2018 HSBC Langford Sevens: mid-season form key to success

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2018 HSBC Langford Sevens: mid-season form key to tournament success
Russia (blue) vs France (red) in HSBC Canada Women's Sevens Rugby action at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC, May 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Don MacKinnon (Photo credit should read DON MACKINNON/AFP/Getty Images)

The 2018 HSBC Langford Sevens will be held this weekend, May 12-13, in Canada. The picturesque Westhills Stadium in Victoria, British Columbia will be the venue for the fourth leg of the World Series.

Mid-season for the squads, and an important stage for each of the leading teams ambitions. So for all 12 teams competing, fitness and enthusiasm will again be key elements. New Zealand are the defending champions, with Brazil the 2018 invitational side, to offer a contrast to the North American setting.

Series leaders Australia top Pool C with Spain, hosts Canada and Ireland. Form team New Zealand lead Pool A with Fiji, England and Brazil. And France, Russia, neighbours the United States and Japan will battle it out for Pool B, and qualification to Day Two knockout matches.

At the HSBC Langford Sevens, the Kiwis look odds-on favorites for another title, as their continuing battle with the Aussies continue.

Looking at the draw, Jovilisi Waqa believes the first-up match between Canada and Australia will be a cracker.

2018 HSBC Langford Sevens

The action begins on Saturday, all teams aiming to put their best foot forward. The schedule begins at 10:30am local time, and the cool climate might suit some more than others. But if the warm sun does come out, the conditions might play their part.

Pool A – New Zealand, Fiji, England and Brazil

There is no discounting the strength of the Black Ferns 7s. In a positive phase, less injuries than in the past, and a balance in the squad – only England can likely make their pool match difficult. But judging by the below comments, the Sevens Sisters know ‘how to win’ the HSBC Langford Sevens.

Pool B – France, Russia, United States and Japan

Team USA will have some vocal support ‘north of the border’. That will boost there squad confidence, yet their biggest rival is Russia. While France did make the Kitakyushu Sevens final, the Russian squad is boosted by investment and in superb natural athletes.

Alena Mikhaltsova is a superstar who could claim the DHL Performance Tracker prize, if she stays fit and is as committed around the field, as she has been so far in 2017/18.

Pool C – Australia, Spain, Ireland and Canada

Important that the side leading this pool, avoids facing the Kiwis. That is the prime goal, and while the next best can always make their way through the knockout stages – it just makes it ten times harder. So All four sides must be wary of any mis-steps at Langford.

With the home town support, also comes pressure. Something that Canada have not dealt with well in 2018. Women like Ghislane Landry and Julia Grenshields need to display composure, to set-up opportunities.

Day One – 2018 HSBC Langford Sevens

The draw will match plenty of leading sides. Pool’s B and C are critical. The top seeds here will advance, and importantly avoid facing New Zealand. Australia may naturally appear the strongest challenger, but others like Spain or Fijiana are due a ‘big result’.

Mid-season form is going to play it’s part. Fitness, plus motivation looking at the final two legs of the season, will be elements that influence the outcome of Day One at the 2018 HSBC Langford Sevens. That is also, looking far ahead to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July.

Follow the action on the World Rugby website links, and look for updates with Last Word on Rugby’s facebook page.

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