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LAS VEGAS 7s 2017Las Vegas 7s 2017


HSBC 7s Day 3Las Vegas 7s Winners South Africa 2017

SOUTH AFRICA secured their fourth tournament win of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17 after beating Fiji 19-12 at the Sam Boyd Stadium.

The victory gives them a 24-point buffer at the top of the series standings, with Fiji in second place and England in third following their fifth place finish in Vegas.

THE FINAL
The final itself was a tense match-up as Olympic champions Fiji came into the match chasing their first tournament win of the series. Masivesi Dakuwaqa scored from close range early on in the match following a mistake from Ruhan Nel, but Blitzboks playmaker Cecil Afrika soon replied for the series leaders after latching onto a pass from Siviwe Soyizwapi. Powerful forward Chris Dry added a try early on in the second half, before HSBC Player of the Final, Rosko Specman scorched the turf to score an incredible individual try. Waisea Nacuqu struck back for Fiji but the game was out of sight.

The Blitzboks have finished as series runners-up for four consecutive years yet have had their best start ever to a world series with victories in Dubai, Sydney, Wellington and now Las Vegas. Their loss to England in the HSBC Cape Town Sevens back in December is the only blemish on what has been the perfect start to their 2016-17 campaign and head coach Neil Powell is pleased with the way his side are performing.

"We're happy with how it's been going the last few tournaments and the guys are believing in a system and working for each other," he said. "They are showing a lot of pride in the jersey and the fact that they can play for their country. They showed a lot of composure in the final and managed to take control back in the second half."

Hosts USA finished third overall after beating New Zealand 19-15 in the Bronze final, while Kenya took victory in the Challenge Trophy final, beating Samoa 21-14.

SEMI FINALS
Las Vegas 7s Semi FinalHosts USA were on track for their first ever tournament win on home soil and started strongly against South Africa in the semi-finals. Mike Friday's side scored one of the tries of the tournament after a bursting break from Folau Niua was eventually finished off by Stephen Tomasin. Shortly after South Africa's Chris Dry was given a yellow card for not being ten metres back on a penalty, and USA immediately capitalised through Niua.

South Africa hit back through Dylan Sage and Ruhan Nel, to make it 10-12 at half-time and then it was powerful forward Werner Kok who kick-started the Blitzboks' second half charge with a great solo effort. A scything run from Maka Unufe helped set up Durutalo to bring the score back to make it 17-15 to USA. In the dying minutes Sage went over for another try and despite USA stealing the ball at a line out five metres out from the Blitzboks line, they were unable to convert the points, 20-17.

Las Vegas Semi Finals 2017After a relatively straight forward quarter-final against Canada, Fiji had to produce some of their best rugby of the tournament to beat New Zealand in their Cup semi-final. A penalty try was awarded to New Zealand early on after Fiji's Kalione Nasoko was given a yellow card for a high tackle. Isaac Te Tamaki added New Zealand's second try, after shrugging off a host of Fiji defenders before the dancing feet of Jerry Tuwai gave the Pacific islanders their first score, when he broke through the defence and offloaded to Mesulame Kunavula

The formidable Jerry Tuwai used his dancing feet to jink through the defence and set up Mesulame Kunavula, making it 14-5 to New Zealand at half-time. Joeli Lutumailagi burst through early on in the second half from five metres out and stretched to score under the posts. At 14-12 to New Zealand, powerhouse forward Masivesi Dakuwaqa clinched the victory for Gareth Baber's side, romping in from 30 metres out, 19-14.

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HSBC 7s Day 2

HOSTS USA were on course to clinch their first ever tournament win on home soil after staging a thrilling comeback in the Cup quarter-finals of the HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas.

Mike Friday's side came back from 19-0 down against Argentina to win 21-19, producing one of the spectacles of the tournament so far. USA go into the semi-final stages for the third year in a row and face series leaders South Africa in the Cup semi-finals. On the other side of the draw Fiji will play New Zealand.

"I think we showed that we can be down but we're never out," said USA captain Madison Hughes. "We are going to have to play some great team during a tournament but we just have to stick together and keep fighting."

Neil Powell's South Africa outfit have won three of the last four tournaments on the World Series and had to produce a big performance against Australia to secure their semi-final spot. A late try from speedster Rosko Specman proved crucial as the Blitzboks won 17-14.

Back-to-back series champions and Olympic Gold medallists Fiji faced Canada in their quarter-final and delivered a clinical five-try performance, two coming from Apisai Domolailai, to win 31-12 against head coach Damian McGrath's side.

In the final Cup quarter-final of the day, New Zealand outclassed an England side that only recently made the final at the HSBC Sydney Sevens, winning 19-0.

The Challenge Trophy semi-finals will feature France v Kenya and Scotland v Samoa.

POOL A
1 South Africa 2 Canada 3 France 4 Wales

South Africa went unbeaten in their pool following two wins on day one of the tournament against Canada (26-7) and France (31-0), and a convincing 21-7 victory over Wales on day two. Considering the Blitzboks have only lost seven pool matches in two years, it is no surprise they went into the match against the Welsh determined to keep a perfect record in Las Vegas. Cecil Afrika, Chris Dry and Siviwe Soyizwapi scored the tries and helped keep Neil Powell's side top of the Pool.

Canada's close 24-21 win over Wales on day one gave them a fighting chance for qualification on day two, which they seized with both hands when they put 21 unanswered points against France in their final pool match to secure them second place.

POOL B
1 England 2 USA 3 Samoa 4 Chile

England continued their blistering start from day one, where they beat Chile (31-5) and Samoa (12-7) with a stunning pool match against USA in front of a packed out Sam Boyd stadium. Charged up by the crowd, Mike Friday's USA side came out of the blocks quick with tries from Martin Iosefo and Perry Baker and a conversion from Madison Hughes making it 12-5 at half-time, despite Dan Norton's supreme solo effort. USA added a quick try early in the second half through Ben Pinkleman, but England rallied scoring two tries in quick succession through Richard de Carpentier and Tom Mitchell before Tom Bowen burst down the left wing to steal victory from the hosts.

POOL C
1 Argentina 2 New Zealand 3 Kenya 4 Russia

Argentina stole the show in Pool C, topping the group for the first time since Singapore in April last year. A 43-0 win over Russia on day one and 14-14 draw with Kenya set up a showdown with New Zealand, a team they had only ever beaten eight times in 74 encounters. Tries from Fernando Luna and Nicolas Menendez and a conversion from Gaston Revol gave Santiago Gomez Cora's side a healthy lead at half-time. However one of the tries of the day was about to take place thanks firstly to Vilimoni Koroi who performed an incredible trick pass from the sideline, and finally DJ Forbes who powered his way over the line from distance with a huge fend on the Argentinean defence.  Isaac Te Tamaki added another score and it was left up to Koroi to slot the extras, but due to the wind whipping around the stadium the ball passed just wide.

POOL D
1 Fiji 2 Australia 3 Scottish Rugby 4 Japan

Fiji's perfect run of pool matches from day one continued on day two with a hard fought 24-17 win over Australia, with tries from Mesulame Kunavula, Kalione Nasoko and two from Samisoni Viriviri. Scotland, following a disappointing two losses on day one, salvaged three more points with a 33-7 victory over Japan.

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HSBC 7s Day 1

REIGNING HSBC USA Sevens champions Fiji kept their hopes of a third consecutive tournament win in Las Vegas alive after notching up two pool wins on day one.

Gareth Baber's side, who are back-to-back series champions, have not won a tournament yet in the 2016-17 series but remain on course to clinch their first following a 41-0 win over Japan and 24-12 victory over Scotland in Pool D.

The Pacific islanders were not alone however in keeping a perfect record at the Sam Boyd Stadium, as hosts USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England all recorded two wins from two.

POOL A
1 South Africa 2 France 3 Canada 4 Wales

Current series leaders South Africa entered the tournament fresh from two tournament wins in Wellington and Sydney, and continued their charge towards a fourth tournament win of the series with a 26-7 win over Canada and 24-0 win over France.  The French had started the day strongly with a 33-7 win over Wales, who were later beaten by Damian McGrath's Canada side when Mike Fuailefau scored a late try to the delight of the large pockets of Canadian fans in the stands. It was also a day of milestones for two players in Pool A as Branco du Preez made his 50th tournament appearance while John Moonlight became the most experienced Canadian sevens player of all time when he ran out for his 53rd tournament.

POOL B
1 USA 2 England 3 Samoa 4 Chile

Hosts USA are chasing their first ever win on home soil and were buoyed by the vociferous fans in Las Vegas. A hat-trick of tries from powerful forward Danny Barrett helped them to a 26-5 win over Samoa. That same momentum carried them into their second match of the day against Chile, where a double from Martin Iosefo helped USA to a 31-0 scoreline at full time.

Simon Amor's England side, who won the HSBC Cape Town Sevens back in December, were unchanged coming into the tournament and showed the benefit of consistency with a 31-5 win over Chile and a tight 12-7 win over Gordon Tietjens' Samoa outfit.

POOL C
1 New Zealand 2 Argentina 3 Kenya 4 Russia

New Zealand, despite losing captain Scott Curry just two days before the tournament start, held off a physical Kenya outfit in their first pool match thanks to tries from Tim Mikkelson, Sione Molia, Dylan Collier and Sherwin Stowers. In 15 meetings, Russia had never beaten New Zealand and that quickly became 16 after tries from Beaudein Waaka, DJ Forbes and Isaac Te Tamaki gave Scott Waldrom's side a 19-5 win. Argentina had started their campaign earlier in the day with a far more convincing 43-0 win over Russia and finished the day at deadlock with Kenya, 14-14.

POOL D
1 Fiji 2 Australia 3 Scottish Rugby 4 Japan

Outside of Fiji's two wins over Japan and Scotland, Pool D was dominated by Australia who showed the same class that got them into the Cup semi-final at the Sydney Sevens last month. An epic comeback from 21-7 down against Scotland to win 28-21 was indicative of the resilient attitude head coach Andy Friend has tried to instill in his side throughout 2016-17. A 19-12 win against Japan gave them their perfect start to the tournament.

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HSBC 7s Results

FRIDAY 3rd MARCH 2017

1

16:09

FIJI

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FIJ.png

34-0

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/JPN.png

JAPAN

POOL D

2

16:31

AUSTRALIA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/AUS.png

28-21

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SCO.png

SCOTLAND

POOL D

3

16:53

ARGENTINA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ARG.png

43-0

Flag Russia.png

RUSSIA

POOL C

4

17:15

NEW ZEALAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/NZL.png

24-7

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/KEN.png

KENYA

POOL C

5

17:37

USA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/USA.png

26-5

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SAM.png

SAMOA

POOL B

6

17:59

ENGLAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ENG.png

31-5

Flag Chile.png

CHILE

POOL B

7

18:21

WALES

Flag Wales.png

7-33

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FRA.png

FRANCE

POOL A

8

18:43

SOUTH AFRICA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/RSA.png

26-7

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/CAN.png

CANADA

POOL A

9

19:08

FIJI

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FIJ.png

24-12

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SCO.png

SCOTLAND

POOL D

10

19:30

AUSTRALIA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/AUS.png

19-12

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/JPN.png

JAPAN

POOL D

11

19:52

ARGENTINA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ARG.png

14-14

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/KEN.png

KENYA

POOL C

12

20:14

NEW ZEALAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/NZL.png

19-5

Flag Russia.png

RUSSIA

POOL C

13

20:56

USA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/USA.png

31-0

Flag Chile.png

CHILE

POOL B

14

20:58

ENGLAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ENG.png

12-7

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SAM.png

SAMOA

POOL B

15

21:20

WALES

Flag Wales.png

21-24

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/CAN.png

CANADA

POOL A

16

21:42

SOUTH AFRICA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/RSA.png

31-0

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FRA.png

FRANCE

POOL A

SATURDAY 4th MARCH 2017

17

13:28

JAPAN

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/JPN.png

7-33

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SCO.png

SCOTLAND

POOL D

18

13:50

AUSTRALIA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/AUS.png

17-24

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FIJ.png

FIJI

POOL D

19

14:12

RUSSIA

Flag Russia.png

10-12

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/KEN.png

KENYA

POOL C

20

14:36

NEW ZEALAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/NZL.png

10-12

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ARG.png

ARGENTINA

POOL C

21

14:58

SAMOA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SAM.png

17-12

Flag Chile.png

CHILE

POOL B

22

15:24

ENGLAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ENG.png

24-17

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/USA.png

USA

POOL B

23

15:46

FRANCE

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FRA.png

0-21

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/CAN.png

CANADA

POOL A

24

16:08

SOUTH AFRICA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/RSA.png

21-7

Flag Wales.png

WALES

POOL A

25

18:48

FRANCE

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FRA.png

24-14

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/JPN.png

JAPAN

CT QF

26

19:10

KENYA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/KEN.png

21-19

Flag Chile.png

CHILE

CT QF

27

19:32

SCOTLAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SCO.png

28-21

Flag Wales.png

WALES

CT QF

28

19:54

SAMOA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SAM.png

31-7

Flag Russia.png

RUSSIA

CT QF

29

20:16

SOUTH AFRICA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/RSA.png

17-14

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/AUS.png

AUSTRALIA

CUP QF

30

20:38

ARGENTINA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ARG.png

19-21

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/USA.png

USA

CUP QF

31

21:00

FIJI

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FIJ.png

31-12

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/CAN.png

CANADA

CUP QF

32

21:22

ENGLAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ENG.png

0-19

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/NZL.png

NEW ZEALAND

CUP QF

SUNDAY 5th MARCH 2017

33

11:24

JAPAN

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/JPN.png

24-7

Flag Chile.png

CHILE

13th PL SF

34

11:46

WALES

Flag Wales.png

24-5

Flag Russia.png

RUSSIA

13th PL SF

35

12:08

FRANCE

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FRA.png

7-14

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/KEN.png

KENYA

CT SF

36

12:38

SCOTLAND

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SCO.png

0-24

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SAM.png

SAMOA

CT SF

37

13:00

AUSTRALIA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/AUS.png

14-0

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ARG.png

ARGENTINA

5th PL SF

38

13:22

CANADA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/CAN.png

5-12

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ENG.png

ENGLAND

5th PL SF

39

13:44

SOUTH AFRICA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/RSA.png

20-17

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/USA.png

USA

CUP SF

40

14:06

FIJI

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FIJ.png

19-14

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/NZL.png

NEW ZEALAND

CUP SF

41

14:28

JAPAN

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/JPN.png

19-21

Flag Wales.png

WALES

13th PL PO

42

15:40

KENYA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/KEN.png

21-14

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/SAM.png

SAMOA

CT FINAL

43

16:05

AUSTRALIA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/AUS.png

7-10

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/ENG.png

ENGLAND

5th PL PO

44

16:30

Rio 2016 Bronze MedalUSA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/USA.png

19-15

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/NZL.png

NEW ZEALAND

BRONZE

45

17:00

Rio 2016 Gold MedalSOUTH AFRICA

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/RSA.png

19-12

http://www.irbsevens.com/imgml/flags/24/FIJ.png

FIJIRio 2016 Silver Medal

CUP FINAL

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HSBC 7s Pools


POOL A

CanadafrancesaWales

POOL B

ChileEnglandSamoaUSA

POOL C

ArgentinaKenyanzRussia

POOL D

australiafijiJapanScottish Rugby

LAS VEGAS is the first three-day tournament of the series, with two matches played per day on a narrow artificial pitch.

POOL A
John Moonlight is set to break the all-time Canadian tournament appearance record at the HSBC USA Sevens, surpassing Phil Mack's record of 52 tournaments when he takes to the turf in Las Vegas. The duo are the only two players in Canadian history to play in 50 or more series tournaments.

Head coach Damian McGrath has chosen an experienced outfit to contest the fifth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, where they will face series leaders South Africa as well as France and Wales in Pool A. Canada sit 12th in the series standings having finished 13th in three of the first four events while finishing fourth at the Wellington Sevens.

MORGAN BRINGS EXPERIENCE BACK FOR WALES
Wales' all-time record try-scorer Luke Morgan will make his return to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after returning from an eight-month injury layoff. Morgan, who has scored 63 tries for Wales, last played for Wales at the HSBC London Sevens last May. He will be joined in Vegas by James Benjamin, who also joins the squad for the first time since playing at Twickenham in 2016.

Consistency through the season is one of head coach Gareth Williams's main priorities, and having regularly made the quarter-finals of the Cup this season, he's hoping Wales can go one step further.

AFRIKA RETURNS FOR BLITZBOKS
All-time leading South Africa sevens points scorer Cecil Afrika has been named in head coach Neil Powell's squad for the HSBC USA Sevens.

Afrika, who has scored 1,167 points in his sevens career, has recovered from a knee injury that left him out of the rounds in Wellington and Sydney. Stephan Dippenaar is the second change in the squad, with the duo replacing Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith who have headed off to Super Rugby.

South Africa have got off to a blistering start in the 2016-17 series, sitting atop the overall standings following three wins in four tournaments and will be keen to extend their lead in Las Vegas, a venue where they have won three times since 2010, when the USA round of the series was moved to Nevada.

FRANCE NAME DEBUTANT FOR LAS VEGAS
France head coach Frederic Pomarel has named one new face in his squad to contest the next two rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas and Vancouver. Alexandre Lagarde will be the only new player in the set-up, with captain Terry Bouhraoua also making the trip to North America following his recovery from a leg injury. Pomarel's side are currently 10th in the standings, with their best finishes of seventh coming in Dubai and Wellington.

POOL B
USA head coach Mike Friday has named Ben Pinkelman and Maka Unufe in his squad to contest the HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas. One notable omission from Friday's 12-man squad is speedster Carlin Isles, who is out for the rest of the 2016-17 series as he undergoes knee surgery. Madison Hughes will captain the side while Walt Elder is the sole debutant.

The men's Eagles are currently eighth in the series standings with their best finish coming at the HSBC Sydney Sevens in early February.

AIONO BACK FOR SAMOA
Samoa head coach Gordon Tietjens has named veteran Samoa star Afa Aiono and last year's captain Faalemiga Selesele in his squad to travel to Las Vegas and Vancouver in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Former skipper Aiono will lead Tietjens' side in Las Vegas, playing his first tournament since Port Elizabeth in 2014. Aiono made his debut in 2009, scoring 74 tries in 215 matches for Samoa and was part of their 2009-10 series-winning side.

Selesele's return will also bolster Samoa's chances over the next two rounds, having led them to their first tournament win in Paris last year since Dubai in 2012. Samoa are 13th in the standings and their best finish so far was 10th place in Dubai.

ENGLAND REMAIN UNCHANGED
England coach Simon Amor has named an unchanged 12-man squad to contest the next two rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas and Vancouver. Amor's side finished second at the HSBC Sydney Sevens, losing out to series leaders South Africa in the final, 29-14. They are currently second in the standings overall and will play USA, Samoa and Chile in Pool B in Las Vegas.

Following a bronze medal in Dubai and gold in Cape Town, England came seventh in Wellington before collecting silver in Sydney.

POOL C
New Zealand head coach Scott Waldrom has recalled former World Rugby Sevens Rookie Player of the Year Ambrose Curtis for the next two rounds of the world series. Curtis, who played for the Maori All Blacks in 2016 and last played sevens in 2015, is part of a largely unchanged 14-man New Zealand outfit for Las Vegas and Vancouver. Joe Webber, Sam Dickson, Lewis Ormond, Teddy Stanaway and Rocky Khan were unavailable for selection due to injury.

New Zealand are currently fourth in the series standings with their best performances coming in Cape Town and Sydney where they finished third at both tournaments. They will face Kenya, Russia and Argentina in Las Vegas.

KENYA BRING BACK AYDOI FOR VEGAS TILT
Kenya star Oscar Ayodi will make his first start of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17 when he travels to Las Vegas and Vancouver. Ayodi, who has scored 36 tries for Kenya, is one of two changes made by Kenya coach Innocent Simiyu, who also brings in Frank Wanyama. The duo replace Brian Tanga and Oscar Ouma.

Kenya are 11th in the standings and are chasing their second ever tournament win, following their victory at the HSBC Singapore Sevens in April last year.

POOL D
Australia head coach Andy Friend has called on the experience of Ed Jenkins, Nick Malouf and Tom Lucas for the forthcoming rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas and Vancouver. The trio have a combined 74 caps of experience to help bolster Friend's youthful Australia outfit who currently sit sixth in the standings. Jenkins returns for the first since Cape Town following a shoulder injury, while Malouf and Lucas will also make their much-anticipated comebacks, with the former having endured an extended lay-off following Rio 2016. They replace Charlie Taylor, Simon Kennewell and Michael Adams in the squad.

Australia made the final four at the HSBC Sydney Sevens, their best performance of the 2016-17 series to-date, but lost out to eventual winners South Africa 26-12 in the semi-finals. Australia has been drawn in Pool D and will face Fiji, Japan and Scotland.

FIJI CHASE FIRST TOURNAMENT WIN
Fiji head coach Gareth Baber has named three changes to his squad to contest the Las Vegas and Vancouver legs of the world series as the reigning series and Olympic champions chase their first tournament win of 2016-17.

Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Apisai Domolailai and Waisea Nacuqu return to the fold as Baber opted for the bulk of the same squad who finished fifth in Sydney earlier in February. Fiji are currently third in the standings, having lost two finals to South Africa in Dubai and Wellington.

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HSBC 7s Intro

USA have announced their final squad to challenge for their first ever tournament win on home soil at the HSBC USA Sevens.

Following the declaration of all 16 final squads for the fifth leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Las Vegas, USA head coach Mike Friday has opted for a blend of power and experience in his 13-man outfit to be captained by playmaker Madison Hughes. USA will contest Pool B against England Samoa and Chile, a pool Hughes believes will be a big challenge.

Las Vegas 7s 2017 Parade of Nations“I think it’s a pool we are confident we can be successful in, but as with any pool in the series these days, if we’re slightly off, we know that those teams will punish us.

“England have been on fire so far this season, and have been up there with South Africa as the form team. We know they’ll be a really tough test, and they have the experience of Dan Norton, Dan Bibby, Tom Mitchell, James Rodwell and Phil Burgess, which is a very strong core with good players around them.

“Samoa are a difficult team to prepare for, as you never know quite which Samoa team you will get. They won’t be pleased with their start to the season, but you only have to look back to Paris to see how dangerous they can be. The Samoan team will always present a very physical challenge, with strong ball carriers and big tackles. With more time as well, we’re sure to see the product of more time with Sir Gordon Tietjens.

“Chile are a bit of an unknown. We crossed paths with them in the Pan Am Games a couple of years ago, but we don’t really know much about them."

HSBC 7s Squads

England remain unchanged from the squad that contest the HSBC Sydney Sevens, while Samoa bring back the experience of 2009-10 series winner Afa Aiono and former captain Faalemiga Selesele.

In Pool A, series leaders South Africa will be chasing their fourth tournament win of the series but will be without sensational finisher Seabelo Senatla and powerhouse Kwagga Smith who have both moved to Super Rugby. Wales bring back all-time top scorer Luke Morgan into the mix while Canada will be looking to the experience of John Moonlight, who is set to become the most experienced Canadian sevens player of all time when he runs out at his 53rd tournament. France bring in one debutant, Alexandre Lagarde, to contest the event.

In Pool C, DJ Forbes will takeover the captaincy for New Zealand after Scott Curry was ruled out of the tournament due to a mild concussion. Russia and Argentina complete the group, with largely unchanged squads since Sydney last February.

Finally, in Pool D Australia bring back the experienced trio of Ed Jenkins, Nick Malouf and Tom Lucas to bolster their youthful squad, with the team hoping to buld on their Cup semi-final performance in Sydney. Fiji bring in Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Apisai Domolailai and Waisea Nacuqu as they chase their first tournament win of the 2016-17 series. Scotland will field the experienced heads of Mark Robertson (51 tournaments) and Scott Riddell (53 tournaments) in their squad along with flyers such as James Fleming.

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HSBC 7s StandingsHSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Standings 2016

HSBC 7s ScheduleHSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016

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