2017-18 World Sevens Series



  • Dates confirmed for HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2017-18 (men's tournament)

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    For some unknown reason, it always takes World Rugby ages to confirm the dates for the women's tournament, so these dates (and locations) haven't been announced yet.





  • @Stargazer said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    I thought that was always part of the re-jigged plan with the new coach etc.
    TBH we were a bit arrogant not to do this years ago, thinking our player's abilities would overcome organised teams pumping money and resources into training together. The ABs may be our first team but for some other countries their sevens team is more organised than their XVs.
    The Olympics changed a lot and we didn't change quick enough.



  • @Crucial said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    @Stargazer said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    I thought that was always part of the re-jigged plan with the new coach etc.
    TBH we were a bit arrogant not to do this years ago, thinking our player's abilities would overcome organised teams pumping money and resources into training together. The ABs may be our first team but for some other countries their sevens team is more organised than their XVs.
    The Olympics changed a lot and we didn't change quick enough.

    No, not a plan. It was the recommendation from Tietjens when he left (and a complaint that it hadn't happened already) and a wish from the new coach, but I don't think it had been decided yet.



  • Singapore and Hong Kong are both stand alone tournaments this time and not tacked together with each other in consecutive weekends like all the other ones.



  • Kinda weird seeing Hamilton in amongst all those other names.





  • New players contracted and the official start of a centralised Sevens programme! Well, for the men anyway. It doesn't say anything about the women's programme.

    With more than half of the 2017/18 squad finalised, Laidlaw has today confirmed Bailey Simonsson (Bay of Plenty) and Jona Nareki (Otago) among the new talent contracted for the 2017/2018 international season.
    
    Kurt Baker makes a return to the group, bringing back some valuable experience following sevens legend DJ Forbes’ retirement this year.  
    
    “There is some good young talent in Bailey Simonsson and Jona Nareki; and we’re hoping to lock in a few more as well. We need to be part of the New Zealand Rugby player development process and we are working hard with the Super Rugby Clubs and Provincial Unions to strengthen those pathways,” said Laidlaw. 
    
    This week marks the official start of a newly centralised Sevens programme, based in Tauranga. All contracted All Blacks Sevens players are now required to live near their base in the Bay of Plenty. 
    
    Laidlaw said a permanent, centralised base for the squad will provide countless benefits as they embark on their new era.  
    
    “Previously players would spend anywhere between 150-170 nights a year away from home. Centralisation will reduce this by up to 50 nights a year, delivering more time together but less time away from the important support networks of family and loved ones.” 
    

    http://www.allblacks.com/News/31580/all-blacks-sevens-assemble-at-new-home-base



  • It still doesn't quite sit right that we have a foreigner coaching the ABs...



  • Pools for the women's Dubai Sevens (Thu 30 November - Fri 1 December 2017):

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  • Pools for the men's Dubai Sevens (Fri 1- Sat 2 December 2017):

    alt text

    By the way, "INV" means invitational team and that is in this case Uganda.



  • Sherwin Stowers announces retirement from rugby

    Sevens stalwart Sherwin Stowers has today announced his retirement from professional rugby after a prominent career for the All Blacks Sevens and Counties Manukau Steelers.
    
    Stowers debuted for New Zealand as an 18-year-old in Dubai in 2004. Since then he has made 38 tournament appearances and scored 126 tries, the fourth-most by any New Zealand player. Stowers has four World Series victories, Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals and a World Rugby Sevens World Cup title to his name.
    
    Stowers said after achieving so much in his rugby career, the time was right to turn his focus to home.
    
    "I decided that after nine seasons with the All Blacks Sevens team it’s time to retire and focus on my family, and being a dad.
    
    "With two young kids at home I wasn’t able to give as much to them as I would have liked between training, recovery, camps and travel. I would be doing the team an injustice if I kept playing without giving 110 per cent which I have always strived to do."
    
    Stowers paid tribute to his family in remembering an exciting career in the black jersey.
    
    Outside of Sevens, Stowers played 78 matches for the Counties Manukau Steelers and he has 18 caps for the Blues Super Rugby club.
    

    http://www.allblacks.com/News/31627/sherwin-stowers-hangs-up-the-boots



  • @stargazer bugger, big loss. He's been excellent the last 2-3 years.



  • Will never forget Sherwin Stowers burning Lachie Turner on the outside in the 2010 Comm Games just weeks after Turner had won a promo 100m race for 'Australia's fastest athlete'





  • We all knew NZR was only paying lip service to Tietjens and the sevens programme. The failure at Rio is as much on Tew as the team and coaches.



  • @bovidae looking back I bet BB is glad he chose the ABs over the 7s as this was the period where he established himself as our #10 & helped the HUrricanes to a title.



  • In hindsight, yes, but my problem was the lack of honesty and transparency from Tew, Hansen and Foster about player availability. Tietjens' comments about the meeting confirms this.



  • @bovidae didnt Titch also want the players for extended periods of time, maybe if he was more flexible on this more may have made themselves available?

    Wonder if we will get a response from the other side to his story...?



  • This is why the two forms should be treated as separates so titch could plan for an AB less team and recruit accordingly. I guess it becomes even more difficult to acquire talent with super rugby WTGs taking marginal players too



  • Isn't the problem that ultimately no one really cares about sevens? The players just didn't value the Olympics that highly. A lot of players don't want to risk their careers for a one off tournament. Winning a gold medal would be a great achievement but it is no guarantee that the All Blacks would have made that happen.

    How weren't Tew or Hansen transparent?



  • Ben Smith on one weeks prep was still better than anyone else we had at that tournament.

    Maybe the NZRU could have been more helpful but Titch was foolish to play hard ball.



  • @frye am sure if they only needed to be in camp a week or 2, a number would have put up tier hands, but the longer term commitment was harder for them I expect as they are trying to establish thier AB career without stalling it for a year in 7s



  • Above all, I think, men's sevens has an image problem in NZ. Ever wondered why Richie McCaw is almost considered a deity in NZ, but not a successful 7s captain like DJ Forbes (six Sevens Series titles, a Sevens World Cup and two Commonwealth Games gold medals)? Why do large number of rugby players and rugby fans, including on the fern, consider sevens as a "lesser" version of rugby than XVs? If a player can get a professional XVs contract (particularly Super Rugby), that's what he'll prioritise, and he's lost to sevens. Even if he can earn a professional 7s contract. And that applies also to players who will never be good enough to become ABs. You don't have that in some other countries, where a professional XVs competition doesn't seem to have that impact. Clear example is South Africa, which has consistently performed well in the World Series. Only twice in the last ten seasons, they've finished outside the top 4 in the World Series (fifth & sixth).

    Changing that image should start at the top at NZR, and then trickle down. Not just their PR, but also anything that can enhance performance (like the centralisation that has only just been introduced this year), improve coaching, improve player selection and depth. If results improve, image will improve as well. Start winning, and more players will want to play the code and more rugby fans will appreciate the code. The thing is, NZR has never given sevens enough priority, probably because the financial return is lower. It's all about the money! Isn't it?

    What I've also noticed is that the AB7s had to release players with an NPC contract - for example, Koroi to Otago - before the Sevens Series had finished. That's ridiculous. SR players join their NPC team after SR has finished. There's no reason why the same can't apply to AB7s players. The last leg of the upcoming Series is early June 2018. That's also NZR's job.

    Another problem is player depth. In a rugby mad country like NZ there should be plenty of depth. The AB7s recruited a lot of new players last year, but the results were abysmal. Was that just a matter of bad selections and coaching? Or did they recruit mainly from XVs teams? I think they should start developing specialist sevens players much younger than is (maybe) the case now. I know secondary schools do play sevens tournaments and the condor sevens is a great example, but maybe there need to be more structured competitions like there are in XVs? And maybe a male equivalent of the Going for Gold programme that has unearthed so much talented women's sevens players (converting netball, league, football, touch players into sevens players)? Again, that's something NZR should work on.

    I've just been brainstorming in the previous paragraphs, but I think there's a lot more that NZR can do to improve the sevens game and its image. I'm convinced we don't need ABs or SR players to have a great and successful men's sevens team. But NZR must WANT it. Maybe they need an innovative board member especially for sevens?



  • @frye Sevens is a totally different game now so it's not that simple. I think Tietjens would be doing BFA, BB etc a disservice by selecting them with little or no preparation and tournament play to build combinations. Half-measures usually aren't successful.



  • @stargazer Sevens is a lesser game - it isn't comparable with 15s and never will be in NZ, that's why DJ isn't a deity.

    Quite frankly for me personally, while I want the 7s team to do well I care more about AB pathways than 7s pathways. If 7s helps the ABs then all good, but I don't want the ABs to suffer because of 7s.



  • @stargazer said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    Above all, I think, men's sevens has an image problem in NZ. Ever wondered why Richie McCaw is almost considered a deity in NZ, but not a successful 7s captain like DJ Forbes (six Sevens Series titles, a Sevens World Cup and two Commonwealth Games gold medals)? Why do large number of rugby players and rugby fans, including on the fern, consider sevens as a "lesser" version of rugby than XVs? If a player can get a professional XVs contract (particularly Super Rugby), that's what he'll prioritise, and he's lost to sevens. Even if he can earn a professional 7s contract. And that applies also to players who will never be good enough to become ABs. You don't have that in some other countries, where a professional XVs competition doesn't seem to have that impact. Clear example is South Africa, which has consistently performed well in the World Series. Only twice in the last ten seasons, they've finished outside the top 4 in the World Series (fifth & sixth).

    Changing that image should start at the top at NZR, and then trickle down. Not just their PR, but also anything that can enhance performance (like the centralisation that has only just been introduced this year), improve coaching, improve player selection and depth. If results improve, image will improve as well. Start winning, and more players will want to play the code and more rugby fans will appreciate the code. The thing is, NZR has never given sevens enough priority, probably because the financial return is lower. It's all about the money! Isn't it?

    What I've also noticed is that the AB7s had to release players with an NPC contract - for example, Koroi to Otago - before the Sevens Series had finished. That's ridiculous. SR players join their NPC team after SR has finished. There's no reason why the same can't apply to AB7s players. The last leg of the upcoming Series is early June 2018. That's also NZR's job.

    Another problem is player depth. In a rugby mad country like NZ there should be plenty of depth. The AB7s recruited a lot of new players last year, but the results were abysmal. Was that just a matter of bad selections and coaching? Or did they recruit mainly from XVs teams? I think they should start developing specialist sevens players much younger than is (maybe) the case now. I know secondary schools do play sevens tournaments and the condor sevens is a great example, but maybe there need to be more structured competitions like there are in XVs? And maybe a male equivalent of the Going for Gold programme that has unearthed so much talented women's sevens players (converting netball, league, football, touch players into sevens players)? Again, that's something NZR should work on.

    I've just been brainstorming in the previous paragraphs, but I think there's a lot more that NZR can do to improve the sevens game and its image. I'm convinced we don't need ABs or SR players to have a great and successful men's sevens team. But NZR must WANT it. Maybe they need an innovative board member especially for sevens?

    The reason sevens isn't popular is because it isn't a very exciting sport to watch. The nature of sevens means that a player like Carlin Isles can be considered one of the best while having a very limited skill set. Sevens requires tremendous fitness and most of the players who play the sport are great athletes. Yet I just can't get that excited about a length of the field try when you are only beating 7 players. Games often turn on a few moments and are highly influenced by refereeing decisions. I have watched whole halves where one team doesn't even touch the ball.

    You mention South Africa. South Africa seem to do better than us because they have better natural athletes. However, we have done far better than them over the past ten seasons. South Africa have been better over the past three but last season was the only one they were head and shoulders above us.

    Sevens seems to be in the same position that woman's rugby is in. How can it generate revenue? You only have ten tournaments a year and most of that money probably goes to World Rugby. You also have sixteen teams to provide for. If you want to have professional sevens players like DJ Forbes treated like Richie McCaw then you are just going to struggle to find the money to do that. Any funding of Sevens like womens rugby will probably never get that financial return. So you have to ask yourself, is the prestige from winning worth the financial cost and the opportunity cost of spending that money on the grassroots? For Sevens I think the answer is no.



  • @hydro11 My comparison of DJ Forbes and McCaw wasn't about pay. It was just an illustration of the wide gap between both codes as far as appreciation for the players and the game are concerned. In my opinion, that's - to a great degree - an image problem. You and @Nepia present it as facts that "sevens is a lesser game" or not "a very exciting sport to watch", but that's a very subjective opinion, even if it's shared by (many) others.

    I personally think the well-performing teams of the last few years, South Africa's and Fiji's men's teams and Australia's and our very own NZ women's teams are very exciting to watch. I like the fast-paced games and good teams, and I think they display more skills than great speed and strength alone (I don't think Isles is that good). If the NZ men could play like that, they'd attract more publicity, more sponsorship, and also more talent. But NZR needs to invest (not just money!) before they can reap the rewards.

    NZR must show that they take the game seriously, can be innovative by changing the training set-up and are willing to invest a bit more. It doesn't all revolve about player's pay, so it doesn't have to cost excessive amounts of money. I doubt other countries have thrown huge amounts at it. The reason why South Africa have done better than NZ the last few years is because the game has been changing and they have adapted better (I mentioned the permanent, centralised training base as an example). NZ used to be ahead of everyone, but didn't keep up with the developments in the sport. Complete lack of vision on the part of NZ.

    @hydro11 said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    South Africa seem to do better than us because they have better natural athletes.

    That's just a silly comment. We have plenty of excellent natural athletes as well; the Ioane brothers are probably the tip of the athletic iceberg in NZ. I think a lot of those athletes for some reason remain undiscovered or end up in other sports.

    Anyway, I don't think we'll agree on this. I think we can agree that improvements are necessary and better vision is needed to achieve those improvements.



  • Titch talking to Veitch here (starts 3.20 in to first link):

    http://120.138.20.16/WeekOnDemand/radiosport/2017.10.28-12.15.00-D.mp3

    http://120.138.20.16/WeekOnDemand/radiosport/2017.10.28-12.30.00-D.mp3

    A couple of random points.

    I have no doubt that the players that pulled out were influenced to do so by the All Blacks. That's pretty much been confirmed by all parties.

    That was wrong, especially Savea when he'd committed so heavily and been part of the team.

    On that basis I don't blamr Titch for being pissed off.

    Secondly we were ravaged by injury. Ben Lam was a huge blow, absolutely massive, Curry, DJ, SBW etc etc. As I heard Loosehead Len talking about later in the arvo you've got to have luck with injury in a tournament. He was actually referring to 2015 ABs (in response to moron and rugby hater Mark Watson ... but that's another story) but it applies durectly here.

    Thirdly, not being able to pick XVs players meant he was left with his 7s specialists who have done fantastically over the previous 22 years, so could/should have been able to produce better.

    In summary, swings and roundabouts, I have sympathy as I think it disrupted his campsign.



  • Hansen said BFA was keen to play 7s but didn't want to leave the Highlanders to do so, so with Ticth wanting him for such a long period, this was a problem.

    @Stargazer i think the reason McCaw is held higher than Forbes is no disrespect to Forbes, similarly any other sporting great in 'minority' sports in NZ they just don't have the profile and standing as rugby, is quite simple really.

    Bond and Murray, Ever-Swindells, Mannering, Adams, Carrington et al, legends in thier sport, and gain good attention from time to time but again just don't have the same profile in the NZ psyche that garners them the same status in the hearts and minds of so many.

    That's not to say they don't deserve it, just the media focus on rugby which is played 40 odd weeks a year is what drives it.



  • @booboo said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    Titch talking to Veitch here (starts 3.20 in to first link):

    http://120.138.20.16/WeekOnDemand/radiosport/2017.10.28-12.15.00-D.mp3

    http://120.138.20.16/WeekOnDemand/radiosport/2017.10.28-12.30.00-D.mp3

    A couple of random points.

    I have no doubt that the players that pulled out were influenced to do so by the All Blacks. That's pretty much been confirmed by all parties.

    That was wrong, especially Savea when he'd committed so heavily and been part of the team.

    On that basis I don't blamr Titch for being pissed off.

    Secondly we were ravaged by injury. Ben Lam was a huge blow, absolutely massive, Curry, DJ, SBW etc etc. As I heard Loosehead Len talking about later in the arvo you've got to have luck with injury in a tournament. He was actually referring to 2015 ABs (in response to moron and rugby hater Mark Watson ... but that's another story) but it applies durectly here.

    Thirdly, not being able to pick XVs players meant he was left with his 7s specialists who have done fantastically over the previous 22 years, so could/should have been able to produce better.

    In summary, swings and roundabouts, I have sympathy as I think it disrupted his campsign.

    As tr points out, this is disputed by Hansen. In regards to Ben Smith, Smith made it clear he was committed to his franchise and would only play Sevens if he didn't have to miss Super Rugby. Titch demanded four tournaments - Smith wasn't willing to meet those conditions and so he wasn't selected.

    I presume a similar thing happened with Ardie or Beauden. Obviously if you miss All Blacks tests and your replacement does well then you may find it difficult to get your spot back. That's just the reality.



  • @hydro11 said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    I presume a similar thing happened with Ardie or Beauden. Obviously if you miss All Blacks tests and your replacement does well then you may find it difficult to get your spot back. That's just the reality.

    The same risk applies with taking a sabbatical.



  • @stargazer said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    @hydro11 My comparison of DJ Forbes and McCaw wasn't about pay. It was just an illustration of the wide gap between both codes as far as appreciation for the players and the game are concerned. In my opinion, that's - to a great degree - an image problem. You and @Nepia present it as facts that "sevens is a lesser game" or not "a very exciting sport to watch", but that's a very subjective opinion, even if it's shared by (many) others.

    I personally think the well-performing teams of the last few years, South Africa's and Fiji's men's teams and Australia's and our very own NZ women's teams are very exciting to watch. I like the fast-paced games and good teams, and I think they display more skills than great speed and strength alone (I don't think Isles is that good). If the NZ men could play like that, they'd attract more publicity, more sponsorship, and also more talent. But NZR needs to invest (not just money!) before they can reap the rewards.

    NZR must show that they take the game seriously, can be innovative by changing the training set-up and are willing to invest a bit more. It doesn't all revolve about player's pay, so it doesn't have to cost excessive amounts of money. I doubt other countries have thrown huge amounts at it. The reason why South Africa have done better than NZ the last few years is because the game has been changing and they have adapted better (I mentioned the permanent, centralised training base as an example). NZ used to be ahead of everyone, but didn't keep up with the developments in the sport. Complete lack of vision on the part of NZ.

    @hydro11 said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    South Africa seem to do better than us because they have better natural athletes.

    That's just a silly comment. We have plenty of excellent natural athletes as well; the Ioane brothers are probably the tip of the athletic iceberg in NZ. I think a lot of those athletes for some reason remain undiscovered or end up in other sports.

    Anyway, I don't think we'll agree on this. I think we can agree that improvements are necessary and better vision is needed to achieve those improvements.

    The problem is that our best athletes all play rugby union. The NZRU could turn up to the NZ Track and Field Champs and offer someone a full time contract. However, it's a very small pool of players to choose from. We have athletes but I don't think we have players like Senatla, Afrika or Isles.

    It's not a fact that Sevens is a lesser game but it is a fact that most people think it is a lesser game. If you enjoy and find it exciting then that is fine.



  • @bovidae said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    @hydro11 said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    I presume a similar thing happened with Ardie or Beauden. Obviously if you miss All Blacks tests and your replacement does well then you may find it difficult to get your spot back. That's just the reality.

    The same risk applies with taking a sabbatical.

    That's a fair point but you only take a sabbatical when you are established. Beauden and Ardie were trying to establish themselves in 2016.



  • Shag knocks it on the head. Ben Smith would play but not if he had to play 4 WS rounds. Titch made his choice and Ben Smith made his, according to Shag



  • The squabble over those players is a bit of a red herring for me.

    Hansen and Titch should be advocating as strongly as possible for their respective programs and the whole point of guys like Sorenson and Tricker ensure the best outcome - where they failed big time.

    Titch said the first meeting to sit down and plan the AB involvement was in mid 2015 - directly after a test.

    Seems awfully late to start planning for the Olympics and a less than ideal for Hansen to consider it a month out from RWC.



  • @rotated said in 2017-18 World Sevens Series:

    The squabble over those players is a bit of a red herring for me.

    Hansen and Titch should be advocating as strongly as possible for their respective programs and the whole point of guys like Sorenson and Tricker ensure the best outcome - where they failed big time.

    Titch said the first meeting to sit down and plan the AB involvement was in mid 2015 - directly after a test.

    Seems awfully late to start planning for the Olympics and a less than ideal for Hansen to consider it a month out from RWC.

    The point is that Sorenson and Tricker have no power to force players to do anything. As I understand it, Titch created a list of names and few people on that list wanted to play. The real question is should the NZRU force All Blacks to play 7's. If your answer is no, then what could they have done differently?

    I imagine the planning had started earlier. That specific meeting was to nut out which players Titch would target. It would seem strange to me to get specific players to play in the Olympics more than a year before. You don't even necessarily have everyone contracted at that stage and lots could change between then and the Olympics.



  • He could have chosen a decent team from all of the players below all Black level. He went for the cream of the crop when there were players just as good at the lower level.



  • Damien MacKenzie would be an amazing 7s player.



  • Did he ask for Ioane brothers? Or did they stay with the blues.....


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