2018 Paris Sevens: Fiji and South Africa fight for Series Crown

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2018 Paris Sevens: Fiji and South Africa fight for Series Crown
South Africa team players celebrate after winning the Rugby 7 Paris tournament final rugby match between South Africa and Scotland at the Jean Bouin stadium in Paris , on 14 May, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

The 2018 Paris Sevens will be the final stop on the 2017/18 HSBC World Sevens Series. The grand finale of this season will be held at the iconic Stade Jean Bouin from the June 9-10. It will be held concurrently, beside the Women’s competition which begins on Friday.

It will be another great weekend, as have all nine previous tournaments on the World Series circuit. Yet Fiji and South Africa will fight for the series crown, as those two teams have the highest points going into this deciding final round.

The South Seas islanders have a seven point advantage over the Blitzboks. It means, for Fiji to win back the crown, they will need to just finish in third place; that’s if the Boks win in Paris. Fiji finishes any lower though, then South Africa could go back-to-back – but that is aside from the point.

Winning in France, that is the goal. It might be a ‘showdown’ between the number one and two teams, but all men’s teams who run out on Saturday will be doing the same. Aiming to end the regular season on a high.

The LOWDOWN – 2018 Paris Sevens

Semi Kunatani joins the Fijian squad, to replace Josua Tuisova. And while the addition of Tuisova and Semi Radradra last week was a revelation, head coach Gareth Baber knows that having a full squad to select from, is a strength.

Neil Powell of South Africa must be envious of those choices, however the Blitzbok can also rely on squad-depth. As do New Zealand, with Joe Ravouvou replacing the injured Etene Nanai-Seturo. Having that experience is where leading teams such as Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand still have a leap on the likes United States and Kenya. Depth is the key.

After 11 tough legs, there’s one more round to go.

Ireland could be the freshest of all the teams. After they shook the world series by finishing in third place at the London Sevens, the Irish might just be ‘on a roll’. Although, the fitness of teams will never be in question, for teams well down the standings, it is as much about mental freshness, as much as the body. 12 healthy team members, must get the job done for one last weekend.

Pools Drawn for ‘Paris Showdown’

With that known, with the scenario of who could finish as the top ranked side after the 2018 Paris Sevens, it is up to the collective strengths of each of the 16 teams to reach deep within.

Like the main picture illustrates, in 2016/17 it was the season that South Africa ‘aced’. They finished the series in style. So the real question is, can Fiji complete the task? Can they show that recent form is a consistent level? [like many have presumed].

This weekend will prove if depth, attitude and desire will see either Fiji or South Africa giving team mates a high-five come Sunday night.

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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