Sevens: HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 with South Africa and Australia the defending champions. World Rugby has announced for the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019. Sevens will travel to the third round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 at HSBC New Zealand Sevens.
The All Black Sevens are determined to leave their mark in Hamilton this weekend with talk the leg could alternate with Fiji from next year.Tim Mikkelson returns to side to lead them on his home track and he’s got revenge on his mind first game up
It’s the first time Mikkelson will face Japan since the Olympic upset and he doesn’t want a repeat performance.”Japan have got that flare, they off load, they cut, they grubber, they’re so unpredictable and that’s what makes them so good,” said Mikkelson.
Two changes have been made to the squad that competed in Cape Town in December with both Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Richard de Carpentier returning from injuries sustained in the opening World Series leg in Dubai.
Newcastle University’s Harry Glover will remain in the UK for this round to continue his studies while Mike Ellery misses out through injury.England Sevens’ most capped player James Rodwell – who equalled New Zealand’s DJ Forbes’ World Series appearance record of 89 in Cape Town – is named as Amor’s 13th man.
“We have an exciting squad for Hamilton with a real blend of experience and youth,” said Amor.“The likes of Will Muir, Ryan Olowofela and Charlton Kerr have performed excellently in training and across the opening legs of this season’s World Series, and this is really encouraging as we look to continue strengthening the depth of our squad.”
England will face Samoa, Tonga and USA in Pool B on day one of the tournament which will be hosted at the Waikato Stadium.A women’s invitational tournament will be integrated into the men’s World Series event in Hamilton in which England Women Sevens will compete against New Zealand, China and France in a round robin contest.
Amor added: “From the second you get off the plane in New Zealand you can feel the passion that the nation has for rugby, and especially rugby sevens. We can’t wait to get out and play on the big, fast, flat pitch at the Waikato Stadium which lends itself so well to sevens.
“To have both men’s and women’s tournaments running side by side is brilliant. As a union we’ve been working really hard over the past four months on the integration of our men’s and women’s programmes so it’s great to have the opportunity for both teams to play alongside each other in Hamilton and Sydney.”
“Mike has been a mainstay of the sevens team,” said Canadian head coach Damian McGrath.“To have his experience back [is good]. He brings that rugby IQ very few players have in the World Series.”
Islanders joining Fuailefau on the Canadian roster in New Zealand include fellow-SMUS graduate Luke McCloskey and Oak Bay High and James Bay-product Connor Braid, Pat Kay of Duncan, and Isaac Kaay from the University of Victoria Vikes.
Former UVic Vikes great Nathan Hirayama will captain Canada.With injuries to key players Harry Jones, Lucas Hammond and Admir Cejvanovic, the return of Fuailefau couldn’t be better timed.
Also returning, from an even longer-term injury, is Phil Berna of the UBC Thunderbirds, who has been out for over a year.“He’s an exciting player. I have high hopes for Phil but don’t want to put too much pressure on him because he’s been such a long time out,” said McGrath.
Among the players expected to fill in are two making their Canada debuts — Cole Davis from the Calgary Saints and Brock Webster from the Oshawa Vikings of Ontario.“Brock Webster has been outstanding since we brought him over to Langford in September,” said McGrath.
“I really feel I need to take him on one of these trips. And Cole Davis has XVs experience. He’s already got Test caps. He’s not predictable. He’s strong, quick and agile. I’m looking forward to him performing Down Under.”
The top-four teams in the 2019 World Series will advance directly to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.The Canadian squad, which missed two crucial months of pre-season training at Westhills Stadium in Langford due to a labour dispute between the players and Rugby Canada, is in 12th place after the first two of 10 World Series events held in Dubai and South Africa.
The Canada Sevens, which annually sells out the lower bowl of B.C. Place, is March 9-10.Meanwhile, the Canadian women’s sevens team, also based in Langford, flew out of YYJ on Thursday for the next World Series tournament Feb. 1-3 in Sydney, Australia. It is the third of sixth World Series tournaments, out of which the top-four nations will advance directly to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Canada, the 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist, is second in the standings after the first two World Series events.
Canada has been placed in a pool with Ireland, Fiji and Russia for the Sydney tournament. Joining captain Ghislaine Landry is Caroline Crossley of Victoria and a familiar cast that includes Britt Benn, Bianca Farella, Charity Williams and Kayla Moleschi.
“We have a belief in this squad that we can always be on the podium,” said Canadian head coach John Tait of Mill Bay.“This year, with the Olympic qualification process, we made the goal simple: We’ve got to be top four in every tournament.”The Canada Sevens, the fifth of sixth World Series tournaments, is May 11-12 at Westhills Stadium.