Preview: Vancouver Sevens

Date published: March 12 2016

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Fiji lead the way ahead of South Africa and New Zealand as the Sevens World Series rolls into Canada this weekend.

Ahead of Round Six the captains of the participating teams fittingly gathered in front of a lit Olympic flame, with Sevens making its debut at the Games in Rio in August.

It's the first time Canada has hosted a men's world series event and all eyes are on BC Place this weekend with tickets almost all sold-out. 40 percent of the proceeds from the official tournament programme will also be donated to the Cyclone Winston relief fund in Fiji.

"It's been a long time coming having a home tournament," said Canada captain John Moonlight.

"A lot of people have put a lot of work in and it's great to finally be here. We had a glimpse of what a home tournament was like with the Pan American Games and that showed what the Canadian population can do.

"It was magnificent having that support and I think it'll be even bigger this weekend. We want to inspire young players by going out there and showing what we can do."

One player who knows what it takes to not only host, but win a tournament on home soil is South Africa's captain Kyle Brown, who paid tribute to the three new tournaments so far on the series.

"I must say I am pretty glad we are not in the same pool as Canada. Teams at home seem to be at 200 per cent. They bring a lot of emotion and passion, and they deliver," Brown said.

"It's great to be in Vancouver. The new tournaments have brought so much to the series this season, peaking with crowds and great energy. So I'm looking forward to it, and it's a beautiful stop."

Brazil are the invited team at the Canada Sevens, set to be played at BC Place under a closed roof for the first time in sevens history, and touching on the Olympics, New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens said: "We've been to Commonwealth Games before but going to an Olympics is the pinnacle, competing at the biggest sporting event in the world.

"It's a huge opportunity for all the teams there and to have a crack at a medal will be fantastic. Our sport is great, a missed tackle, a bad pass, it could cost  you a medal. So it will be huge, and we are aware we're not just competing as rugby but as nations too."

Series leaders Fiji make two changes from the side that won in Las Vegas with Emosi Mulevoro and Sevuloni Mocenacagi replacing Vatemo Ravouvou and Amenoni Nasilasila.

Hosts Canada are the second most experienced of the 16 sides with 355 tournament events between them, one short of Kenya's total of 356.

Liam Middleton has brought in Lucas Hammond for Justin Douglas for the inuaugral event at BC Place, Vancouver, with John Moonlight captaining the hosts and Phil Mack set to play in his 51st tournament.

Elsewhere South Africa's Chris Dry will play in his 50th tournament, while Mike Friday has made four changes with Carlin Isles, Zack Test, WIll Holder and Make Unufe missing for round six of the series.

Kenya's Collins Injera is now just two tries behind Ben Gollings on the all-time leading try scorer list, and here's some other milestones to look out for this weekend.

Pools

Pool A: Fiji, Kenya, Samoa Portugal
Pool B: Australia, Wales, Russia, Canada
Pool C: South Africa, Argentina, Scotland, Brazil
Pool D: USA, New Zealand, France, England

Standings

1) Fiji – 91 points
2) South Africa – 86
3) New Zealand – 82
4) Australia – 73
5) USA – 64
6) Argentina – 64
7) England – 52
8) Kenya – 52
9) France – 36
10) Scotland – 32
11) Samoa – 31
12) Canada – 23
13) Wales – 22
14) Japan – 20
15) Russia – 12
16) Portugal – 9
17) Zimbabwe – 1

With thanks to the World Rugby Sevens website

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