Ruthless Sevens World Cup schedule announced
The Blitzboks could face fellow Africans Kenya in the last eight of the Sevens World Cup to be held in San Francisco in July this year after the format was confirmed on Tuesday.
Unlike World Series tournaments‚ where 16 teams are split into Pool of four‚ the World Cup is a ruthless straight knockout competition.
There is no room for error at the cutthroat event‚ raising the potential for some spectacular upsets.
As number one seeds by rankings accumulated after the 2016/17 World Sevens Series and the first seven rounds of the 2017/18 series‚ the Blitzboks have a bye into the round of 16 where they will face the winner of Ireland against Chile.
Kenya have to play a preliminary round match against Tonga‚ with Scotland waiting for the winners in the last 16.
With 24 teams entered in the men’s draw‚ the top eight seeds – SA‚ Fiji‚ New Zealand‚ England‚ USA‚ Australia‚ Argentina and Scotland – all avoid the preliminary round.
Should the Blitzboks advance to the semi-finals‚ they will in all likelihood play against either England or hosts the USA. The draw sees them avoid Fiji and New Zealand until the final.
Those two Pacific giants of the sevens game are set to meet in the semi-final if all goes according to seeding.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “The release of the match schedule marks another exciting step on the journey to the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco.
“Fans can now begin to plan their tournaments and teams can focus on their prospective opponents.
“There has never been a more competitive HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series than this year’s edition‚ with five different winners in the first five rounds in the men’s series‚ and only 16 points separating the top four nations in the women’s series‚ we are all set for a great showcase of the drama and excitement of rugby sevens at the first Rugby World Cup event ever to be held in the USA.”