Whilst all rugby eyes have justifiably been on the British & Irish Lions Tour of Australia, it should be remembered that the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens is only three days away and sure to provide plenty of thrills and spills for fans of the fast-paced game.
Taking place in Moscow, Russia from 28th – 30th June, 24 nations from all corners of the rugby world will be competing for the top honour of holding aloft the Melrose Cup. For some this is their sole aim whilst for many of the competing players, simply qualifying has been their biggest achievement as they test themselves on the biggest stage in Rugby Sevens.
You would be excused for thinking that going into the competition and New Zealand would be reigning champions, after all they have dominated the Sevens scene with an unrivalled eleven World Series titles alongside countless other honours over the years. In fact it was Wales who triumphed against all the odds in 2009, 80-1 to be exact, as they even disposed of the Kiwis on the way to lifting the title. They certainly wont be sneaking under the radar this time round however and will have to overcome Fiji in their group to stand any chance of retaining their silverware.
Obviously everyone will be expecting New Zealand to emerge victorious and they enter the competition as overwhelming favourites. If you are a betting man though then South Africa are a tempting prospect, having finished runners-up in the 2013 Sevens World Series, whilst you can never count out the threat from the Pacific Islanders in the guise of Samoa and Fiji.
Representing the Northern Hemisphere and Wales aside, England enter the competition buoyed by recent impressive outings which included the Wellington Sevens title. The first winners of the Rugby Sevens World Cup can never be entirely ruled out and the colder conditions just may work in their favour.
Unlike the Rugby World Cup which lasts for weeks, all the Sevens action is over in a matter of days so come Sunday evening we will know who has claimed the Melrose Cup, named after the Scottish town where the first Rugby Sevens game was played.
Show support for your nation with Lovell Rugby’s collection of Sevens Rugby shirts which come in array of bold and colourful design to complement the non-stop action both on and off the rugby field.