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Preview: New Zealand Sevens
via World Rugby
The world’s best men’s and women’s rugby sevens players will return to action in New Zealand for the first time in 1,091 days following a three-year absence as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 continues in Hamilton on 21-22 January.
The HSBC New Zealand Sevens is set to be a thrilling event, as both the Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens look to defend their titles won on home soil dating back to the last event held in 2020.
With the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification on the line this season for both men’s and women’s competitions, the action is sure to be fierce at FMG Stadium Waikato from the opening match on Saturday morning to the final whistle on Sunday evening.
The Men’s Competition
In the men’s competition, Samoa and South Africa are currently tied atop the standings, closely followed by New Zealand and USA. These teams will be looking to make a strong showing in Hamilton in order to solidify their position in the series and build toward Olympic qualification.
The men’s pool draw for Hamilton sees Cape Town champions Samoa take their place in Pool A alongside Olympic champions Fiji, France and Kenya. Hosts New Zealand slot into Pool B alongside Great Britain, Hong Kong winners Australia and invitational team Tonga.
Cape Town bronze medal winners USA lead Pool C and will face off against Uruguay, Ireland and Japan on day one. South Africa, Cup winners in Dubai in December, are joined by Argentina, Spain and Canada in Pool D.
The Women’s Competition
In the women’s competition, Hamilton marks the third stop on the 2023 Series with trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand tied at the top of the standings after winning titles in Dubai and Cape Town respectively. USA and France are leading the chase in the race for the top four.
Hosts New Zealand will face off against Great Britain, Fiji and invitational team Papua New Guinea in Pool A. Australia, who will be looking to build on their incredible momentum in 2022 in Hamilton ahead of their home tournament in Sydney from 27-29 January, headline Pool B alongside France, Canada and Japan. Pool C features USA, Ireland, Brazil and Spain.
The tournament will also feature the addition of a second playing field next to FMG Stadium Waikato to enable the full men’s and women’s draws to be played over two action-packed days. This will allow for even more exciting and competitive matches for fans to enjoy.
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. For those who want to attend in person, tickets can be purchased at www.sevens.co.nz.
In conclusion, the HSBC New Zealand Sevens is shaping up to be an exciting event with both the Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens looking to defend their titles and solidify their position in the series towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification. With the addition of a second field and the competition heating up, it’s sure to be a thrilling weekend of rugby sevens action.
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