Lucky number 7s

Excitement and big hits – as Sydney prepares for round four of the HSBC World Series, Rugby Sevens.

International, 15-man rugby union has, over the last few years, seemingly done its level best to drive all but the most hardened fans away from the game. The constant tinkering with the rules, the speculative kicking duels and the constant re-packing of scrums (not to mention the collapse of a once proud Australian side) has done little to attract a new generation of fans to what is a truly great sport. Until now that is anyway. Rugby Sevens has fast become the most popular incarnation of the sport, with its shorter halves and focus on entertaining, running rugby and scoring of tries. And, of course, on the party atmosphere encouraged in the crowd. The HSBC World Series also takes various teams from around the globe to various exotic locales like Dubai, Vancouver, Singapore and Las Vegas, taking the colourful atmosphere with it, wherever it goes. The HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series kicked off in Dubai early December. Round three in Wellington is now firmly behind us, so we wait with anticipation for round four in Sydney 6 - 7 February. All the passion, vibrant colour and excitement of players and supporters from countries all around the globe will be on show. This is one party that you don’t want to miss. So, before round four kicks off on February 6th we’re going to try and preview the thing as best we can. Take a look at the likely winner on the field as well as all the fun and excitement that will happen off of it. Should be a bit of fun.

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The final countdown Right, let’s get the important bit out of the way first – the issue of which nation is going to win the tournament. See, now, that’s a bit of a tough one. In this humble scrivener’s opinion there are only two real teams in the race when it comes to who will be crowned champion, but deciding between the two is a much less cut-and-dried decision. Surely the final will come down to the two powerhouses of International Sevens, the vigour, pace and flair of the Fijian side and the clinical precision and discipline of New Zealand. These two nations have come to dominate the seven-a-side version of the game, almost since its inception and deciding between the two is extremely difficult. It will really come down to a matter of which team turns up best on the day. Fiji did of course win this competition again last year but you just never know. Keep an eye out for Savenaca Rawaca, he’s burst on the scene for Fiji last season and has built on that form over the first two rounds of 2015-16. While, for the Kiwis, get behind Sam Dickson, he could hold the key to New Zealand’s hopes of wresting the title from Fiji as so many of New Zealand's players seem to be suffering injury.

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Coolest team award This one is a bit easier – it’s got to be Argentina. Los Pumas play the game of rugby with a kind of laconic elegance and abandon that can only come from being born in South America and speaking Spanish. They are all practically male models as well. When Argentina previously bowed out of the competition, their lap of honour took the best part of half an hour and was met by howls of anguish from every woman in attendance. A fair few half-exposed bosoms were signed along the way. It's a tough life being young, rugged good looking and Argentinian, but hey, somebody has to do it! You can always guarantee that the Argentine side will throw the ball around and try to put on a spectacle for their adoring fans when the whistle goes. They might not win every game they play, but you can bet they're going to put on a great show and have fun along the way!

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What to wear This is the best thing about the Sevens; you can (and indeed, are encouraged) to wear whatever the hell you want. The more interesting, colourful and funny the better! For example, we sent a delegation along from TNT to the Gold Coast 7s two years ago and they dressed up as Cotswold Morris Dancers. That made for quite a few amusing photographs, as I’m sure you can imagine. Amongst some of my favourites include a group of Smurfs in white, floppy caps and blue body paint, a couple of Avatars, a couple of pretty real looking Transformers and all the expected favourites, think Superman, Spiderman and the Hulk and Captain America. The possibilities are, quite literally, endless. It really comes down to how creative you and your friends can be! Put your heads together and have a little brainstorm, the better your costume is the more chance you have to win the ‘best Dressed Competition’ or get your photograph plastered all over the competition’s website.