The first event of 2023 kicks off next weekend with the return of HSBC New Zealand Sevens at FMG Stadium Waikato as the race to qualify for Paris 2024 heats up.
- HSBC New Zealand Sevens returns January 21-22
- The Black Ferns Sevens and the All Blacks Sevens are looking to defend titles won on home soil dating back to the last event held in 2020
- The Paris 2024 Olympic Qualifiers are at stake for the top four teams in the 2023 series
- The event starts at 09:10 local time (GMT+13) on Saturday, and the final on Sunday at 19:56
After a short break to the holiday season, the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series continues with HSBC New Zealand Sevens from January 21-22 to kick off what will be an exciting year for Rugby Sevens.
Hamilton marks the fourth event in a crowded men’s streak of 11 stops, with Samoa and South Africa currently leading the order, followed by New Zealand and the USA.
In the women’s competition, Hamilton marks the third stop in the 2023 series as contenders Australia and New Zealand are tied at the top of the standings after winning titles in Dubai and Cape Town, respectively. The United States and France lead the chase in the race for the top four spots.
Having been on New Zealand’s sporting calendar for more than two decades, this year’s tournament will see the addition of a second stadium alongside FMG Stadium Waikato to enable the full men’s and women’s draws to take place over two action-packed days.
The men’s group Hamilton draw sees Cape Town champions Samoa take their place in Pool A alongside Olympic champions Fiji, France and Kenya.
The hosts, New Zealand, were drawn into Group B alongside winners Great Britain and Australia, Hong Kong and the Tongan welcome team.
Cape Town bronze medalists USA lead Group C and will face Uruguay, Ireland and Japan on day one.
South Africa, cup winners in Dubai in December, are joined by Argentina, Spain and Canada in Group D.
“Teams will be looking to qualify for the Olympics, so we have to hit the ground running on Day One,” All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw said.
“The players can’t wait to get out on the field at FMG Stadium Waikato and perform their best in front of a huge home crowd for the last time. We are looking forward to it.”
View the 2023 Calendar series >>
In the women’s competition, New Zealand will face hosts Great Britain, Fiji and invitational team Papua New Guinea in Pool A.
Australia, looking to build on their impressive 2022 momentum in Hamilton ahead of the tournament at home in Sydney from January 27-29, top Pool B alongside France, Canada and Japan.
C combines features of the USA, Ireland, Brazil and Spain.
“To be back playing in a whenua world championship event since 2020 is very exciting. The team was looking forward to competing at home, in front of Wuhanau and the fans. It will be a memorable weekend for all of us,” said Black Ferns Sevens coach Corey Sweeney. Especially the players who will be taking the field for the last time in Hamilton.”
View the men’s match schedule >>
View the women’s match schedule >>
Global Head of Rugby Competitions and Performance Nigel Cass said: “We are excited to start what will be an exciting year of Rugby Sevens at the HSBC New Zealand Sevens in Hamilton next weekend in front of a home full of knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for rugby fans.
“With Paris 2024 Olympic qualification on the line this season for the men’s and women’s competitions, we know the action will be fierce at FMG Stadium Waikato from the opening game on Saturday morning to the final whistle on Sunday night.”
The weekend kicks off with South Africa against Canada in the men’s event on January 21 at 09:10 local time (GMT +13) in Pool D. Day one concludes with New Zealand and Great Britain facing off in the women’s event at 20:03.
Rugby sevens fans around the world can watch the action via live streaming on World Rugby digital platforms including www.world.rugby, YouTube and Facebook in countries where there is no national broadcaster covering the event.
For all tournament tickets, please visit www.sevens.co.nz