Niall Williams and Joe Webber (Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby)
The draw for the men’s and women’s tournaments for the upcoming Hamilton Sevens has been revealed, and there’s no margin for error.
There are no quarterfinals in the two day event on the 25-25 of January at Waikato Stadium, meaning that winning their pools are crucial for both sides. The men have both Wales and Scotland in theirs, but their biggest challenge will come from the USA. Meanwhile the women have a relatively easy start against China, then face England and Fiji.
The winners of each pool will go straight to the semi-finals on day two. It’s a compromise for having the tournament staged over two days rather than the traditional three for mixed events, with play now having to start at 8:45am and going until 9:30pm.
Both national teams are coming off successful starts to the season, with the Black Ferns winning both the Dubai and Cape Town tournaments. The All Blacks Sevens made the final in Dubai, losing to Fiji, but then bounced back to win in Cape Town a week later.
Hamilton will mark the first time the women will play alongside the men in an official world series event in New Zealand.
Black Ferns Sevens co-coach Allan Bunting said: “Last year was a great occasion, but to play in a world series event on home soil for the first time, alongside the men, is something the team has been looking forward to for a long time. It’s going to be incredibly special and we can’t wait.”
Black Ferns Sevens draw:
NZ v China, 11:20 Saturday 25 Jan
NZ v England, 16:58 Saturday 25 Jan
NZ v Fiji, 10:35 Sunday 26 Jan
All Blacks Sevens draw:
NZ v Wales, 14:31 Saturday 25 Jan
NZ v USA, 20:33 Saturday 25 Jan
NZ v Scotland, 13:41 Sunday 26 Jan