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TEAMS AIMING TO GAIN MOMENTUM AS HSBC SYDNEY SEVENS LAUNCHES

With Wellington now but a distant memory, the HSBC Sydney Sevens is fast approaching for all your rugby sevens needs. The Allianz Stadium is hosting the tournament after its move
04 Feb 2016 11:00
TEAMS AIMING TO GAIN MOMENTUM AS  HSBC SYDNEY SEVENS LAUNCHES
he 16 captains gathered to launch the HSBC Sydney Sevens, round four of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Photo: World Rugby

With Wellington now but a distant memory, the HSBC Sydney Sevens is fast approaching for all your rugby sevens needs.

The Allianz Stadium is hosting the tournament after its move from the Gold Coast and both days have been sold-out for the fourth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

There have been three different champions in the three tournaments so far in Dubai (Fiji), Cape Town (South Africa) and Wellington (New Zealand), and all eyes will be on the tournament to see who finishes on top.

All 16 captains gathered to officially launch the tournament at Luna Park, looking out over a stunning backdrop in front of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, and with only seven series events left before the teams head to the Olympic Games, a lot of talk was understandably on Rio.

Ed Jenkins, who returns to captain the Australia squad having become a father last week, said: “Going into the Olympics there are only seven tournaments left so you want to find some form soon. The squad last week did a great job, so if we can look to build on that and get some momentum heading into Rio that’s all we can ask from the guys this weekend.

“The competition is great in our squad, last week the guys did a great job, and now the whole intensity for the sessions with the guys coming in means we are all fighting for spots and on the whole it makes it a lot stronger. We think having some of the bigger names coming in is great, it’s building the profile of the sport so why not.

“It [becoming a dad] hasn’t been too bad, but I am looking forward to staying in the hotel last night and getting some proper shut eye, and getting some proper sleep before the tournament.”

New Zealand’s victory in Wellington moved them from seventh to third in the series standings and although captain Tim Mikkelson, who lifted the Cup in Wellington last week, and hisside remained focussed on Rio, he believes the series is a key part of that preparation.

“We can’t wait for the weekend. The Gold Coast was good for the players, but hopefully this weekend we can go well in front of the sold-out crowd. There are a lot of Kiwis in Australia, and we play them in the final match of the day so that should be quite tasty.

“They have a great mix in their squad, and I think they will go well this weekend. They are physical, competitive and have the big boys in the forwards and the pace and the skills in the middle. We always find it hard playing them but I think they will go well and hopefully we can both go through from our pool.

“A  lot of people are focused on the Olympics, but we really want to do well in the series. It hurt being seventh heading into our home tournament, but we said we wanted to restart our season, and it is pleasing to move back up the order and we want to contuine to do well in the series.” World Rugby

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