hosts South Africa, along with Samoa and Zimbabwe

USA have Argentina, Spain and Japan

Australia have Wales, Scotland and Canada

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 1:39 pm

England squad for Cape Town:

Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover, Charlton Kerr, Tom Mitchell (capt), Will Muir, Dan Norton, Ryan Olowofela, Ethan Waddleton.

13th man: James Rodwell

Injured Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Richard de Carpentier, who travelled to Dubai as the squad’s 13th man, will be replaced by Ryan Olowofela and James Rodwell respectively.

De Carpentier played last weekend after Lindsay-Hague had to drop out of the squad. He ended up taking a heavy knock, which required hospital treatment, so that might well be why Rodwell has been included as travelling reserve for this round.

Scotland are going with an unchanged squad.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by LeinsterFan4life on Thu 06 Dec 2018, 6:07 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:England squad for Cape Town:

Dan Bibby, Tom Bowen, Phil Burgess, Alex Davis, Mike Ellery, Harry Glover, Charlton Kerr, Tom Mitchell (capt), Will Muir, Dan Norton, Ryan Olowofela, Ethan Waddleton.

13th man: James Rodwell

Injured Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Richard de Carpentier, who travelled to Dubai as the squad’s 13th man, will be replaced by Ryan Olowofela and James Rodwell respectively.

De Carpentier played last weekend after Lindsay-Hague had to drop out of the squad. He ended up taking a heavy knock, which required hospital treatment, so that might well be why Rodwell has been included as travelling reserve for this round.

Scotland are going with an unchanged squad.
You really love your 7s, don't ya?

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 07 Dec 2018, 12:54 am

LeinsterFan4life wrote:You really love your 7s, don't ya?
Guilty as charged.

With rugby on a high in Ireland, I'm curious whether the Sevens circuit will get more press attention if the Irish can qualify as a core team for next season. The qualifying matches take place in Hong Kong next April. An Irish sevens side won the invitational event in Dubai at the weekend, beating a South African academy side in the final.

I know sevens isn't for everyone but I'm surprised more people don't at least keep an eye on it. With the glaring exception of England, it is used as a development stage for a lot of promising international players. Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane both featured for the All Black sevens, and I think as many as five Pumas in a recent Argentina Test had come through their sevens programme. Officials go between the two codes more often than players, so you can see some of their quirks more clearly too.

Sevens has one obvious marketing problem. Few people know what roles players have in a sevens team. We all have a rough idea what players do in the fifteen a side code but the out-and-out speedster is the only one people really identify with in sevens. You can't even tell from the number on a player's shirt whether he'll be packing down in a scrum or feeding it. That makes it harder to compare people, or think about what type of players your own team needs to improve.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 8:19 am

The squad lists for Cape Town detail how many rounds players have featured in - HSBC Sevens "caps" as you were. England has the most experience but we have the veteran James Rodwell as the travelling reserve. Just looking at starting squads puts USA out ahead (over 400) with England and South Africa together with around 330. Last week's winners NZ only have just over 100 appearances, and Australia have a similar number.

https://www.world.rugby/sevens-series/news/385609?lang=en

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 9:57 am

Everyone is slipping over in Cape Town, which makes the game a bit of a lottery. It's not raining but the surface must be wet. It's a real hazard in sevens, because player often make sharp changes in direction, as well as needing to accelerate and decelerate throughout the game. Players just keep losing their feet.

Scotland and England managed to get through their opening matches but Wales missed a real chance to upset Australia, and that was mostly down to the conditions. It seemed like every time Wales had the ball, they fell over.

Presumably, it will dry out over the weekend. The only different tactic you can employ when it's slippy, is to kick through, and make the defence turn, which increases the chance they'll fall over.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 11:39 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:You really love your 7s, don't ya?
Guilty as charged.

With rugby on a high in Ireland, I'm curious whether the Sevens circuit will get more press attention if the Irish can qualify as a core team for next season. The qualifying matches take place in Hong Kong next April. An Irish sevens side won the invitational event in Dubai at the weekend, beating a South African academy side in the final.

I know sevens isn't for everyone but I'm surprised more people don't at least keep an eye on it. With the glaring exception of England, it is used as a development stage for a lot of promising international players. Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane both featured for the All Black sevens, and I think as many as five Pumas in a recent Argentina Test had come through their sevens programme. Officials go between the two codes more often than players, so you can see some of their quirks more clearly too.

Sevens has one obvious marketing problem. Few people know what roles players have in a sevens team. We all have a rough idea what players do in the fifteen a side code but the out-and-out speedster is the only one people really identify with in sevens. You can't even tell from the number on a player's shirt whether he'll be packing down in a scrum or feeding it. That makes it harder to compare people, or think about what type of players your own team needs to improve.
Sevens is great and has been a fantastic tool to help spread the game in countries where rugby wasn't in any way popular. Watching Fiji in full flow is one of my favorite things to see and is truly one of the great joys in world rugby, they are the sole reason why I watch it.

Ireland's performances last year on the 7's circuit has caused quite a stir over here and their results including the one you have mentioned above have made headlines in Irish sport news sites such as the 42. I never in a million years would have predicted the results they achieved last year, given the lack of experience on the big stage the players had. I honestly thought they would be struggling against teams in the bottom half of the circuit but they showed they are ready for the big time. Hopefully this is the year they qualify.


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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 11:59 am

Scotland beat Wales 28-7 in the pool match. Scotland are probably the better side but Wales showed well against Australia, amidst all the slipping, and will be disappointed to have lost so easily.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 2:34 pm

Samoa just beat New Zealand in their pool match. It's the first time they have managed a win since Sir Gordon Tietjens - the old New Zealand coach - took over two years ago. That counts as a turn-up, even allowing for the relative lack of experience across this kiwi squad.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by westisbest on Sat 08 Dec 2018, 5:36 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:You really love your 7s, don't ya?
Guilty as charged.

With rugby on a high in Ireland, I'm curious whether the Sevens circuit will get more press attention if the Irish can qualify as a core team for next season. The qualifying matches take place in Hong Kong next April. An Irish sevens side won the invitational event in Dubai at the weekend, beating a South African academy side in the final.

I know sevens isn't for everyone but I'm surprised more people don't at least keep an eye on it. With the glaring exception of England, it is used as a development stage for a lot of promising international players. Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane both featured for the All Black sevens, and I think as many as five Pumas in a recent Argentina Test had come through their sevens programme. Officials go between the two codes more often than players, so you can see some of their quirks more clearly too.

Sevens has one obvious marketing problem. Few people know what roles players have in a sevens team. We all have a rough idea what players do in the fifteen a side code but the out-and-out speedster is the only one people really identify with in sevens. You can't even tell from the number on a player's shirt whether he'll be packing down in a scrum or feeding it. That makes it harder to compare people, or think about what type of players your own team needs to improve.

I love the 7’s to. Great entertainment.
Try and catch it when I can.
Have a soft spot for USA and Canada.

Just watched USA beat Argentina. Gone the day unbeaten.
Decent squad they have.
Isles and Baker have some serious pace.
I know 7’s is different to 15’s, but always wonder how those two would do in the 15 a side game.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan Yesterday at 1:25 am

I was worried the slippery surface would spoil the day as a spectacle but there was great action on the first day.

England and Scotland are both through to the quarter-finals, picking up a loss apiece in the pool stages. Both teams went well behind early, to Fiji and Australia respectively, before staging a late fightback. In England's case, we almost stole the game at the death with a succession of quick scores, but just fell short. Scotland let Australia get too far in front to haul them back in.

The big upset was Spain's convincing victory over Argentina which means the Pumas miss out on the quarter-finals.

There was almost another upset when Samoa beat New Zealand. If host team South Africa defeated New Zealand in the final match, then the kiwis would have missed out on the quarter finals. They needed two scores in the last 30 seconds to do it but somehow managed to do it. In the pool, that left South Africa, New Zealand and Samoa on two wins each but Samoa were cruelly consigned to third place on points difference.

Wales started brightly against Australia but couldn't turn it into a win. I'm often impressed by individual talent in Wales but there's little cohesion or consistency right now, and they lost all three pool games. They have to start beating some better ranked teams, or they'll be in danger of getting rinto a bottom of the table scrap. They ought to be too good for that to happen.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by westisbest Yesterday at 12:49 pm

Kenya have been disappointing

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan Yesterday at 2:44 pm

England and Scotland both lost their quarter final matches. Scotland gave South Africa a fright, and the match wasn't over until the last play. England had a couple of decisions go against them but ultimately, they lost through their own mistakes to the USA.

Scotland surprisingly lost to Spain, whio have been the surprsie package this weekend. England beat Australia, so will face Spain in the 5th/6th play-off.

Fiji have South Africa in the semis, while NZ face USA.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan Yesterday at 3:35 pm

Fiji were too stong for South Africa. One commentator called them "cynical", which I think is a bit much, since sevens encourages teams to test the boundaries almost more than 15s.

USA destroyed New Zealand, and it is looking like they will be contenders this year. That will make the fight for Olympic qualifying spots tighter than four years go. USA, England, NZ, South Africa, Fiji and Australia all look capable but, even if they are the only real contenders, two must miss out.

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan Yesterday at 11:24 pm

South Africa beat New Zealand in the bronze medal match, and Fiji beat USA in the final. That's the first time Fiji have won in Cape Town. England finished in 5th after beating Spain.

After two rounds, the standings are:

USA - 38pts
NZ - 37
Fiji -35
England - 30
---------------------
South Africa - 29
Australia - 25
Scotland - 20
Argentina - 18

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

Post by Rugby Fan Today at 1:40 pm



A good piece of play by Danny Barrett of the USA against New Zealand

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Re: HSBC Sevens 2018/2019

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