Pivotal pool matches await the Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens teams on day one of the hotly anticipated and final HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton on January 21-22.
The last World Sevens Series to be held in New Zealand, the Hamilton Tournament sees the Black Ferns Sevens pooled with Fiji, Great Britain and Papua New Guinea and the All Blacks Sevens with Great Britain, Australia and Tonga.
Having been on New Zealand’s sporting calendar for more than two decades, the tournament will see the addition of a second playing field next to FMG Stadium Waikato to enable the full men’s and women’s draws to be played over two action-packed days.
37 South Managing Director and Tournament Promoter Dallas Fisher is looking forward to seeing Hamilton filled with fans ready for a weekend of action-packed Sevens matches and summer festival fun. “This is the last opportunity for kiwis to attend the iconic New Zealand Sevens Tournament, with tickets still available to purchase to attend either one or both days.”
Home teams will arrive in Hamilton over the coming week after strong performances during the previous round in Cape Town.
“Teams will be looking to build towards Olympic qualification, so we have to hit the ground running on day one,” All Blacks Sevens Head Coach Clark Laidlaw said.
“The players can’t wait to get out on the field at FMG Stadium Waikato and put on their best performance in front of a big home crowd one last time. We are looking forward to it,” finished Laidlaw.
The Black Ferns Sevens will be eager to impress in Hamilton where they will be playing in front of a home crowd for the second and final time in a HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event, following 2020’s tournament.
“To be back playing in a world series event on our whenua since 2020 is incredibly exciting. The team has been looking forward to competing on home turf, in front of their whānau and fans. It’s going to be a memorable weekend for all of us, especially the players who will be taking the field for the final time in Hamilton,” Black Ferns Sevens Head Coach Cory Sweeny said.
Nigel Cass, World Rugby Chief Competitions and Performance Officer said: “We are excited to kick off what will be a thrilling year for Rugby Sevens at the HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton next weekend in front of a packed house of knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate rugby fans. With Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification on the line this season for both men’s and women’s competitions, we know the action will be fierce at FMG Stadium Waikato from the opening match on Saturday morning to the final whistle on Sunday evening.”
Hamilton is the fourth round of the current series, which the Black Ferns Sevens lead alongside Australia following their impressive victory in Cape Town in December.
The pool draw for the women’s event at FMG Stadium Waikato sees Ireland and Brazil get the tournament under way on Saturday, 21 January, at 10.38am in Pool C, with the Black Ferns Sevens taking the field for the first time against Pool A opponents Papua New Guinea at 11.44am.
The Black Ferns Sevens will also play Fiji on day one before rounding out the women’s pool play against Great Britain at 8.03PM in the final game of the day.
Australia women’s is grouped with France, Canada and Japan in Pool B. The USA will be aiming for their third podium finish and are in Pool C with Ireland, Brazil and Spain. The men’s schedule sees series co-leaders (alongside Samoa) South Africa kicking off day one against Canada. While hosts the All Blacks Sevens play Tonga at 10.16am, then Australia at 2.06pm and finish against Great Britain on Field Two at 7.35pm.
Series co-leaders Samoa is in Pool A together with Pacific Island neighbours Fiji as well as France and Kenya. Pool C includes the USA, Uruguay, Ireland and Japan. South Africa, winners in Dubai last year, are in Pool D with Argentina, Spain and Canada.
Chemist Warehouse New Zealand CEO, Azman Haroon, is also thrilled to announce an exciting partnership.
“Chemist Warehouse is on-board as the official Wellness sponsor of the iconic HSBC New Zealand Sevens in 2023. As the House of Wellness, Chemist Warehouse is dedicated to providing customers around Aotearoa with everyday health, beauty, lifestyle and wellness solutions at the most affordable price each and every day. We cannot wait to engage with fans, provide a fun and interactive wellness experience and support the Rugby 7’s this year! With a shared focus on fitness, family and wellbeing, we are well aligned.
“We are proud supporters of sport at all levels and are passionate about ensuring all Kiwis continue to get well, stay well and live well! We cannot wait for this year’s event!”
View the full HSBC New Zealand Sevens schedule here
For all tournament information and tickets, please visit www.sevens.co.nz