The Cape Town Sevens are done and dusted. England upset hosts South Africa in a magnificent final closing the gap on the Blitzboks in the leaderboard. Throughout the weekend, seven players stood out and made it into the World Rugby Sevens Series Dream Team:
The Dubai Sevens 2018 are done and dusted. For New Zealand's Sevens sides it was the perfect weekend as both, the men's and women's, start the new season in a winning fashion. But there is much more we can take away from the last few days. Here are five things that stood out.
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Pic: World Rugby
Hosts South Africa, Fiji, New Zealand and Scotland stayed unbeaten to top their respective pools at the end of day one at the second round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Cape Town.
The Cup quarter-finals sees defending champions South Africa take on Wales, Scotland come face to face with the USA, Fiji meet England and the All Blacks will play Kenya.
After last week’s Dubai Sevens, the Blitzboks will be looking to defend their HSBC Cape Town Sevens title on day two and increase their lead at the top of the series standings after the opening two rounds.
History was made today when speedster Dan Norton became England's top scorer and powerhouse James Rodwell the countries most capped player.
First Rodwell became the most-capped England sevens player with a 71st tournament appearance before Norton scored his 220th, 221st and 22nd tries to become the all-time leading try scorer for England.
Taking over from Ben Gollings (220), Norton also moved into third on the all-time list behind Collins Injera (235) and Santiago Gomez Cora (230). England opened with a 33-10 win over Canada before Norton scored a brace in their 19-14 win over Argentina.
After a disappointing start to the new season in Dubai, New Zealand looked an improved side today, beating Argentina 26-12 before Canada came from 14-0 behind to draw 19-19 against the All Blacks Sevens. However, a 33-7 win against England in the final pool match secured the top position for New Zealand after day one.
Tomorrow the Cape Town Sevens continue at 10:36am local time.
12:04 | South Africa v Wales
12:26 | New Zealand v Kenya
12:48 | Scotland v USA
13:10 | Fiji v England
Cape Town Sevens | Results Day 1
Cape Town Sevens | Fixtures Day 2
He has done it! England’s star winger Dan Norton became the world’s all-time top try-scorer in Hong Kong after day one. Norton has no scored 245 tries, one more than Kenya’s Collins Injera.
Speaking of breaking the record, Norton said: "It was a nice feeling. The hardest thing was trying to control my brain this week and concentrate on the process that got me here in the first place. It was always nice to get it out of the way.
"There's a lot more to come but obviously Collins (Injera) is still out there playing so now it's about doing as well as we can for our country and win as many tournaments as we can."
Dan Norton’s was one of many records at a remarkable day in Hong Kong. England’s captain Tom Mitchell claimed his 100th series try, while Australia's Ed Jenkins, Canada's Nathan Hirayama and South Africa's Cecil Afrika all appeared in their 50th tournament.
The three-day competition kicked-off with the match between Australia and Samoa which Australia could win 22-19 while England beat South Korea 52-0. In Pool B, Canada overcame Kenya in a tight, physical affair 17-14 while series leaders South Africa took on France, a game which the Blitzboks won 17-10.
In Pool C, New Zealand had to start the tournament without captain Scott Curry, who pulled out due to illness. However, the All Blacks Sevens team under replacement skipper DJ Forbes still managed to snatch a 19-7 win over Wales on Day 1. In the group of death, Fiji defeated Japan 36-0.
Finally, in Pool D Argentina won 22-14 against Scotland, while the USA beat Russia 14-7 in another close encounter.
The action continues on Saturday when the final qualifier pool games kick-off the action at 09:00 (GMT +7), before the series resumes in front of a sold-out crowd in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Sevens | Results Day 1
Hong Kong Sevens | Fixtures Day 2
Text, Picture and Video: World Rugby
England had to settle for second place in Pool D after losing to Australia in an enthralling decider in the final match of day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 opening round in Dubai on Friday, but nothing could take away from Dan Norton's moment of history.
With just eight pool matches played in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on day one, it was Dan Norton who grabbed the headlines as he surpassed Collins Injera to become the new all-time leading sevens series try-scorer in Hong Kong.
Australia qualified for the Cup quarter-finals of the HSBC Sydney Sevens after a sunny first day of action, while England, Wales and New Zealand stayed unbeaten in the pool stage.
The Australians will face Wales in just their second Cup quarter-final of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17. Wales topped their pool after a magnificent win against Fiji, thanks to a hat-trick from Morgan Williams.
England recovered well from last week’s disappointing performance. Three out of three wins, including one over series leaders South Africa and with Dan Norton becoming the second highest try scorer of all-time, England created a dream start to the tournament. They will face Argentina in the Cup quarter-finals on day two of the men's event.
New Zealand will play Fiji after they managed three victories against Scotland, Papua New Guinea and hosts Australia. USA will challenge South Africa in the Cup quarter-finals. The Americans lost to Russia in the opening game but won the remaining matches against Canada and Argentina.
Meanwhile, Kenya will play Russia, Scotland face Samoa, Canada meet Japan and France take on Papua New Guinea in the Challenge Trophy quarter-finals on Sunday.
ENGLAND v ARGENTINA
NEW ZEALAND v FIJI
USA v SOUTH AFRICA
WALES v AUSTRALIA
While the men’s tournament continues on Sunday, the women’s competition finished with a breath taking final and a number of great surprises. Olympic Bronze winners Canada beat rivals USA 21-17 to claim their third tournament win, in front of a packed house at the Allianz Stadium.
After a disappointing performance in Dubai, USA shocked New Zealand to reach the final, while Canada overcame top-favourites Australia 12-7 in the second semi-final of the day.
Meanwhile, on a day of shock results, Brazil beat England 17-12 to claim the Challenge Trophy as New Zealand went on to beat their rivals Australia to claim the bronze medal on Saturday.
In the overall standings, New Zealand is now, with 36 points, four points ahead of Australia (32) followed by Canada (30 pts) and Fiji (24 pts). Click here for the full standings.
Cup Final | USA 17 - 21 CAN
Bronze Final | NZL 19 - 0 AUS
Challenge Trophy | ENG 12 -17 BRA
Sydney Sevens Men's | Results Day 1
Sydney Sevens Men's | Fixtures Day 2
Sydney Sevens Women's | Results Day 2
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With the HSBC 7's world series set to kick-off once again in Las Vegas over the weekend, the question on everyone's mind is can South Africa's Blitzbokkes be stopped?
Sevens is a simple game –seven minutes a half and seven players a side on one full-size rugby pitch. The game is praised and loved for its unpredictability and uncompromising high paced action. Anything can happen at any time.
However, as 7s fans around the globe are looking forward to another back-to-back weekend of action in Las Vegas and a week later in Vancouver, the World Sevens Series leaders South Africa seem have certainly dominated this season thus far with three titles from four rounds.
While South Africa’s 15-a-side team currently faces a bit of a crisis, the 7s squad is on track to win their second title after 2009. A series win would follow a frustrating run of finishing as runners up on multiple occasions. It has been a tough record for Neil Powell's men as they look to claim a long overdue title.
However, there are still a lot of matches to be played this season so the question is who can stop South Africa during the remaining six rounds. Their lead in the overall standings shows that it is going to be a massive task for any team to get in their way. South Africa leads the table with 85 points and has a comfortable 17 points lead ahead of second placed team England. Olympic Champions Fiji and New Zealand are currently sitting in third and fourth position respectively.
But with Fiji and New Zealand, both going through a bit of a restructure since the two Southern Hemisphere heavyweights appointed new coaches, it might take a while until they get back on the winning track.
England however have showed that they are capable of winning tournaments and even more important that they can beat the Blitzboks. Simon Amour’s side caused a massive upset earlier in the season when they beat the hosts in the final of the Cape Town Sevens.
England has developed into a top-class team following some disappointing seasons in recent years. The current squad is made up of up and coming young talents and very experience players. With Dan Norton aiming to become the All-Time try scorer and playmaker Tom Mitchell leading from the front, the team will remain a serious contender for at least a few more tournament wins, if not the big prize. Additionally, Team GB’s Olympic silver-medal win gave England a further confidence boost – and let’s not forget who they beat on their way to the final (yep, it was South Africa in the semi-final).
At the same time South Africa will play for the first time without their Superstar Seabelo Senatla in Las Vegas and it will be exciting to find out how they cope without him. The twenty-four-year old joined Super Rugby franchise the Stormers for the start of their new Super Rugby season.
Certainly this side has quality in all areas and it’s not just South Africa’s starting 7 which have looked so convincing thus far but also the bench which is unbelievably strong. The team has already scored a whopping 107 tries during the first four tournaments, which is fourteen more than closest rivals Fiji.
But Senatla is without a doubt the talisman for the Blitzboks. He scored the most points and tries for his team. Earlier this week, Senatla was nominated for the Springboks XV training squad, which just underlines his outstanding rugby skills. There is no doubt that he will leave a strong impression in the 15-a-side game as well.
With an England side that is hungry for their first-ever series win and a South African side that knows how to succeed but has to deal without their scoring machine, the next couple of weeks will be absolutely crucial in the race for the 17th World Sevens Series title.
2018 has been another phenomenal year for the game of 7s. The World Cup in San Fransisco broke many records on and off the field and just showed once more that the sport is heading in the right direction.
In addition, the World Rugby Sevens Series 2017/2018 has been one of the closest yet with an incredible finish and a promising 2019 on the horizon.
Following a thrilling start to the new World Sevens Series in Dubai last weekend, the teams are back in action just seven days later at the Cape Town Sevens.
The Cape Town Sevens take place at the Cape Town Stadium (Capacity 55,000) on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th of December.
The matches kick-off on Saturday at 10:15 local time (08:15 UK time) and Sunday 10:36 local time (08:30 UK time).
See the full day 1 fixture below.
In the UK Sky Sports will cover the tournament on all days. For a full TV guide click here, for any other country check out this handy guide.
Dubai Sevens winner South Africa and runners-up Fiji were the outstanding teams of the opening round. Especially South Africa seems to be in top form and with the home support this weekend, the Blitzboks might be off with the perfect start to the 2016/2017 season securing 2/2 wins.
England’s speedster Dan Norton leads the DHL Performance Tracker. The 28-year old impressed in Dubai last weekend and with the all-time top try scorer crown in prospect, the former Hartpury student will be keen to continue his strong start.
South Africa, Australia, USA, Russia
Fiji, France, Kenya, Japan
England, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada
Wales, Scotland, Samoa, Uganda
Saturday, December 10 (Kick-off is local time)
Scotland v Samoa – 10:15
Wales v Uganda – 10:37
New Zealand v Argentina – 10:59
England v Canada – 11:21
France v Kenya – 11:43
Fiji v Japan – 12:05
Australia v USA – 12:27
South Africa v Russia – 12:49
Scotland v Uganda – 13:36
Wales v Samoa – 13:58
New Zealand v Canada – 14:20
England v Argentina – 14:42
France v Japan – 15:04
Fiji v Kenya – 15:26
Australia v Russia – 15:48
South Africa v USA – 16:10
Samoa v Uganda – 16:57
Wales v Scotland – 17:19
Argentina v Canada – 17:41
England v New Zealand – 18:03
Kenya v Japan – 18:50
Fiji v France – 19:12
USA v Russia – 19:34
South Africa v Australia – 19:56
The HSBC Sevens Series welcomes the new year with the prestigious Wellington Sevens in New Zealand. Wellington used to be a sell-out event for years, but ticket sales have dropped a bit this year. However, the event organisers are confident that the tournament, staged at the impressive Westpac Stadium, won’t disappoint.
With World Series champions Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa all managed by new coaching set-ups, it will be interesting to see how those teams perform under new guidance. Papua New Guinea is the latest addition to the 16-squads tournament. The pacific island nation will replace Uganda, which participated at the first two stages in Dubai and South Africa.
The Wellington Sevens take place at the Westpac Stadium (Capacity 34,500) on Saturday 28thand Sunday 29th of January. The Westpac (also known as the Wellington Regional Stadium) hosted two quarterfinals during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and is the home of the Super Rugby franchise Hurricanes.
The matches kick-off on Saturday at 11:00 local time (22:00 UK time) and Sunday 11:00 local time (22:00 UK time).
See the full Day 1 fixture list below.
In the UK Sky Sports will cover the tournament on all days. For a full TV-guide click here, for any other country check out this handy guide.
After two rounds it’s currently a tight affair between South Africa and England who both won a tournament each. South Africa, two points ahead of England, only lost one match so far. Disappointingly, the only defeat the Blitzboks conceded was in the final of their home tournament in Cape Town last year. One team which certainly doesn’t want to disappoint anyone this weekend are hosts New Zealand. Under a new coaching setup, the Kiwis are ready to maintain their great home record. In the previous six years, New Zealand won the tournament five times.
So far, England’s Dan Norton has been the outstanding performer. The most tries, most tacklings and the most carries are all stats which the former Bristol-winger are leading. However, with New Zealand, being on home soil, expect the hosts to show off their skills. Tim Mikkelson, now entering his ninth year on the circuit, is still one of the very best and always a pleasure to watch.
England, Kenya, Argentina, Papua New Guinea
South Africa, Fiji, Australia, Japan
New Zealand, USA, France, Samoa
Scotland, Wales, Russia, Canada
Saturday, January 28 (Kick-off is local time)
Wales v Russia, 11.00
Scotland v Canada, 11.23
Fiji v Australia, 11.46
South Africa v Japan, 12.20
Kenya v Argentina, 12.32
England v Papua New Guinea, 12.55
USA v France, 13.19
New Zealand v Samoa, 13.41
Wales v Canada, 14.24
Scotland v Russia, 14.47
Fiji v Japan, 15.33
South Africa v Australia, 15.33
Kenya v Papua New Guinea, 15.56
England v Argentina, 16.19
USA v Samoa, 16.42
New Zealand v France, 17.16
Scotland v Wales, 17.26
Russia v Canada, 18.00
Scotland v Wales, 18.26
South Africa v Fiji, 19.18
Argentina v Papua New Guinea, 19.44
England v Kenya, 20.10
France v Canada, 20.36
New Zealand v USA, 21.13
A 19-17 win over South Africa in the final of the Cape Town Sevens, was just enough for England to win the tournament. With a last minute try by Werner Kok and a yellow card for Dan Norton the game was a close affair up to the end. However, a missed conversion by Justin Geduld eventually ensured the first Cup since Tokyo 2015. Richard de Carpentier and record breaker Dan Norton scored for England after Blitzbok Chris Dry took his team into an early lead.
England close the gap on series leaders South Africa, finishing the first two rounds on 39, two behind South Africa but ahead of Fiji (32), Scotland and New Zelaand (both 27).
England’s speedster Dan Norton surpassed Ben Gollings' record to become England Sevens' leading try-scorer. Norton scored twice against Canada on the opening day of the Cape Town Sevens which were his 221st and 222nd tries, two more than previous top-scorer Ben Golling.
In the all-time sevens series stats, the former Hartpury and Bristol Rugby winger sits behind Kenyan Collins Injera (235pts) and Santiago Gomez Cora from Argentina (230pts).
James Rodwell became England’s most capped player this weekend. The 32-year old earned his 71st tournament cap on day 1 of the Cape Town Sevens.
Last season he made history by playing in a record 69th consecutive World Rugby Sevens Series tournament - surpassing South African Frankie Horne’s record of 68.
#CapeTown7s | Historic moment during this morning's match against Canada as @james_rodwell5 becomes #England7s' most capped player of all time ?? #rugby #rugbygram @capetown7s A photo posted by England Rugby (@englandrugby) on Dec 10, 2016 at 1:59am PST
#CapeTown7s | Historic moment during this morning's match against Canada as @james_rodwell5 becomes #England7s' most capped player of all time ?? #rugby #rugbygram @capetown7s
A photo posted by England Rugby (@englandrugby) on Dec 10, 2016 at 1:59am PST
Rodwell broke the previous record of England Sevens legend Ben Gollings who finished his career on 70 tournament caps. The forward said: "It is pretty surreal that I’m still playing and have overtaken him.
Since Ben Ryan quit his job as Fijian head coach, the Englishman is regularly linked to other exciting roles in 7s as well as 15s. Ryan’s latest potential career move might be a position with the British and Irish Lions, as the Telegraph reported this week. Lions coach Warren Gatland introduced Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley as part of the coaching team for next year’s tour to New Zealand. However, Gatland might add another candidate to strengthen the backroom staff. Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend has been linked as the first choice backs coach, but since the perspective Scotland coach ruled himself out it might be Ben Ryan who joins the tourists.
Springbok and Toulon star Bryan Habana spoke in an interview with CNN about his recent Sevens experience. The record try scorer has been left out from the Olympic squad this summer and is now focussing on is 15s career again.
He told CNN: "My respect for sevens and for the individuals involved grew astronomically, given the way they train, the time they put in to being able to develop the game". The 33-year old mentioned how amazed he is by the growth of the game: "I think sevens is just so much different to the 15-man game... so much can happen within a 14-minute period. I think the popularity of it really has grown"
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