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PREVIEW: Rugby World Cup Sevens

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Jack Sergent-Shadbolt     18 Jul 2018     Getty Images

Here’s a look at what the tournament has delivered in the past, and what fans can expect this time around.

Knockout pressure

Both the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens will be under pressure from the opening match. There is no round robin at this tournament. Instead it is a straight knockout path through to the final. Lose your first game and you will be competing in the Bowl or Challenge divisions, not for the overall world title.

The Black Ferns Sevens face Mexico in their opening match at 6.50am Saturday 21 July (NZT) while the All Blacks Sevens will play the winner of Russia v Hong Kong in their first match at 3.31pm on Saturday 21 July (NZT). Tune into the action live on TVNZ Duke with each match having huge consequences.

Five Key Numbers

297: The number of points scored by Waisale Serevi in Rugby World Cup Sevens tournaments – over 100 points more than any other player in Sevens World Cup history.

33-0: The scoreline when New Zealand beat England in the last Rugby World Cup Sevens final in Russia. 

5: The number of top three finishes for Fiji in the tournament’s history. Always a team to beat, Fiji have been the most consistent team in the tournament’s history.

40: The total number of teams competing in 2018 across both the men’s (24) and women’s (16) tournaments. 

1: The number of Women’s Sevens World Cup tournaments won by both Australia and New Zealand. Both teams are favourites to lift the title again in 2018.
Tournament Legends
Here are five players that have made a big impact at past World Cup Sevens tournaments:

Lawrence Dallaglio: Not often remembered for his Sevens prowess, Dallaglio was the first recipient of the Player of the Tournament award. Lean and quick, the young Dallaglio helped England to victory in the Inaugural Sevens World Cup with his trademark bursting runs.

Waisale Serevi - The dynamic Fijian playmaker is the only player to have won the Player of the Tournament award twice. His jinking runs and deft goose-step helped to make Fiji one of the most feared sides in sevens rugby.

Jonah Lomu
- While playing for the Hurricanes and All Blacks in 2001, Lomu was also moonlighting in the winning All Blacks Sevens side. Playing at prop, Lomu scored a hat-trick of tries in the final to help take out Australia 31-12. Lomu also took out Player of the Tournament award to cement his place as a legend of the game.

Tal Selley - Tal Selley was the hero of one of the greatest of sevens fairy tales. The Welsh were an 80/1 chance of winning the 2009 tournament in Dubai and Selley’s incredible form was the catalyst in their remarkable tournament win.

Tim Mikkelson - The speedy ball runner and All Black Sevens stalwart was in great form at the last World Cup in 2013, taking out Player of the Tournament award. Mikkelson was also World Rugby Sevens player of the year that same season.
Past Tournament Winners

MENS

1993: England
1997: Fiji
2001: New Zealand
2005: Fiji
2009: Wales
2013: New Zealand

WOMEN’S

2009: Australia
2013: New Zealand

New Zealand Squads for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018

All Black Sevens
Kurt Baker - Manawatu
Dylan Collier - Waikato
Scott Curry - captain - Bay of Plenty
Trael Joass - Tasman
Andrew Knewstubb - Horowhenua Kapiti
Jona Nareki - Otago
Tim Mikkelson - captain - Waikato
Sione Molia - Counties Manukau
Salesi Rayasi - Auckland
Joe Ravouvou - Auckland
Akuila Rokolisoa - Auckland
Regan Ware - Bay of Plenty

Black ferns Sevens

Shakira Baker - Waikato
Michaela Blyde - Bay of Plenty
Kelly Brazier - Bay of Plenty
Gayle Broughton - Bay of Plenty
Theresa Fitzpatrick - Auckland
Sarah Goss - captain - Manawatu
Tyla Nathan-Wong - Auckland
Ruby Tui - Bay of Plenty
Stacey Waaka - Waikato
Niall Williams - Auckland
Tenika Willison - Waikato
Portia Woodman - Counties Manukau
Draw
Click here to see full fixtures.

Broadcast
Rugby World Cup Sevens will be broadcast live on DUKE (Freeview channel 13 and channel 23 on Sky).

Saturday 21 July
Women’s qualifiers - Men’s qualifiers
Coverage begins 4.55am

Sunday 22 July
Women’s play offs – Men’s play offs – Women’s finals
Coverage begins 4.25am

Monday 23 July
Men’s play offs – Men’s finals
Coverage begins 3.55am