Thu 14 Apr 2016 | 01:16

Preview: Singapore Sevens

Singapore: With The Media
Thu 14 Apr 2016 | 01:16
Preview: Singapore Sevens
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With the focus on the grand event becoming increasingly prominent as the series progresses, teams have three tournaments left to stake their claim before the curtains go up for the Rio showdown.

The reigning World Series champions, Fiji,  are eyeing back-to-back victories in Singapore and head coach Ben Ryan believes his charges will be the "team to beat" in at the Olympic Games.

"We wanted to go to the Olympics as number one seeds, and we're happy with that favourites tag," said Ryan.

"I know the history of Olympic team sports often means that the number one team in the world going into that Olympic sport often doesn't win, however,  we still think we're better off being number one than number two.

"We'll put it out there that we will be the team to beat – anyone that beats us will probably win the gold medal."

Fiji have been buoyed by last week's Hong Kong Sevens win and the Englishman has said that Fiji also took heart from their record in three-day tournaments – the same as the Rio format – after winning four out four in the past two years.

"If another team suddenly smashes the next three tournaments then that might change things, but we've had four three-day tournaments in the last two years and Fiji has won every single one of them."

Meanwhile, the Blitzboks, who have made six of the seven semifinals of the World Rugby Sevens Series, are on the hunt for gold again and are eager to reward the consistency they have shown this season. 

The experienced South Africans, who have a combined 306 tournaments under the belt, second only to Canada (322), also boast 1070 points scored, runners up to Fiji (1238), and are second on the try-scoring list with 168 five-pointers (behind Fiji with 193).

The Cape Town Sevens winners are looking to turn their impressive stats into gold after coming short in the latter stages of the last seven events.

“Yes, we are tired of getting so close and then not get the result we worked for, but there is a lot of good to take out of that as well,” said skipper Kyle Brown.

“We did not target any particular tournaments this year, but rather looked at being consistent at all of them. 

"We talked about avoiding the ups and down between tournaments and we have achieved that.”

The positive energy is shared by utility back Ruhan Nel, who feels that the squad must embrace and use the energy of playing in Singapore for the first time.

“We have another opportunity to win a tournament in the series and that makes it exciting for us,” said Nel.

“Last week is in the past, we are getting another chance to win a title and should embrace that. 

"We are playing for the Springbok Sevens jersey, the guys around us and for the people back home, so motivation comes easy. 

"We only have three tournaments left and have everything to play for still.”

An injury-struck New Zealand Sevens side will be aiming to go one better than their final appearance in Hong Kong, and coach Gordon Tietjiens has warned his troops not to underestimate any of their opponents this weekend.

"There's no easy games in Sevens now, Fiji have got more depth than any other Sevens team, their knowledge and their expertise just make them a very tough team to beat," said the New Zealand Sevens chief.

"When the French bring their best team they're always a good side to beat, I mean they lead us 17-0 in Hong Kong and we had to pull back and win 22-17, which is pretty close.

"Canada can beat any team on their day and we've seen the improvement in the USA team.

With just six points separating Fiji (128), New Zealand (123)and South Africa (122) at the top of the World Sevens Series ladder and only three tournaments left in Singapore, Paris and London, victory this weekend could be crucial in deciding the overall series winner. 

Pools:Preview: Singapore Sevens

Pool A: Fiji, England, Samoa, Portugal
Pool B: New Zealand, USA, France, Canada
Pool C: South Africa, Kenya, Scotland, Russia
Pool D: Australia, Wales, Argentina, Japan

Schedule – Saturday, April 16
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus eight hours)

South Africa v Scotland – 10.00
Kenya v Russia – 10.22
New Zealand v France – 10.44
USA v Canada – 11.06
Australia v Argentina – 11.28 
Wales v Japan – 11.50
Fiji v Samoa – 12.12
England v Portugal – 12.34
South Africa v Russia – 13.21
Kenya v Scotland – 13.43 
New Zealand v Canada – 14.05
USA v France – 14.27
Australia v Japan – 14.49
Wales v Argentina – 15.11
Fiji v Portugal – 15.33
England v Samoa – 15.55
Scotland v Russia – 16.42
South Africa v Kenya – 17.04
France v Canada – 17.26
New Zealand v USA – 17.48
Argentina v Japan – 18.20
Australia v Wales – 18.42
Samoa v Portugal – 19.04
Fiji v England – 19.26

Schedule – Sunday, April 17
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus eight hours)

Bowl quarterfinals:

3rd Pool A v 4th Pool D – 10.30
3rd Pool C v 4th Pool B – 10.52
3rd Pool D v 4th Pool A – 11.14
3rd Pool B v 4th Pool C – 11.36

Cup quarterfinals:

1st Pool A v 2nd Pool D – 11.58
1st Pool C v 2nd Pool B – 12.20
1st Pool D v 2nd Pool A – 12.42
1st Pool B v 2nd Pool C – 13.04

Shield:Preview: Singapore Sevens

Semifinal One – 13.51
Semifinal Two – 14.13
 
Bowl:

Semifinal One – 14.35
Semifinal Two – 14.57

Plate:

Semifinal One – 15.44
Semifinal Two – 16.06

Cup:

Semifinal One – 16.28
Semifinal Two – 16.50

Shield Final – 17:37
Bowl Final – 18:05
Plate Final – 18:33
Third/Fourth playoff – 19:01
Cup Final – 19:38

PV: 2
Preview: Singapore Sevens | Rugby365