The pools and schedule have been confirmed for the hotly anticipated HSBC Los Angeles Sevens as the speed, skill and athleticism of world class rugby sevens is set to raise the roof at the Dignity Health Sports Park from 29 February – 1 March, 2020.
The pools for @LASevensRugby on 29 February!
Who are you backing?
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) February 5, 2020
The USA will be aiming to win their third straight title on home soil having been victorious in thrilling finals at both the 2018 and 2019 series in Las Vegas.
The Los Angeles event is the fifth round on the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 and series leaders New Zealand will get proceedings under way against Wales in a Pool D fixture kicking off at 09:45 local time (GMT-8) on 29 February. Fourth placed England and Spain join the All Blacks Sevens in Pool D.
Hosts USA will enter the Los Angeles tournament with rising confidence following their first podium finish of the 2020 Series as they claimed bronze at the last round in Sydney. The USA Eagles Sevens are drawn in Pool C and will face Samoa and Scotland before bringing down the curtain on the pool phase against Australia in the final match of day one which kicks off at 20:03 local time.
South Africa are hot on the heels of New Zealand in the series standings with one gold and two silver finishes from the opening four rounds of the Series and they are set to play Ireland, Canada and Kenya in Pool B.
Pool A sees reigning Olympic Champions Fiji, who came roaring back to form with victory in Sydney, take on third placed France, Argentina and Korea who are the invitational team in Los Angeles.
In a repeat of last year’s format, the top two teams in each pool will qualify for the quarter finals on 1 March, followed by the semi-finals and finals with the gold medal match bringing the event to a rousing conclusion at 16:26. Teams finishing in the bottom two places in the groups will play for positions nine to 16 on day two of the tournament.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) February 2, 2020
World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said: “Following an outstandingly successful and record-breaking Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco, there is great excitement to see the best rugby sevens players in the world return to California and entertain what we expect to be a very engaged and international crowd at the Dignity Health Sports Park.”
“Rugby sevens is experiencing exponential global growth and as well as producing an incredible spectacle on the pitch, the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series reached all-time high fan engagement figures in 2019 with over 198 million video views, marking a 65 per cent increase on 2018.
“The USA is at the heart of the success story and their teams have made very strong progress in recent years with both men and women finishing runner-s up in the 2019 series. The USA teams will certainly be medal contenders at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which are now less than six months away. We look forward to working closely with Los Angeles, a future Olympic host city, as rugby sevens continues to win new fans and go from strength to strength.”
The move from previous host Las Vegas sees the two-day event head to the home stadium of the LA Galaxy (MLS) and the LA Chargers (NFL), Dignity Health Sports Park in California – the same venue earmarked to host rugby sevens in the LA 2028 Olympic Games.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 will serve as crucial build-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as rugby sevens prepares to make its second appearance in the Olympic Games programme following its successful introduction at Rio 2016, which attracted 30 million new fans to the shortened format of the game worldwide.