Fans in the proposed venue for the Olympic Games LA…
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series returns to Los Angeles for the second time in less than six months this weekend, from 25-26 February, as teams battle for Series glory and the coveted Olympic qualification.
With the 2023 Series shaping up to be the most competitive in history, the stakes are high as the top four women’s and men’s teams in the 2023 Series standings will qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Hosts France have already pre-qualified for the event in the nation’s capital.
The Men’s Series has seen nine different teams reach the Cup Semi-Final stage, with all nine nations medalling across the first five tournaments.
Five different teams have won gold (Australia, Samoa, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand), four have won silver (Fiji, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand twice) and four have won bronze (France, New Zealand, Fiji and USA twice).
It’s getting tight at the top
New Zealand currently leads the Series standings with 85 points, followed by South Africa at 76 points. Five nations (Samoa, France, Fiji, Argentina and USA) are separated by just two points between 68 and 66 in the race for the final two spots for Paris 2024.
The USA will be looking to capitalise on their home-field advantage and passionate fans as they continue their quest for Olympic qualification. The Americans won back-to-back cup titles in 2018 and 2019 in Las Vegas before the event moved back to California.
Currently, in seventh place on the Series standings, the Eagles have won two bronze medals this year in Cape Town and Hamilton and are just two points away from a tie for third place.
The men’s pool draw for Los Angeles sees Sydney champions New Zealand take their place in Pool A alongside Cape Town champions Samoa, hosts USA and invitational team Chile.
Dubai Sevens champions South Africa slotting into Pool B alongside Ireland, Uruguay, and Canada.
Fiji, the Sydney bronze medal winner, leads Pool C and will face off against Hong Kong champions Australia, Kenya, and Japan.
Pool D is comprised of France, who currently sit fourth in the Series standings, Great Britain, Hamilton champions Argentina and Spain.
The 15th-ranked team will be relegated to the 2024 Sevens Challenger Series, while the 12th through 14th-ranked teams will face off against the Sevens Challenger Series 2023 winner for the 12th and final position in the 2024 Series.
The competition begins on Saturday at 09:15 local time (GMT-8) with Great Britain taking on Argentina, and the final match of day one kicks off at 19:03 with South Africa facing off against Ireland. On finals day, the 9th place quarter-finals begin at 08:55, with the gold medal final scheduled for 17:28.
Where to Watch?
Rugby sevens fans around the world can watch the action via live stream on World Rugby digital platforms, including www.world.rugby, YouTube, and Facebook in countries where there is no national broadcaster covering the event.
This tournament serves as a precursor to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, which will mark rugby sevens’ fourth appearance at the Games since its debut at the Rio 2016 Games.