Thu 20 Jan 2022 | 05:16

Sevens World Series, Spain

Sevens World Series, Spain
Thu 20 Jan 2022 | 05:16
Sevens World Series, Spain
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PREVIEW: The men’s and women’s captain’s soaked up the sun on Malagueta beach in Malaga on Wednesday, ahead of the landmark first Sevens World Series event ever to be hosted in Spain, which takes place from January 21 to 23 at the Estadio Ciudad de Malaga.

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South Africa’s men and Australia’s women will arrive in Spain in a confident mood at the top of the Series rankings following their comprehensive back-to-back victories in the first two rounds of the Series in Dubai in late 2021.

Australia women’s captain Demi Hayes said: “We got a lot of confidence coming out of Dubai but here in Spain is another tournament and a new place we have never played so we are really excited to go out there and showcase rugby sevens. Preparation has been good and we’ve had one focus to come here and take it game by game.”

South Africa men’s captain Siviwe Soyizwapi said: “It’s great to play in a new venue to mix it up a bit. Malaga is a great city by the beachfront to be in. We are here to do our job and execute to our best ability and we are really excited to get started again.”

England, Scotland and Wales men’s teams and England’s women will take to the field for the first time in the 2022 Series after reverting to play as separate home nations after having competed jointly as Great Britain during the Olympic year in 2021.

Meanwhile, invitational teams in the shape of Germany and Jamaica men and Belgium and Poland women will have the chance to shine at the highest level as teams from New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa were unfortunately unable to travel to Spain due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

Fiji’s men’s and women’s teams were unable to travel to Malaga and have not been replaced, meaning opponents in their respective group matches will receive three match points for a “bye” and a score of 0-0 will be recorded for those games.

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Play in Malaga will kick-off with a women’s Pool C encounter between Russia and Brazil, before Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists France take on England.

Hosts Spain will face Dubai winners Australia, Ireland and Belgium in Pool A.

In the absence of Fiji, Pool B will see the invitational team Poland face Canada and USA in the pool stage.

The men’s competition will commence after the first round of women’s pool play on day one with Pool D’s Kenya and Canada getting things underway. Completing the line-up in Pool D is France and Wales.

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In Pool A the Series leaders South Africa face England and Scotland, with Fiji missing out.

Pool B includes Germany, Australia, Ireland and Japan while hosts Spain will take on USA, Jamaica and Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Argentina in Pool C.

Day two of the tournament will commence with the last of the women’s pool matches.

The third and final day will feature the Cup finals for both the men’s and women’s tournaments to determine the winners of the inaugural Spain Sevens in Malaga, before the teams move across Spain to Seville for the fourth round of the Series on January 28 to 30.

Spain is a key emerging nation for rugby in both sevens and 15’s formats of the game. With both the men’s and women’s teams firmly established as core teams on the World Series, it is exciting to see top-level rugby sevens come to Spain as the sport continues to grow from strength to strength throughout the country.

Spain men’s captain Javier de Juan said: “It is incredible for us to play a great tournament like the World Series at home for the first time. For us, it is like a dream. Sevens is really dynamic and enjoyable to see and I hope the Spanish fans will enjoy it.”

Following outstanding men’s and women’s competitions at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July 2021, the Series continue to reach new fans. Independent research showed Rugby sevens’ second Olympic appearance to be hugely impactful for the sport in engaging and inspiring new, younger and more diverse fans across the globe, particularly in emerging rugby nations with 54 percent agreeing the Olympics increased their interest in the sport and 63 per cent watching sevens for the first time.

* To see the full schedule, click here for the MEN and WOMEN!

PV: 14
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