Fans of rugby sevens are in for a treat in April with the resumption of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 and joint Rugby World Cup 2022 Sevens/Commonwealth Games qualifiers taking place on two continents.

There are two men’s tournaments on the World Series this month – in Singapore (9-10 April) and Vancouver (16-17 April) – and one on the women’s circuit in Langford, Canada (30 April-1 May).

The jamboree of sevens will also involve Nassau in the Bahamas as the host city for the Rugby Americas North (RAN) men’s and women’s qualification tournaments for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in Cape Town and the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.

While those two competitions will run concurrently, on 23-24 April, the Rugby Africa qualification tournaments for the same two marquee events will be staged separately and at different slots in the calendar.

Fourteen men’s teams will compete for tickets to Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Commonwealth Games in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, on 23-24 April, while Tunisia hosts nine women’s teams, on 29-30 April.

Blitzboks remain the team to beat

As the fifth of nine tournaments, the HSBC Singapore Sevens will be the midway point of this year’s World Series.

For South Africa, the hope is they will be able to pick up from where they left off – as the Series’ dominant force – and further extend their 18-point lead at the top of the standings.

The Blitzboks have won all four tournaments in this Series, as well as the two before it, and a fifth title would make it very difficult for their rivals to reel them in.

It is more than two years since Neil Powell’s brilliant all-round team last tasted defeat on the Series, a run that dates back to Vancouver in March 2020 and amounts to 34 matches.

Following the announcement of the draw, Canada will be the first team to try and stop that remarkable run in its tracks.

Following on from Singapore comes the HSBC Canada Sevens, a tournament that South Africa have fond memories of following their win there in the first of two Canadian tournaments that made up the 2021 World Series.

Then, two weeks later (30 April–1 May), it is the turn of the women to turn on the style, as the Canadian rugby stronghold of Langford hosts the penultimate leg of their six-tournament World Series.

Australia’s women have almost been as imperious as South Africa’s men, winning three of the four Cup titles on offer, to also hold an 18-point lead at the top of the standings.

The 2016 Olympic champions’ only slip-up to date came in Malaga in January when they had to settle for the bronze medal, USA and Russia making the final instead.