Planet Rugby

Preview: London Sevens

08th May 2014 22:34

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Samisoni Viriviri fiji hong kong sevens

Top scorer: Samisoni Viriviri

The final round of this season's IRB Sevens World Series takes place at Twickenham this weekend, with New Zealand destined for the title.

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

Sir Gordon Tietjiens' men are on track for their fourth World Series title in a row, bar a disaster.

Even if New Zealand were to only win the Shield - to pick up three points - South Africa would have to win the whole tournament and accumulate 22 points for the two teams to finish level on 161.

They are also arriving in perfect form, having won the last two tournaments in Hong Kong and Scotland to go with titles in New Zealand and Australia. Their worst tournament was finishing fourth in Japan.

There would appear therefore to be little stopping them. Tim Mikkelson, last year's Player of the Season, is up for the award again having racked up 31 tries - although that's some way behind Samisoni Viriviri's 48.

Fiji's win in Dubai looked set to kickstart their season but their other success in Japan aside there have been three 3rd placed finishes in the last four tournaments. Ben Ryan will return to Twickenham for the first time since his time with England came to an end and his journey with Fiji began. They are obviously contenders.

South Africa are too, but the Blitzbokke have been hit by injuries to three key players in captain Kyle Brown - also nominated - along with Stephen Dippenaar and Cecil Afrika.

On their day with the right squad South Africa are world beaters, but after back-to-back triumphs in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas two second-placed finishes have followed along with little else. Their performance in Scotland was their worst of the season, only reaching the semi-finals of the Plate.

England will be there or thereabouts on home soil, having brought back the experience of Chris Cracknell, Christian Lewis-Pratt and Mat Turner. Tom Mitchell - the tournament's top points scorer, captain and final nominee - has been outstanding all season.

You would expect one of those four to lift the trophy on Sunday, but don't rule out Australia or Canada. Seeing Phil Mack's men reach the final in Glasgow was a landmark moment for the competition - proof that global growth in this form of the game can truly happen.

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