Sky Live: HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series - Singapore preview
Watch the action live on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event from 2.50am on Saturday
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 12/04/19 11:27am
After the enthralling action in Hong Kong, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series moves to Singapore this weekend, and going into the tournament, qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 is the hottest of talking points.
The two days of action in Singapore will take place at the National Stadium, live on Sky Sports, and marks the eighth round of the ten-stop world series.
This year, the world series is acting as the qualification pathway for countries into the 2020 Olympics - at the end of the series, the top four sides will book their places in Tokyo. Right now, only Japan have secured a place as the host nation.
With this tournament, plus the rounds in London and Paris still to come, the USA, Fiji, and New Zealand all have a chance to secure qualification ahead of schedule.
In Singapore, if any of the top teams finish the weekend in the world series standings ahead of the fifth-placed team by a margin of 43 points or more, they will achieve Olympic qualification with two rounds to spare.
Mike Friday's USA Eagles Sevens go into this tournament on top of the world series standings, seven points ahead of the rest.
The outfit have put themselves in that position due to their consistency from the word go. The side have secured four silver medals, one gold (at home in Las Vegas), and one bronze so far this term.
"We've got lots of confidence. We've just been going tournament by tournament, and doing as well as we can each time. It's another tough pool here, so we will have to play our best," said captain Madison Hughes.
"It's a big tournament [Singapore] and we would love to qualify here, but if not here, we will just keep pushing and doing everything we can to get that Olympic qualification."
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Standings - Top eight going into Singapore
|New Zealand||118 points|
|South Africa||99 points|
Behind them in the standings are the winners from Hong Kong last weekend - crowd favourites Fiji.
They mesmerised the world seven days ago, and are eager to go all the way again this weekend. Gareth Baber's men did the double at this point last year, and truly love these stops in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Behind them are New Zealand, and the defending HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions, South Africa, sit in fourth.
The equation for Tokyo 2020 qualification
If any of the top teams finish the weekend ahead of the fifth-placed team by a margin of 43 points or more in the world series standings, then they will have achieve Olympic qualification with two rounds to spare.
England are Team GB's designated qualification outfit, and they are currently ranked fifth overall. The side completed their work in Hong Kong with a sixth-place finish to their name.
Head coach Simon Amor has made just one amendment to his squad, as captain Tom Mitchell moves from being 13th man into their 12-player squad. Dan Bibby drops out after he picked up a shoulder injury on the last day at the Hong Kong Stadium. The new 13th man is 19-year-old Femi Sofolarin.
"With three rounds to go, the opportunities are there for us, and we're excited about the challenge, but we know it's not an easy one," said England's captain Mitchell. "We're going to do all we can do, and see what happens by the end of the season,"
Pools for HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series - Singapore
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C||Pool D|
|South Africa||Argentina||England||New Zealand|
At the other end of the world series standings, Wales are embroiled in a fight to retain their place as a core team on the world series.
Each year at the end of the season, the side that sit in 15th place are relegated from the competition and replaced by the team that won the qualifying tournament. In this case, that will be Ireland after their emphatic triumph at the qualifying tournament in Hong Kong last week.
As it currently stands, only three points divide the bottom three teams - Wales, Japan, and Kenya - so there's absolutely everything to play for at the National Stadium and again in London and Paris, where the series will reach its conclusion on June 1 and 2.