Following a fantastic weekend in Sydney, fans can expect much of the same excitement, skill and talent on display in Hamilton this weekend. We pick three specific things to look forward to over the weekend.
The excitement of the Blitzboks’ pool stage, semi and quarter final success at last weekend’s Sydney 7s was quickly shut down in the grand finale by an emphatic performance from the hosts as the Aussies walloped South Africa 29-0. However despite their final loss, the Blitzboks remain top of the table on the HSBC Sevens World Series standings by 4 points. They will be anxious to extend this lead and claim the Hamilton trophy. While they suffer two huge losses in the experience of Ruhan Nel and captain Philip Snyman, the exciting young prospects of SA Sevens Academy prodigies Zain Davids and Muller Du Plessis bolster their stocks. It will be nice to see them get some game time, although Du Plessis acts as the injury cover. Aside from that, fans can expect much of the same from the likes of Seabelo Senatla, Rosko Specman and Justin Geduld in terms of explosive speed and entertaining skill.
TIM MIKKELSON MAGIC
World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2013, New Zealand’s experienced and accomplished Tim Mikkelson will be relishing the opportunity to play in front of his home crowd in Hamilton. “It’s good to be back, anytime you come home it’s something special,” says Mikkelson, who will be playing in front of a sold out stadium which will welcome 50000 fans over the course of the weekend. Sitting on a career tally of 999 points, Mikkelson will be looking to break the 1000 mark emphatically. And where better than in front of a packed stadium of home crowd support?
While he gets mentioned in every build up to a Sevens weekend and raved about post them, it is not without justification. Baker continued his brilliant form in Sydney, topping the try scoring charts for the weekend with nine tries, and scoring a full-field stunner where both his pace and swerve were on display as he left defenders standing still. Baker was awarded the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year award in 2017 is already making a claim for it in 2018. Expect more of the same from the speedster, and maybe even better, as he clocked a top speed of 37km/ph in one of his tries last weekend and will most likely do so again.
In case you missed it: HSBC Sevens World Series “Sydney Dream Team”