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HSBC Sevens 2021 Series

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HSBC Sevens 2021 Series Empty HSBC Sevens 2021 Series

Post by Rugby Fan Tue 28 Sep 2021, 12:09 pm

There didn't seem much point following the 2021 HSBC Sevens Series as it happened. There were only two legs, played in Canada (Vancouver and Edmonton), rather than the usual ten. Also, Argentina, Australia, Fiji, France, Japan, New Zealand and Samoa did not send teams, because of COVID. While other sides were drafted in to make up the numbers, there were still only twelve in total, rather than the usual 16. The Womens series was harder hit, with only four teams taking part.

The Olympic Sevens overshadowed the series anyway, with a few key players deciding to retire after the Games. Consequently, some of the teams which did take part were decidely experimental. Only South Africa seemed to field the kind of mens team which they normally would, and they were comfortable winners of both rounds, and the series.

Still, there were some curiosities. Team GB featured in the series for the first time, instead of England, Scotland and Wales. Max McFarland of Scotland stood out for the men, while Jaz Joyce of Wales was a star for the women. GB women won their series, with good victories over USA, who were their only real competition.

The structure of the competition meant GB men somehow made the final in Edmonton despite losing a pool match against Germany, which counts as a highlight of German rugby. The Germans were a whisker away from beating Ireland too. GB also had a stroke of luck against USA, who missed a sitter of a conversion, right in front of the posts. It wasn't a hook, or a slice, but a bizarre underhit which fell under the bar.

Ireland will be disappointed with their two tournaments. The failure of the women to qualify for the next XVs World cup has led to soul-searching there. Some are arguing the IRFU put too much effort into Sevens, to the detriment of the womens XVs programme.

Sevens does throw up some quirks of law. I forget which match it was, but one side had a penalty after full time was up. The kicker went for touch, but the ball bounced infield, before going out. Everyone, including the commentators, assumed it was an astute move to get more distance on the kick. However, the referee blew the whistle for full-time, saying the lineout can only take place if the kick goes straight out. I did not know that.

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