The race for top honours in the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series looks set to go down to the wire with the pools for the penultimate round in London on May 25 and 26 confirmed.
It has been another intriguing series with teams searching for vital points in the hope of a top-four finish, and a golden ticket to next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Just 24 points separate leaders USA and fourth-placed South Africa. The latter will be looking for back-to-back successes after winning in Singapore last time out.
The Springboks will be in Pool A alongside Argentina, Canada and Japan. Last year’s London champions Fiji will begin their defence in Pool B alongside Samoa, Kenya and France. USA will take on Spain, Wales and Australia in Pool D.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) April 30, 2019
However, the most attention from the home crowd will be on Pool C, where familiar foes will once again do battle. Ireland will open against England in a rematch of the bronze medal match from last year, in which the unfancied Irish beat their English counterparts in their own back yard.
Ireland are once again participating as the invited team in the series. However, next year that won’t be the case, as they qualified for the series through their hard-fought win in the Hong Kong qualifiers.
There will also be stiff competition in the form of New Zealand and Scotland in Pool C, so it’s unlikely that England and Ireland will have it all their own way.
Speaking to the official governing body’s website, World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The penultimate round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London is set to be a thrilling event with the double significance of qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at stake alongside the race for the series title.
“Twickenham Stadium is always a special place for rugby players to perform and we look forward to another weekend of fast, skilful and highly entertaining rugby sevens in front of a large crowd in London.”