2022 CWG: Rugby Sevens World Stars Light Up Coventry Stadium From Friday
OKAFOR MOSES/Birmingham, UK
Rugby Sevens kicks off on the first morning of the Commonwealth Games with the action beginning at Coventry Stadium in England on Friday 29 July
Many of the top teams and best players in the world are ready to showcase the speed, skill and end-to-end drama of rugby sevens
All previous Olympic champions are involved in what promises to be an exhilarating three days of competition, culminating in the medal matches on Sunday 31 July
Double men’s Olympic champions Fiji will face stiff competition from reigning Commonwealth title holders New Zealand, HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders South Africa and hosts England among many other potential medallists.
New Zealand will be aiming to retain the women’s title they won four years ago but the Olympic champions will have to overcome Australia, who claimed the World Series title earlier this year and an impressive Fiji who were Olympic bronze medallists in Tokyo last year.
New Zealand’s All Blacks Sevens will begin their title defence Sri Lanka in the men’s competition and the Black Ferns Sevens will open against Canada in the women’s event. In the second session of the day they will take on Samoa (men) and Sri Lanka (women).
England’s men will take on Samoa and Sri Lanka on the first day, with the big clash against New Zealand set to take place in the morning session of Saturday, 30 July. The women’s side will also face Sri Lanka on the first day, plus they will play Canada in the second session on 29 July, before they also face New Zealand during the third session of the competition.
Scotland’s opening matches are against Tonga (men) and Fiji (women) and the women will also face Australia in the evening session on 29 July with the men up against Malaysia in the same session. Wales, who only feature in the men’s competition, will face Canada and Zambia on the opening day before taking on double Olympic champions Fiji the following day.
Australia women’s team, who won silver in the inaugural competition on the Gold Coast in 2018, will face South Africa in their opening match while their final pool match is against Fiji in the morning session on 30 July.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The stage is set for what promises to be a scintillating three days of Commonwealth Games rugby sevens competition at Coventry Stadium.
“Fans will have the chance to witness the very best players in the world as four of the six medal winning teams from the Olympic Games in Tokyo are competing in the Commonwealth Games. I would urge rugby fans not to miss the chance to experience the dynamic, thrilling drama of rugby sevens live, with its unique spirit and famous festival atmosphere.”
England women’s Captain Abbie Brown said: “With it being a home tournament, you can sense the excitement and the build-up increasing. So many friends and family members are coming to watch which is brilliant for Team England.
“There’s a real buzz around it for us as a squad with the aim of going out and achieving gold. We’re all working hard to prepare for Birmingham 2022. We’re all hugely honoured to go out there and represent Team England.”
New Zealand women’s player Tyla Nathan-Wong said: “We’ve got three of the best teams in the world here with Fiji, Australia and us, so that’s exciting and also someone like England, playing at home – it’s going to be an awesome weekend of sevens.”
New Zealand men’s vice-captain Dylan Collier revealed that the team very for the championship, saying: “We had some really good preparation in Scotland before coming into the village and now the boys are ready to rip in. Rugby is a team sport but here at the Commonwealth Games we are also part of a bigger team – the New Zealand team – so it’s cool enjoying that and taking it all in. We look back at Gold Coast and know we performed well, but this is a new team, we’ve got lots of young guys and we want to add to the special legacy this team has at the Commonwealth Games.
England men’s player Jamie Adamson said: “Preparations are going really well. We’ve had an intense training block over the last few weeks and the boys and staff have worked really hard adding that extra level of detail to our game that’s going to put us in the best position to perform at the weekend.
“There’s a big buzz amongst the squad heading into the weekend and we’re really fortunate to be representing England on such a special occasion at a home Commonwealth Games. The support has been immense so far and we can’t wait to put on a performance in front of the home crowd at full noise.”
To Australia men’s player Maurice Longbottom, “It’s been an awesome season. We are just starting to hit our peak after London (World Series tournament which Australia won) and leading into the Commonwealth Games quite nicely. We’ve always had the belief and it was a case of building towards the tournament and we finally got there and we are now at our peak so I believe we will be really dangerous for the next couple of tournaments,” he said.