It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the Sevens scene as over the past two weekends both New Zealand and USA have staged events as part of the Sevens World Series. Now over half-way through the competition, it’s time to look back on the latest action and see how things are shaping up with only four rounds left to play.
Going into Round Four, held in New Zealand, it was all about the hosts as both reigning champions, current series leaders and overwhelming favourites. Things didn’t go quite according to plan though as in their pool match, New Zealand were defeated by a resurgant England side who claimed a 19-14 victory. Elsewhere, Kenya and Samoa were quietly disposing of every nation in their path, including victories over South Africa and Argentina respectively. The scene was set for England to face Samoa and Kenya to line up against New Zealand in the Cup Semi-Finals.
Kenya dished out the shock of the tournament by defeating the hosts 19-14 and setting up a mouth watering tie against England. What happened in the final will surely go down as one of the greatest Sevens spectacles ever seen as Kenya led 19-12 with only seconds remaining. A converted try saw the game end all square with England then scoring in sudden death extra time to seal a dramatic win.
Dusting themselves off and still playing for valuable tournament points, New Zealand defeated Samoa for third place whilst in the Plate Final, Australia defeated Scotland to record a 22-7 win. Rounding up the honours, Canada beat Fiji 28-19 in the Bowl Final and Wales ended a disappointing weekend on a high by claiming the Shield Final 17-15 against the USA.
With little time to recover, let alone celebrate, the next stop on the Sevens World Series came only a week later and involved all the glitz and glamour of being staged in Las Vegas, USA.
Once again it was New Zealand who showed their dominance and the reason why they are leading the competition. However, the pre-tournament favourites failed to live up to their billing and fell at the last hurdle as South Africa defeated them 40-21 in the Cup Final. This result not only lifted the Blitzbokke up to second in the series standings but also saw them claim their first title since 2011.
Elsewhere, Samoa claimed a deserved third place against Fiji whilst Canada went one step further than their previous Bowl win to this time claim the Plate Final against Scotland. Rounding up the proceedings and France defeated Argentina 17-12 in the Bowl Final whilst Australia swept aside Uruguay 41-0 in the Shield Final.
With the next stop on the Sevens World Series scheduled for Hong Kong in late March and then Japan the following week, the players now have time to fully recover and prepare themselves for the next round of action. New Zealand lead the way but South Africa and Samoa are still in with a shout and so the next two rounds will be make or break for the title contenders.
Even though the players are taking a break from all the non-stop action, you can still view of collection of Sevens rugby shirts to show support for your nation.