Paris Sevens Preview - Green and Gold Rugby
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Paris Sevens Preview

Paris Sevens Preview

The 2018/19 World Series Sevens comes to an end this weekend in Paris, with one of the tightest finishes to the competition in recent memory. Only two points separates Fiji and America at the top of the table, while South Africa will be looking to secure Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020. See everything you need to know below!

Last time out – London Sevens

Champions: Fiji

Fiji went top of the World Series ladder with a 42-7 victory over Australia in the Cup Final. The Fijians now hold a two-point lead over the US going into the final tournament. Australia achieved its best tournament finish, picking up silver after finally showing the consistency and execution that has been lacking all tournament. USA continued to show a level of consistency rarely seen in Sevens, finishing third to make that 9/9 top-four finishes this year. New Zealand (5th), South Africa (6th) and England (13th) all had a dismissal tournament, giving the Australians a chance to sneak an unlikely fifth place finish.

Australia

The Aussies finally showed the kind of skill and ability we have been expecting from them all Series. Off the back of livewires Henry Hutchison and Maurice Longbottom the Australians regularly challenged the defences of the Americans, South Africans, and French. When at there best the Aussies have the attacking ability to match it with the likes of Fiji, New Zealand, and America, however, they need to build on the consistency shown in London to become a top side.

On to Paris, where Australia has been drawn with South Africa, Wales, and Kenya to give them a great opportunity to finish top of the group. The game against South Africa looms as the likely decider of top spot, with the winner being given a huge advantage with a Cup Quarter Final against Samoa or Canada most likely. Although South Africa poses a great threat the Aussies will be full of confidence after defeating them in the Quarter Finals in London.

Australia has made two changes from its squad in London, with Henry Vanderglas returning to the squad and Will Maddocks, brother of Wallaby winger Jack, getting his first shot for Australia.

According to head coach Tim Walsh, Paris is a good opportunity to give some other players a go.

“We want to finish as best we can and maintain momentum but we can give players a rest and give players some opportunity,” Walsh said.

“Will’s got X-factor. He’s really, really quick. He’s got some really good vision and skills and he’s a great kicker too.”

Fixtures:

Australia vs Kenya, 8:06pm Saturday

Australia vs Wales, 11:32pm Saturday

Australia vs South Africa, 3:20am Sunday

Squad: Lewis Holland ©, Henry Hutchison, Maurice Longbottom, Simon Kennwell, Lachie Anderson, Joe Pincus, Ben O’Donnell, Josh Coward, Mathew Hood, Lachie Miller, Jeral Skelton, Will Maddocks, Henry Vanderglas

Team to watch:

Samoa

Samoa’s performance in Paris should be of great intrigue for Aussie Sevens fans. With both Australia and Samoa not in the running for automatic Olympic qualification, they will be turning their attention to the Oceania qualifier which will take place on the 7th to the 9th of November. Only one team from Oceania can make the Olympics, and with a possible matchup between Australia and Samoa in the Cup Quarterfinals it looms as a mouth-watering curtain-raiser to their Olympic qualifier in November.

Games to watch:

South Africa vs Wales, 7:44pm Saturday

Fiji vs England, 8:50pm Saturday

USA vs Samoa, 10:48pm Saturday

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