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World Rugby Sevens Series: Fiji go top with victory in penultimate round in London

An overview of all the action from the London round of the World Sevens Series

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Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Fiji went two points clear of USA at the summit of the World Rugby Sevens standings, after winning in London for the second consecutive year.

The 3-time sevens world champions dismantled Australia with a runaway 43-7 victory in the final at Twickenham.

USA overcame France 31-14 in the bronze final to remain in touching distance of Fiji heading into the final round in Paris on June 1st.

New Zealand and South Africa secured their top-four places and Olympic qualification, meaning they will join Fiji and the USA at Tokyo 2020.

New Zealand lost 19-14 to France in their cup quarter-final, but beat South Africa and Ireland to claim 5th place.

South Africa’s loss to the All Blacks condemned a disastrous second day; the ‘Blitzboks’ were beaten by Australia 29-22 in the cup quarter-finals before their failure in the 5th place semi-final.

The South African’s poor display offered England a slim chance of automatic Olympic qualification, but they were beaten 24-19 by Samoa in the challenge quarter-final.

A 40-21 victory against Spain in the 13th place semi-final gave the home crowd a brief lift, but a 29-14 loss to Japan in the final capped a disappointing showing.

There is the reprieve of a European qualifying tournament in July for England, which offers them a second chance of securing Great Britain a place at Tokyo 2020.

Wales edged closer to a top 14 finish in the series with a vital 17-0 victory over fellow relegation candidates Japan.

The team that finishes 15th – the lowest core team – will be relegated for 2019-20.

Richie Pugh’s side are currently 13th in the standings, and opened up a three point gap over nearest challengers Kenya.

“We’ve picked up the most points out of all the bottom three teams and the performances within those results have given us a lot to be please about,” Pugh said.

Elsewhere, Samoa beat Scotland 26-17 in the Challenge final to stay in touch with 5th placed Australia.

Scotland had overcame Kenya (29-21) and Wales (33-7) in the previous rounds.

Ireland arguably pulled off the shock of the tournament on first day, beating hosts England 21-17 in Pool C.

Ireland, who will become a core team next year, went on to reach the 5th place play-off, eventually losing to New Zealand 35-14.

The series now heads to the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris, with all attentions on the top of the table, as the USA will look to deny Fiji a third title in five years.

International

World Rugby confirm Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in South Africa

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World Rugby have confirmed that the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens will be held in South Africa.

The event will take place from 9-11 September and will mark the first time that it will be held in Africa.

The top eight men’s teams and top four women’s teams from the 2018 edition in San
Francisco has already secured automatic qualification for the tournament
in 2022.

Whilst this means the women’s team gain automatic qualification after their third-place finish, the men will have to go through regional tournaments to secure their place, with 16 places up for grabs.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted to announce the tournament dates for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 alongside the unveiling of a striking new brand that truly captures the unique, fun and carnival spirit of the tournament.

“This is an exciting time for rugby sevens with less than 70 days to go until the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo and now with Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 also on the horizon.

“South Africa has a rich history in hosting world-class international rugby sevens events, and we anticipate that Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 will once again raise the bar for this unique tournament and be like no other.”

Regional qualification is expected to start in August of this year with further details to be announced at a later stage.

World Rugby Chief Marketing Officer Marissa Pace added: “Our goal is to ignite Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 with a bold event mark, reflecting the fast pace and dynamic play of Sevens, but also the vibrancy of Cape Town and South Africa.

“With Table Mountain at the heart of the new logo, our team has also included elements within to represent both the event year and the iconic Cape Town Stadium.

“We look forward to watching the brand come to life via our partners and hosts South Africa Rugby.”

Source – Australia Rugby

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International

World Rugby Cancels Several Tournaments

World Rugby have announced the cancelation of a number of tournaments due to the coronavirus outbreak

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World Rugby have confirmed that several tournaments have been pushed back or cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus across the world.

Among the changes are Sevens tournaments, U20 World Cup campaigns and qualifying events for certain competitions. 

The worldwide rugby body released a statement earlier today outlining their plans for the foreseeable future. 

“After detailed and constructive dialogue with the respective host and participating unions, and with the wellbeing of the global rugby family at heart, the following events have been postponed:

  • The men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris will be postponed, provisionally until September;
  • The women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Langford has been postponed until later in the year;
  • The final men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event has been postponed until later in the year;
  • Some Rugby World Cup 2021 and 2023 regional qualifying events have been postponed;

In addition, the following event has been cancelled: The World Rugby U20 Championship 2020, scheduled to be hosted in northern Italy in late June and July, has been cancelled following detailed consultation with the Federazione Italiana Rugby. The Olympic Games Repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June is under review and World Rugby continues to be in close consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the implications for the qualification process in the event that the repechage is unable to be hosted due to the covid-19 outbreak. The World Rugby Hall of Fame, located in Rugby, will be closed until the end of May in line with public health authority directives,” the statement read. 

The pandemic is causing havoc among the rugby community with both the Irish and English Rugby Football Unions calling a close on their domestic competitions for this season bar the PRO14 and English Premiership, which remain under review. 

Elsewhere, the Six Nations was unable to be concluded in its normal time frame due to the postponement of fixtures, with further disruption expected among the international game. 

In other league news the French Top 14 has been suspended and Super Rugby has done the same, however, the Australian sides are set to play against one another over the coming weeks.  

The dates resumption of the current campaigns remain unknown with the pandemic stopping everything in and out of sport.

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Sevens

Ulster star added to Ireland 7s World Series squad.

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Anthony Eddy today announced his 13-player Ireland Men’s Sevens squad for the next HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series double-header in Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Ulster Academy scrum-half Graham Curtis has been included in the travelling squad for the first time, having featured for the Ireland Development side in Dubai in late 2019.

Otherwise, Eddy has been able to maintain consistency in his selection as Ireland bid to build on their seventh-place finish at the Sydney Sevens when the 2019/20 Men’s World Series resumes with back-to-back tournaments in America and Canada.

Ireland, once again captained by Billy Dardis, will depart Dublin today ahead of this weekend’s LA Sevens, which takes place at the Dignity Health Sports Park, the home of MLS side LA Galaxy.

While Foster Horan, named Intersport Elverys Players’ Player of the Tournament from Hamilton, is unavailable through injury, there is an experienced core to the Ireland squad, with the likes of Harry McNulty, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Greg O’Shea and Mark Roche all included.

Curtis, a former Ireland Under-19 international, joins Leinster Academy players Aaron O’Sullivan and Liam Turner in the 13, while Skerries RFC man Hugo Lennox and Jack Kelly complete the panel.

Drawn in Pool B, Eddy’s side will open their LA Sevens campaign against Canada on Saturday (kick-off 11.13am local time/7.13pm Irish time), before further pool clashes with Kenya (2.31pm local time/10.31pm Irish time) and the Blitzboks (7.05pm local time/3.05am Irish time) that day.

The knockout games and play-off matches will take place on Sunday and as the LA Sevens is a standalone Men’s event, the competition reverts back to the standard quarter-final format with the top two from each Pool advancing through.

After four legs of their debut season as a World Series core team, Ireland currently sit ninth on the overall standings and Eddy hopes his side can build further momentum over the next two tournaments in LA and then Vancouver.

“The group has prepared well for the LA and Vancouver legs and I think they are excited to get back to the old format of competition where they will play three games during the day,” he said.

“The turnaround from Sydney has been short but they are well rested and keen to show improvement from the last leg.”

You can follow all the build-up to the LA Sevens on IrishRugby.ie and on IRFU social media channels throughout the week, while the action will be live on Sky Sports and on the RTÉ Player to viewers in the Republic of Ireland.

Ireland Men’s Squad (Los Angeles 7s – Saturday, February 29-Sunday, March 1, Vancouver 7s — Saturday, March 7-Sunday March 8):

Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Adam Leavy (Lansdowne)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College)(captain)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College)
Graham Curtis (Malone/Ulster)*
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College).

*Denotes uncapped player

Los Angeles Sevens Ireland Men’s Match Schedule:

Pool B:
Saturday, February 29

Ireland v Canada, Dignity Health Sports Park, 11.13am local time/7.13pm Irish time
Ireland v Kenya, Dignity Health Sports Park, 2.31pm local time/10.31pm Irish time
Ireland v South Africa, Dignity Health Sports Park, 7.05pm local time/3.05am Irish time
Sunday, March 1

Play-Offs/Finals.

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