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- New Zealand defeated Argentina 19-17 to win second consecutive tournament and extend their lead at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 standings
- All Blacks Sevens officially qualify for Paris 2024
- Fiji claim the bronze medal in thrilling fashion over Samoa
- The most competitive men’s Series to date with Olympic qualification at stake for the top four teams has seen five different winners in the first nine rounds
- The 2023 Series continues in Toulouse on 12-14 May at HSBC France Sevens
The New Zealand All Blacks Sevens backed up victory in Hong Kong with their fourth tournament title of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 on Sunday to cap off a scintillating weekend at HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens and officially become the first men’s team to qualify for Paris 2024.
Brady Rush scored the game-winning try in the Cup final against Argentina as the All Blacks Sevens secured their first Series title in Singapore since 2005.
With the win, their lead at the top of the standings stretches to 24 points and, with a maximum of 42 points still up for grabs in Toulouse and London, it means the All Blacks Sevens could secure their 14th Series title dating back to the inaugural season in 1999-2000 if they reach the Cup final in France next month.
New Zealand All Blacks Sevens head coach Clark Laidlaw said: “It’s been a big two weeks with obviously Hong Kong last weekend, and to play the way that we did today makes me really happy and super proud.
Fiji recovered from going 19-7 behind to beat Samoa 24-19 and claim the bronze medal at the Singapore Sports Hub.
Samoa had beaten Fiji 28-7 on day one and looked set to win a first Series bronze medal final since Port Elizabeth in December 2013 as Vaa Apelu Maliko helped inspire his side into a 12-point lead.
However, tries from Iowane Teba and Joseva Talacolo levelled the scores before Tuna Tuitama received a late yellow card and Terio Tamani Veilawa took full advantage, scoring his second try of the match to confirm victory for Fiji.
The result maintains Fiji’s slim hopes of winning the overall Series title while Samoa – who have now lost 10 successive Series bronze medal finals – are one point and a place outside of the Olympic qualification spots.
Australia secured a 24-21 fifth-place play-off victory against Great Britain to ensure they occupy the fourth and final Olympic qualification place with two tournaments to play.
John Manenti’s side lost to Argentina in the Cup quarter-finals but recovered to beat Uruguay and set up an encounter with Great Britain, who gained revenge for defeat to France in the bronze medal final last weekend by beating Les Bleus Sevens in the fifth-place semi-final.
The 2023 Series is continuing to be the most competitive in history with the prize of Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification on offer for the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings. Hosts France men and women have pre-qualified for next summer’s pinnacle event in the nation’s capital, while New Zealand, USA and Australia women have also secured their spots.
The stakes couldn’t be higher at the bottom end of the men’s Series this season as well.
Following the penultimate event in Toulouse, the 15th ranked team will be relegated while the 12th through 14th ranked teams will face off against the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 winner for the 12th and final position on the 2024 Series at HSBC London Sevens.
As it stands, Japan (16 points) hold the lowest ranking among core teams, while Canada (24), Kenya (37), Spain (48) and Uruguay (40) will be fervently trying to accumulate points in Toulouse to avoid relegation and the playoff in London.
The men’s Series has seen five different winners (Australia, Samoa, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand) through the opening nine tournaments.
New Zealand, who won tournaments in Sydney, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore, currently sit atop the Series standings with 164 points, followed by Argentina (140), who won in Hamilton and Vancouver, closely trailed by Singapore bronze medalists Fiji with 130 points, Paris 2024 hosts France with 122 points, Australia with 112 points and Samoa with 111 points.
After Singapore, the men’s teams will now enjoy a short break before the action resumes with the men’s and women’s teams combined event at the HSBC France Sevens on 12-14 May at Stade Ernest-Wallon and the pools have been confirmed.
Series leaders New Zealand lead Pool A alongside Uruguay, Kenya and Canada, while Pool B features Argentina, Great Britain, Spain and the invitational side from Germany.
Defending HSBC France Sevens champions Fiji headline Pool C and will meet hosts France, South Africa and USA, and Pool D includes Samoa, Australia, Japan and Ireland.
In the women’s tournament in France, Series leaders New Zealand lead Pool A alongside Canada, USA and invitational side Poland, while Australia will face off against hosts France, Ireland and Brazil. Pool C sees Hong Kong bronze medal winners Great Britain with Fiji, Spain and Japan.
The women’s Series has seen six tournaments, with New Zealand sitting firmly on top of the standings with 118 points having won the last five tournaments in Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Vancouver and Hong Kong. Australia (102), the only other nation to have won a tournament in Dubai, sit 12 points ahead of USA at 90 points.
Just four points separate Ireland (64), Fiji (62) and Great Britain (60) in the race for the final Paris 2024 qualification spot to be decided at the Series finale in Toulouse 12-14 May.
Tickets for the HSBC France Sevens are available from: HSBC France Sevens – FFR – Accueil