Editorial comment – The challenge London offers
21 May, 2019, 7:08 am
The stage is set for a thriller this weekend when the top teams on the World Rugby 7s Series converge on Twickenham Stadium in London.
With a capacity to hold 82,000 people, it will be interesting to see how fans respond this weekend. We’ve won on this renowned turf three times, first in 2006, then in 2012 and last year.
This time around, London could very well determine how we fare in the series this year.
Sitting on 142 on the points table, we are chasing leaders USA who are sitting on 145.
New Zealand is on third spot, with 130 points and South Africa is sitting on fourth spot with 121 points.
There can be no doubts about the seriousness with which we must attend to this weekend’s defence of the title.
While victory will be crucial to hopes of ending this season’s series on a high note, Mike Friday’s US are certainly no pushovers.
They head into this weekend’s tournament with the best strike rate and level of consistency.
They were runners-up in four tournaments on the trot, in Dubai, Cape Town, Hamilton and in Sydney before they won in Las Vegas.
They fell short in Vancouver the next weekend and won third place in Hong Kong before the fall in Singapore.
We won in Cape Town and backed that up with victory on the next leg in Hamilton before we hit a lull in Sydney and Las Vegas, and came back to win third spot in Vancouver.
We won in Hong Kong and were runners-up to South Africa the next weekend in Singapore.
New Zealand won in Dubai and Sydney and took out third spot in Hamilton and Las Vegas to slip into third spot on the points table.
While the US head in as hot favourites based on the stats, fans will be hoping our results in the last three tournaments are indicative of a resurgence, and could mean good things for us this weekend.
What will be of interest are the results of the last leg of the series.
We won in Hong Kong and backed ourselves to reach the final in the very next weekend, losing to the Blitzbokkes.
We will need that level of commitment, enthusiasm and passion to get past the US and every other team this weekend.
It will have to be all guns firing from our very first game against Kenya on Saturday.
We play our second game against France and take on the might of Samoa in our third pool game.
The countdown has already started.
There is growing interest in this weekend’s event.
We have a massive challenge before us.
But first things first, our men must walk on to the field confident they have our support. Go Fiji, go.