The 2017/18 HSBC Sevens Series kicks off this weekend in Dubai. And much like any new ‘entertainment season’ their are 10 rounds, which gives fans 10 episodes of a phenomenal sevens rugby series which has become part of our lives.
For such an exciting sport, Television has become an integral part in the growth of sevens. This season, it will break more grounds, with new 7s stars cast by each International side, reaching new regions and households. These new casts will be ‘part of the show’ this season as the series unfolds.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) November 21, 2017
A new location will be explored this series – Hamilton, New Zealand. New stars will appear, including some new Directors; like new Kiwi coach Clark Laidlaw. All will add flavor in what is promising to be a bigger and better season.
South Africa are the defending Dubai and series title holders. No doubt they will be out to retain their titles. Fiji and England will be hunting for a major win, along with eager teams like the United States and Australia. The Kiwi men will be watching how their new coach might bring the best out of their playing group.
2017/18 HSBC Sevens Series: New Season Starts in Dubai
In television terms, new seasons brings new cast members. A new dimension on what fans have grown to expect from our favorite entertainment shows. This season, 10 cities will be producing fresh episodes of another breathtaking sevens rugby season.
It has become one of the most watched shows in television and it will continue to grow. No matter if you are a Game of Thrones fan or a Greys Anatomy addict, you will find room for sevens rugby when it shows on your television.
So in classic television lingo, here we go…
Last season on the HSBC Sevens Series….
- South Africa started the season with a bang! They went on to win the series in style.
- Only Fiji managed to retain their Hong Kong Sevens title, with Canada walking away with their first ever title in Singapore – but otherwise, Neil Powell and his side were ‘dominant’.
- New Zealand finished the series without an victory at all, which was a fist since the World Series inception.
- Scotland regained their London Sevens title at the final round, and bid fond farewell to coach Caluum McRae.
- Seabelo Senatla was the top try scorer of the series, the brightest ‘Star of the Show’. Along with Dan Norton, who became the top try scorer of all time.
That is a summary of last season as we kickoff the season in Dubai. Not only was it great entertainment, but it only gets better in 2017/18.
After winning @WorldRugby7s title with @Blitzboks and then @rugbychallenge and @TheCurrieCup with @WP_RUGBY, all in 2017, @RuhanNel7 is keen for more silverware with the #Blitzboks at @Dubai7s this weekend. pic.twitter.com/swhdmHdoJE
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) November 28, 2017
HSBC Dubai Sevens: THE LOWDOWN
The Dubai Sevens will be held at the 7sevens Stadium from December 1-2. Under the UAE sunshine, 16 teams will compete – with Uganda as the invitational side. It will be two days of mouth-watering rugby sevens action.
Many returning stars of the game will feature, beside the ‘new stars’ and fresh prospects. Several names that stand out are Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla, who return for the Blitzboks, along with Lewis Holland for Australia.
It will be an exciting season opener, so get your Lowdown here of know what to expect.
Pool A – South Africa, Canada, Kenya, Uganda
The South Africans are favorites on paper to retain their Dubai title. Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla return from their Super Rugby commitments to add depth to the squad.
Kyle Brown, Chris Dry and Philip Snyman will lay the platform in the forwards. Rosko Speckman, Cecil Africa, Justin Geduld and Branco Du Preez are their key attacking weapons. Senatla and Werner Kok are the finishes, with Ruhan Nel the super-sub.
Canada have boosted their squad with the return of Admir Cjenovic. He will bring speed and power to the Canadian squad. They will be building for the Commonwealth Games, but a good ‘first episode’ here in Dubai could promote their chances..
RT SportPesa: RT KenyaSevens: Photo Shoot!
Captain OAyodi joins his fellow Pool A captains from Blitzboks RugbyCanada and UgandaSevens for a photo opportunity ahead of the 2017 #Dubai7s #Shujaa#TujiaminiKE pic.twitter.com/kI1FCX51e3
— BeTricks (@sure_betricks) November 30, 2017
Uganda and Kenya will be fighting for African supremacy in Pool A, with the Blitzboks making up the continental pack. South Africa will win the pool but, who joins them will be just as exciting to watch.
Pool B – England, Scotland, France, Spain
It is an all-European affair in Pool B with the English as top bets to shine through. They will be ruthless but, the French will be exciting to watch. New consultant Ben Ryan has been helping them, and with that inspiration they can rise to the occasion.
With Virimi Vakatawa on club duties, the French have unearthed a new Fijian. Watch Tavite Veredamu make his debut, and especially watch for his combination with Alexandre Lagarde.
Dubai Rugby Sevens: France call on Fijian know-how as 2024 Olympic vision starts to take shape https://t.co/nVd9xaMsQO
— Ford Thomas (@NextGenProcure) November 30, 2017
Scotland has a new mentor and it will be interesting to watch that teams progress over this season. The Spanish can beat any team on their day, so don’t count them out.
Pool C – Fiji, Australia, Wales Russia
The Fijians have a settle to score with the Aussies. They have been beaten their shadow sides in three Invitational sevens tournaments in the pre-season. Jerry Tuwai takes over the captaincy from Osea Kolinisau here in Dubai.
Lewis Holland returns for Australia, and their battle with Fiji will be one to watch. Watch their new wonder kids; in Maurice Longbottom of Australia and Apenisa Cakaunibalavu of Fiji.
However, if the matches go their way do not count out the Welsh and Russians, as they can spring surprises when in the mood.
Pool D – New Zealand, Samoa, Argentina, United States
This is the action-thriller episode, and the ‘Pool of Death’ here at the Dubai Sevens. New Zealand will be aiming for their first tournament win under new coach Clark Laidlaw. They were unlucky to meet the wrath of a wounded Fijian side at the Oceania Sevens final, but have a good mix to work with.
The first tournament without DJ Forbes for the Kiwis. They welcome back Sam Dickson and Vilimoni Koroi to the squad, and will need both co-captains to shine on the big stage.
⏰ 6.22pm NZT v Samoa 🇼🇸
⏰ 9.22pm NZT v Argentina 🇦🇷
— NZ7s (@nz7s) November 28, 2017
Samoa have recalled some of their most experienced players to spearhead their 2017/18 campaign. Alatasi Tupou and Falemiga Selesele will bring urgency and the Manu ‘fighting spirit’ to their group.
Argentina and United States have recalled their stars of the game. However, they need to be consistent which, has been their downfall in past seasons. Will Perry Baker continue his try-scoring spree? Voted World Rugby ‘Sevens Player of the Year’ he is tagged as a superstar but does need the support of his full team, to reach the Cup playoffs.
Can the Blitzboks start their season with a Win?
They have the squad, the players and the technical know-how to win. Most agree they have the experience, but can they repeat their dominant performances like they did last season? After Day One, fans and commentators will find out.
Fiji and New Zealand will challenge them naturally, and the Aussies are the dark horse. Recently unbeaten on the Invitational circuit, can the men in yellow take it up a notch in 2017/18?
On the other hand, England and France can surprise them all. As could the United States team, or the well coached Samoan side. But those teams must first emerge from their Pools unbeaten…..a tougher task then ‘what might be’.
So sit back in front of the television, relax and enjoy the another season of the greatest show in Sevens. Or as they call it television, the season premiere!
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images