Preview: Canada Sevens
WORLD SERIES ROUND SIX: All 16 core teams on the World Rugby Sevens Series have arrived in Vancouver this week ahead of the Canada Sevens on April 16-17 at BC Place stadium.
South Africa were winners in Vancouver last year and arrive in Canada as 2022 Series leaders with 98 points ahead of Australia and Argentina who are equal in second place on 83 points.
However the BlitzBoks were beaten quarterfinalists last weekend in Singapore, after their impressive 36 match winning run had come to an end at the hands of the USA during the pool phase.
“A week is a long time indeed – last week we enjoyed the humidity of Singapore, on Tuesday we had our training session while it was snowing here in Vancouver,” said Blitzboks captain Siviwe Soyizwapi Soyizwapi.
“Last week we started the tournament with a good streak, now we are on an unwanted streak. So, things could not be more different.”
One constant that remains though, is the willingness of each player to own up to their mistakes and there was plenty of that in Canada.
“Each player accepted his shortcomings from last weekend,” added Soyizwapi.
“We are all in agreement that we never really got going. And that it is now up to us as players to change that and rebound.
“We basically went back to zero and started building from there, not only physically, but mentally. We were in a downward spiral and just have to reverse that here in Canada.”
The fact that the players embrace their drive to be the best team they can be, makes such recoveries easy, according to Soyizwapi: “We know what our standards are and what we can achieve and that is a huge driving factor this weekend.
“The numbers are telling us that we were not good enough last weekend and that hurts. We will be back to our best.”
Meanwhile Olympic champions Fiji and Rugby World Cup Sevens winners New Zealand, who contested a thrilling gold medal match in Singapore, will be looking to continue their fine return to Series action after missing earlier events in the Series due to Covid-19 logistical challenges.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 14, 2022
Fiji captain Tevita Daugunu said: “We are hoping to maintain our standards from last week. Preparation is going really well so far, getting back to the training board, looking at our mistakes from last week and working on them ready to go in to the Vancouver tournament as a new look team. This Series is really special now, all the teams are competitive. Last week was a different ball game altogether and may the best team win this weekend.”
Fresh from their victory in Singapore, Fiji will face the USA, Kenya and England in pool A. New Zealand will be looking to repeat their gold medal success from the last time they competed in Vancouver in March 2020 and they take on Samoa, Wales and Japan in pool B.
Australia have reached the medal podium in three of the five rounds so far in the 2022 Series and will face stiff competition in pool C from Series leaders South Africa, who won the first four rounds of the Series prior to Singapore. Hosts Canada will be looking to draw inspiration from the home crowd support with Spain completing the pool C line-up.
Ireland were in impressive form to finish fourth in Singapore and they are drawn together with Argentina, France and Scotland in a what promises to be a very competitive pool D.
Canada captain Phil Berna said: “Coming home is always huge for us, it is the date that we have highlighted in our calendars and all the boys are really excited to play in front of a home crowd. We need their support and it helps so much, the energy of the crowd pumps the boys up and you get that extra energy, speed and fitness so hopefully the fans bring their enthusiasm and noise again.”
Saturday, April 16
(Kick-off is local time – GMT minus seven hours)
Argentina v France – 09.00
Ireland v Scotland – 09.22
Samoa v Wales – 09.44
New Zealand v Japan – 10.06
USA v Kenya – 10.31
Fiji v England – 10.53
South Africa v Spain – 11.15
Australia v Canada – 11.37
Argentina v Scotland 12.11
Ireland v France – 12.33
Samoa v Japan – 12.55
New Zealand v Wales – 13.17
USA v England – 13.42
Fiji v Kenya – 14.04
South Africa v Canada – 14.26
Australia v Spain – 14.48
France v Scotland – 15.22
Ireland v Argentina – 15.44
Wales v Japan – 16.06
New Zealand v Samoa – 16.28
Kenya v England – 17.07
Fiji v USA – 17.35
Spain v Canada – 18.05
Australia v South Africa – 18.33
@WorldRugby & SA Rugby