Sixteen men’s and 12 women’s captains lined up side-by-side today in front of the famous ‘Thinker’ sculpture at the Rodin Museum in Paris ahead of the final round of the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The Stade Jean Bouin will host three days of thrilling rugby sevens action from 8-10 June as the world series comes to an exciting climax with both men’s and women’s titles still all to play for.
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There has never been more competitive series’ than this year. With Fiji only seven points clear of South Africa at the top of the men’s standings, and Australia leading arch rivals New Zealand by just four points in the women’s standings the stage is set for an epic finale to the series in Paris.
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Australia captain Shannon Parry is looking forward to fighting for the women’s series title: “We are able to control our own destiny, which is where we want to be. We’re really looking forward to finishing the series on a positive note here in Paris and then it’s only six weeks until the Rugby World Cup Sevens so it’s a very exciting year.
“The French crowd are always very vocal and have really embraced women’s rugby so hopefully playing alongside the men here in Paris we can get a really good crowd. We’re really looking forward to kicking off the tournament on Friday.”
Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai was in confident mood after four successive tournament victories: “All the boys are really good and are training right now to get ready. We have a lot of respect for South Africa and the teams in our pool, but we’re focusing on one game at a time.”
The reigning Olympic champions are in fine form heading into the series finale, having beaten South Africa 21-17 to take gold in London last weekend. “Everything (coach) Gareth (Baber) is teaching us is helping us get to a point where we are playing good rugby and we’re excited for Paris,” said Tuwai. “We are playing in the way we want to and our focus is very much on Paris right now.”
The action gets underway at 14:00 local time on Friday (GMT+2) with New Zealand taking on England in the women’s event. The men’s competition begins on Saturday with Australia facing Wales in the first game of the day at 09:00 local time (GMT+2).
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