The Oceania region hosts the next leg of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series. First up, today we are at the HSBC Sydney 7s before moving to the New Zealand leg next week. Jesse Parahi returns to boosts Australia’s chances, as the Blitzboks chase their second title of the season.
16 teams will compete at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney that begins this afternoon; from January 26-28. Papua New Guinea are the invitational side for this leg, rounding out the Oceania sides.
The Sydney Sevens continues to grow and this year, the Women’s and Men’s side will compete at the same ground (Allianz Park complex). With the likelihood of back-to-back action all day Friday – plus it being the nations Anniversary – don’t miss any of the action as it unfolds!
— AU 7s (@Aussie7s) January 25, 2018
Jesse Parahi return boosts Australia on home soil
It has been a longtime since Jesse Parahi has taken on the green and gold jersey to play at home. When asked by LWOR how excited he was in getting back into the World Series, Jesse Parahi had this to say;
“It’s been a real long time since the last time I played on the world series so I am extremely excited to get back out there”
He will be the experienced player in the field with James Stannard. They need to build from Cape Town for a good outing at home. Plus, filling the gap left by the forced retirement of captain Ed Jenkins.
Nothing excites Parahi more then playing at home for friend and family especially his daughter.
HSBC Sydney 7s: The LOWDOWN
Pool A – New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Russia
It will be a ‘showdown in Sydney’ when these teams comes head-to-head.
Pool B – Argentina, Wales, France and Kenya
Argentina has named a debutant in Seve Escobio and he will be relying on the experienced players to help him in Sydney. Matias Osadczuk together with Fernando Luna and Lautaro Balan Velez will be their key playmakers. Coach Santiago Gomez Cora will try to build from their finals appearance in Cape Town.
Wales will be led by Luke Morgan and Luke Treharne this weekend, as they try to boost their series campaign. Hari Millard will debut, as they look to him for the future. Consistency will be the motivating factor for the Welsh in Sydney.
Manoel Dall Igna, together with Steve Barry and Stephen Perez will spearhead France’s campaign. Tavite Veredamu will be the ‘go to man’ together with Bastien Berenguel and Jean Pascal Barranque. It is a new French side, who are building for the future.
Kenya will look to Willy Ambaka and Andrew Amonde for guidance in the field. They will be without Collins Injera, but have enough firepower to compete. Aiming high in Sydney, Kenya must get back to that ‘winning feeling’.
Pool C – South Africa, England, Spain and Papua New Guinea
South Africa has named a very experienced side that will be hard to beat. Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith will be playing their last two tournaments, before Super Rugby duty takes them off the circuit.
This side is extremely well drilled, with formulated plans and the ability to react. All those skills are epitomized in their skipper Philip Snyman. He will be playing his 50th tournament this weekend.
— Philip Snyman (@snymanphilip) January 25, 2018
England will want Dan Norton to celebrate his 70th tourney in style. They have a very good side which could turn heads this weekend. Their pool play ‘battle with the Blitzbok’ will be one to watch.
Spain and Papua New Guinea will be hoping for miracles in this pool, but will be grateful to learn from the best. They both have young teams building for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.
But, if injuries play a part early in this campaign, watch for one of the minnows to take advantage – sevens is a battleground, with no quarter given by any of the sides.
Pool D – Canada, United States, Scotland and Australia
Canada will be relying on Harry Jones, John Moonlight and Nathan Hirayama to lead them to another good outing. Phil Berna together with Matt Mullins and Luke McCloskey will be the ones to watch with Mike Fualeifau.
Consistency and the ‘will to win’ will key for Team USA in Sydney. They have the team but lack execution and urgency. Hopefully, Mike Friday has found a solution. With plenty of ammunition, especially as Perry Baker returns from injury, all that can only boost their chances.
Scotland are unpredictable – like the Sydney weather – and they can turn-up to upset the status quo. Scott Riddell will be playing his 60th tourney. He will be assisted by Joe Nayacavou, together with Jamie Farndale and Hugh Blake to perform to their best in Sydney.
Hosts will have the Biggest support-base
Australia needs to kill off games and learn to rise up when needed. Charlie Taylor and Jesse Parahi add depth into an already formidable side. A good outing at home will really boost their confidence.
— AU 7s (@Aussie7s) January 23, 2018
While Sydney will always be ‘party central’ every qualifies team will also be using this leg as a ‘scouting mission’. From Kenya to Canada, those teams heading into the Commonwealth Games in April, on the Gold Coast, will want to both confirm their logistics and be ready for the atmosphere.
Australian sports fans love a game. Rugby Sevens gives fans a chance to dress-up and enjoy the party. The teams themselves will be doing their homework, before they head out onto the town.
Who will peak in Sydney, to fight it out the playoffs?
Argentina can win Pool B, but inconsistency is the Achilles heels of all the teams in that pool. However, who ‘wants it the most’ will emerge. Likely the French or Kenya as underdogs.
Of course, in the Pool A battle, New Zealand are the favourites, with Fiji or even possibly Samoa emerging out that tough group. While South Africa and England should breeze through from Pool C.
In the remaining pool, Scotland can qualify for the quarterfinals of Pool D along with Australia but, don’t count out United States with their speed-stick Perry Baker in motion.
Look out for daily updates on the women’s draw Friday, and the men’s competition after Day two. Still so much to look forward to at the HSBC Sydney 7s.
“Main photo credit”
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