The final squads for the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens at the National Stadium have been announced 24 hours before kick-off on Saturday 13 April.
Singapore is the eighth leg of the ten-round HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the USA currently sit at the top of the series standings with 130 points.
Alongside second placed Fiji (123 points) and third placed New Zealand (118 points), they have an opportunity to secure qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this weekend in Singapore, by ensuring a top-four position in the series standings at the end of the season.
Mike Friday, USA Head Coach said: “For the USA, Olympic qualification is everything. Our sole focus has been about Olympic qualification. We understand the competition and the history of these traditional rugby sevens nations like Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa, England and Australia. For the USA to gate crash and be a part of that party is something that we are insanely proud of but also we recognise the company that we keep, so we keep our feet grounded, we stay focused on the process – which is trying to get Olympic qualification and we’ll see where we are at the end of Singapore.”
The pool draw sees reigning Singapore title holders Fiji face South Africa, Scotland and Canada in Pool A. In Pool B France will be looking to continue their fine form following two consecutive cup final appearances and are up against Argentina, Australia and Hong Kong. Pool C sees series leaders USA take on England, Kenya and Wales, while in Pool D third placed New Zealand are drawn with Samoa, Japan and Spain.
Gareth Baber, Fiji Head Coach said: “The players have worked extremely hard. We have got some young players in there and in Hong Kong we saw debutantes who were phenomenal. When faced with challenges in the group stages last weekend, they overcame it and produced some scintillating rugby. They were pushed all the way by the competition that was there and has been all season. Mike Friday has done a great job with the USA but equally the coaches of England, South Africa, New Zealand and all the other teams, they have pushed the competition level up game by game.”
The action gets under way in Singapore on Saturday at 10:00 local time (GMT+8) when New Zealand and Japan take to the pitch under the roof of the impressive National Stadium.
Tickets for the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens are available and on sale from $19 for youth and $39 for adults and can be purchased via the Singapore 7s website www.singapore7s.sg