PREVIEW: Commonwealth Games Sevens
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: With its fast-paced, unpredictable nature, rugby sevens have always been exciting and after a four-year-long wait the Commonwealth Games will be another thrilling competition.
The event kicks off on July 29 to July 31 at Coventry Stadium in England.
Gold Coast 2018 gold medallists, New Zealand have been drawn in pool A of the men’s competition with the host nation and bronze medallists from your four years ago, England, were also drawn in the same pool.
Samoa and Sri Lanka have been drawn alongside these two teams to complete the line-up in group A.
Pool B of the men’s competition sees Scotland drawn against South Africa, Tonga and Malaysia and Pool C will see the Olympic Champions and silver medallists from Gold Coast, Fiji, taking on Canada, Wales and Zambia.
The final pool in the men’s competition includes Australia, Kenya, Uganda and Jamaica.
BlitzBoks coach Neil Powell reckons the Rugby Sevens at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham will require a different mindset because of the nature of the event.
“For us, it will be a challenge because you only get one opportunity as opposed to the World Series format, where you can rectify things the next weekend if things didn’t go well for you in a tournament,” explains Powell.
The BlitzBoks currently lead the race to the World Rugby Sevens Series title, with one tournament to go, at the end of August in Los Angeles.
According to Powell, the unique nature of the Commonwealth Games tournament, will require a different approach and mindset: “It’s all or nothing because there is no second chance [the following weekend].”
Commenting on the Pool, Powell said: “We start off with Malaysia and the important thing for us would be to get straight into our flow in that first game.
“Then we know Tonga will always be physical, and if we give them too much ball possession, they will make your pay for it.
“Scotland are a really good team. They managed to beat us the last time we met so we have to perform and hopefully do better against them. If we can manage to get out of our group then we cross pools [for the quarter-finals] with a group consisting of Fiji, Canada and Wales.”
All group matches and the men’s quarter-finals – between the top two teams from each pool – are scheduled for July 29 and 30, with semi-finals and medal matches to be played on Sunday, July 31.