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HSBC Sevens 2022 Series

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed 13 Oct 2021, 5:07 pm

First topic message reminder :

The season's schedule has been announced. This won't be at all confusing:

Great Britain will compete in the opening two rounds of the Series in Dubai, as part of the standing agreement to play the calendar year 2021, before reverting to compete as national unions for the remainder of the 2022 Series, with England, Scotland and Wales participating in the men’s Series and England in the women’s series.

There'll be four legs in Europe, with Malaga & Seville added to the usual French & English rounds. There was talk of skipping Hong Kong because of China's crackdown but it appears to be back in the schedule.

https://www.world.rugby/sevens-series/news/667216?lang=en

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 22 May 2022, 2:12 am

Ireland beat Argentina, and Samoa beat England, so the two teams involved in that pool match stand-off both failed to make the semi-finals.

France beat Australia, and it's hard to recall the last time we had a pair of sevens semi-finals with no SANZAR side (or SANZAAR, for that matter). The last quarter final saw Fiji edge out USA. The draw pits Ireland against France, and Fiji against Samoa.

Although England only lost narrowly to Samoa, who have been on form this weekend, the alarm bells are still ringing for our sevens set-up. If this was the Mens XVs, or even the Womens XVs, pundits would be tearing their hair out.

Some of our players look like they have good individual skills, and a couple regularly show they have good sevens nous. However, we aren't really functioning as a unit, and it's hard to know whether we have the wherewithal to develop that cohesion. The jury is still out on coach Tony Roques, partly because of our performance but mainly because there's no media coverage of sevens, which means there's no way to find out what he's thinking. For me, he got selection wrong at the Olympics, so I need persuading that he's the right man for the job.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 22 May 2022, 10:34 am

That two-minute try is getting a lot of coverage.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/61540417

Former referee Nigel Owens said it was "against the spirit of the game".

"When I was refereeing on the WR 7s circuit we would tell the player to ground the ball in this situation. I'm amazed the referee hasn't told him too," added Owens.

Owens hasn't been on the sevens circuit in an age, so he's not an authoritative source on refereeing practices in the shorter code.

It is extremely common for a try scorer to hold the ball, and only ground it when an opposition player approaches. It helps the try scorer get his breath back for the next set, and forces the opposition to make an effort to track back, to stop the clock running down.

This situation was peculiar for a number of reasons. England had shipped points all match, and this was the first score. While it restored the points difference England needed, Argentina had looked more likely to score again, so Homer decided to eat up the clock a bit, to give them less chance to do so.

What he hadn't banked on, was that Argentina had been a man down all match, and were totally exhausted. From their perspective, if England were in no hurry to play, that was OK, as their biggest concern was that England could take advantage of their fatigue, and score enough to knock them out of a quarter-final place.

Argentina also didn't fancy going flat-out for two more minutes, when they faced a quarter-final later that day.


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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 22 May 2022, 1:35 pm

Ireland have turned over France in Toulouse, and now have a shot at the title!

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 22 May 2022, 2:16 pm

Ireland will play Fiji in the final.

It's a real pleasure watching Ireland lately, And, for that matter, France. Even when both teams slip up, you can see what they are trying to do.

England and Argentina will play again for 5th place. After yesterday's shenanigans, the crowd might be in booing mode.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 22 May 2022, 3:22 pm

Kaleem Barreto of Scotland just gave one of the best try-scoring passes I've ever seen. He was falling forward in the tackle, and somehow managed to flick it backwards from his right hand, to a rampaging Jamie Farndale.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 23 May 2022, 12:48 am

In the end, a bridge too far for the Irish, as Fiji came out 29-17 winners. Fiji also put away a good Samoan team in the sem-finals. Fijian defence has been a notable standout lately, and that appears to be an area Ben Gollings has worked on.

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Post by Irish Londoner Mon 23 May 2022, 10:28 am

Rugby Fan wrote:That two-minute try is getting a lot of coverage.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/61540417

Former referee Nigel Owens said it was "against the spirit of the game".

"When I was refereeing on the WR 7s circuit we would tell the player to ground the ball in this situation. I'm amazed the referee hasn't told him too," added Owens.

Owens hasn't been on the sevens circuit in an age, so he's not an authoritative source on refereeing practices in the shorter code.

It is extremely common for a try scorer to hold the ball, and only ground it when an opposition player approaches. It helps the try scorer get his breath back for the next set, and forces the opposition to make an effort to track back, to stop the clock running down.

This situation was peculiar for a number of reasons. England had shipped points all match, and this was the first score. While it restored the points difference England needed, Argentina had looked more likely to score again, so Homer decided to eat up the clock a bit, to give them less chance to do so.

What he hadn't banked on, was that Argentina had been a man down all match, and were totally exhausted. From their perspective, if England were in no hurry to play, that was OK, as their biggest concern was that England could take advantage of their fatigue, and score enough to knock them out of a quarter-final place.

Argentina also didn't fancy going flat-out for two more minutes, when they faced a quarter-final later that day.


One of those things that is perfectly legal but is an awful look for the game as a sport. I'd imagine that WR will be bringing in a "you must place the ball within ten seconds of crossing the try line" rule.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 23 May 2022, 10:40 am

A player must play to the spirit of the game. I thought initially when I saw it that Argentina just hadn't seen what was happening but after about 5 seconds the ref needs to tell him to ground it surely.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat 28 May 2022, 11:11 am

The London Sevens is currently underway. The First Day is live on YouTube, so you can scroll back and see the previous matches. The opening game, NZ vs Australia is a good demonstration of the cut and thrust of sevens. It starts about fifteen minutes into the bradcast. Ireland's match against Kenya is also well worth a look.

It's 11:08am in London now, and the sixth match between Fiji and Wales is on. England are up next, against Scotland!


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Post by Duty281 Sat 28 May 2022, 11:31 am

England's chances would probably be improved if they hadn't smeared their hands with butter before the game started.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat 28 May 2022, 12:07 pm

Scotland had three tough calls against them at key moments against England.

That first half showed the full array of England deficiencies. The Tiwickenham crowd seemed stunned, which suggests they haven't been watching the squad since the sevens programme was resurrected by the RFU. Mitchell, Bibby and Dan Norton are long gone.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat 28 May 2022, 1:36 pm

Ireland vs South Africa is a thriller again

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat 28 May 2022, 3:00 pm

Samoa vs Scotland looking interesting...

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Post by Collapse2005 Sun 29 May 2022, 7:55 am

Rugby Fan wrote:Ireland vs South Africa is a thriller again

Was a good game but Ireland v Argentina was even better. Hopefully they beat NZ in the quarters at 11:30 today.

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Post by westisbest Sun 29 May 2022, 11:07 am

Tough game for Ireland against New Zealand coming up.

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Post by westisbest Sun 29 May 2022, 11:41 am

Ah. Could have won that towards the end. Disappointing.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sun 29 May 2022, 1:28 pm

Wales lost to Canada 21-22 in the 13th place play-off.

That's a big deal, as two teams will be relegated this year from the Men's Series. Going into London, the bottom four teams were:

Scotland - 37 points
Canada - 32 points
Wales - 31 points
Japan - 25 points

While a miracle finish in the final leg in Los Angeles in August, could save any of those sides, Japan look done, so it's probably a question of who joins them. At the moment, it looks like being Wales.

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 30 May 2022, 3:24 am

The final between New Zealand and Australia was as good as the opening match on Saturday, between the same two sides. This time Australia did the business.

Ireland finished 6th in the tournament, and are 5th in the overall standings. They are 8 points ahead of 6th placed USA, so have a good chance of securing that spot in Los Angeles in August.

If the sirens haven't been sounding so far over the state of Sevens in the three nations which make up Team GB, then this showing at Twickenham ought to have been a Code Red. I do wonder whether anyone is really taking note.

I can't find a single mention of the London Sevens on the main rugby pages of the BBC or Telegraph websites. This is a keynote international rugby event at Twickenham, the home of the RFU. Both covered events like the Varsity Match and Army vs Navy at the same venue.

England, Scotland and Wales all came close to combining, or just ditching their Sevens programmes. For all practical purposes, they actually did end them, before outside funding resurrected the Team GB Olympic effort, and all three decided to limp on.

Meanwhile, Ireland made a project out of Sevens and, after a few setbacks along the way, qualified for the World Series, where they have shown they are a team to be reckoned with. Ireland's 36-12 demolition of England at Twickenham was as clear an indication as you can get, of how the balance has shifted.

The Irish sevens effort hasn't been uncontroversial. The women's XV team will not be contesting the World Cup, and a lot of people put that down to having to fight on two fronts - XVs and Sevens - without sufficient resources.

Still, the Irish haven't been the ony side to show a marked improvement. This season, Argentina won a title, a silver a three bronzes. They are currently 3rd in the table, six points behind the leaders, which gives them a realistic chance of challenging to be overall series champions in August. The weekend was actually their worst result this season. If they had made the quarter-finals, then Argentina could have been going into the final round leading the competition.

France have also improved, though their best finish so far, has just been a bronze in Toulouse. The French women were second in their Sevens series, while Engand finished last in Toulouse, and 9th overall. While the Red Roses might be favourites for the World Cup, England ranked behind Russia in Womens Sevens.

The Spanish have also made a lively contribution to the Men's Sevens circuit. They usually don't make the Quarter finals but have claimed some decent scalps (USA in London), and often pushed leading teams close this season.

The three European teams - Ireland France and Spain - are significant, as they are Team GB's direct competition for an Olympic Sevens place.

You qualify for the Olympics Sevens by being the host; finishing in the top 4 in the designated World Sevens Series; winning one of 6 regional qualifying tournaments; or winning the final reparcharge round.

Team GB qualify through England and, for Rio, this meant automatic qualification by being  a Top 4 World Series finisher. For Tokyo, Team GB had to play the European qualifier, where we got the better of France and Ireland.

The next Olympics is in Paris, so France are automatic qualifiers. If it was held anywhere else, then Team GB would not take part in the Games. On current form, England are not a Top 4 finisher, and would struggle to win either the European qualifier, or reparchage.

As it is, our hopes are still in the balance, and may rest on whether Ireland are good enough to claim a Top 4 finish, so we don't have to face them in the Eurpean qualifier. Of course, Spain will still be there...

If rugby sevens currently has any meaning for England, Scotland and Wales, it is as a route to the Olympics. There seems to be no public awareness that this is in real jeopardy, and no discussion of whether this has any import.

It is quite possible that Wales will be relegated ths year, and both England and Scotland will be World Sevens series minnows next season. Wales are former Sevens World Cup champions, and Welshman Gareth Baber coached Fiji to a gold medal in Tokyo. Scotland invented the sport; Scotsman Clark Laidlaw coached New Zealand to a Sevens World Cup win, and still coaches them now. England are also former World Cup Sevens champions, and Olympic silver medallists. Old England sevens players are coaching Fiji, USA and Canada on the main circuit, while several others are contributing in other national rugby set-ups around the globe.

Scotland and Wales are not wealthy rugby unions. Neither, however, are Argentina, Spain or, for that matter, Australia. The RFU might point to the clubs as a problem, yet we managed to navigate that relationship before, and France looks like it is finding a way to do it today.

The RFU, WRU and SRU all seem to want to put negligible resources into Sevens, while maintaining the cachet of being leading members of the Sevens community. That has not been possible for some years now, and the chickens have come home to roost. It is frustrating that there is so little conversation about this state of affairs. The usual podcasts, which spent time last week expounding on the ethics of delaying touching the ball down, will continue to ignore what's actually happening in the shorter code.

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Post by Collapse2005 Mon 30 May 2022, 8:16 am

Argentina also have the 7s world player of the year I think. Interesting that GB earns their place through England. Strange system, also wasnt expecting them to be so easily beaten this year. I like the English 7s commentator he is very good. Rob Vickerman is his name.


Last edited by Collapse2005 on Mon 30 May 2022, 12:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by propdavid_london Mon 30 May 2022, 8:37 am

I wouldn't read too much into the England womens 7s performance at the moment.
A few of the more regular 7s players have shifted their attention to 15's for the upcoming WC. As soon as that it done they will move back to 7's.

RE: England Mens 7's - it appears 'from and outside perspective' that England have been on the decline for some time and the uncertainty over recent funding is probably the final nail.

I have no idea how much finding is required for the 7's to be successful! But seeing as all the Prem clubs are cutting players and reducing squads, grass roots level is suffering with numbers and financing, this just seems one area where the RFU feel they need to cut too! Hopefully its only temporary and when the coffers start to fill again the RFU will re-focus their attention on the 7's.

RFU basically need to pull their finger out and decide

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Post by Rugby Fan Mon 30 May 2022, 10:00 am

propdavid_london wrote:I wouldn't read too much into the England womens 7s performance at the moment.  
A few of the more regular 7s players have shifted their attention to 15's for the upcoming WC.  As soon as that it done they will move back to 7's.
 
It all went wrong 5 years ago. After a 2nd place finish in 2013, England Women started finishing 4th. In 2017, they finished 8th. Since then, we have been 8th, 6th, and 8th again. Sadly, finishing 9th this year is not an anomaly. For some reason, we are not able to find a balance between the two codes in the way France, NZ and Australia manage.

propdavid_london wrote:RFU basically need to pull their finger out and decide

That's really it, and your point about cutting funding is spot on. There were plenty of tributes to Dan Norton, when the all-time leading Sevens try scorer retired. There was no mention of how the players who had served England so well, for the best part of a decade, were left out of contract before the Tokyo Olympics. Men like Mitchell, Bibby, Rodwell and Norton won two World Cup silvers, one Olympic silver (with GB), and one Commonwealth silver.

In the 10 years from 2000-2010, with players like Ben Gollings, England were one of the few well-organized Sevens teams, and we regularly finished in the top 3. From 2010-20 (roughly speaking) other teams started to catch up, and we were part of a leading group which generally included Fiji, NZ, South Africa and Australia. As recently as 2017, we finished 2nd in the World Series.

Since then, we just used the same players, and became one of the oldest teams on the circuit, with next to no new blood. Now, there's fresh bunch who are mostly University prospects. It's not surprising that experienced players from the professional clubs would hesitate to take a Sevens contract because they saw how quickly the RFU dumped the programme before.

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