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Twickenham plays host to London Sevens and 100,000 rugby supporters

16 of the world’s best sides will compete for the main prize this weekend but there is still no sign of Ireland.

English supporters at the Hong Kong Sevens earlier this year.
English supporters at the Hong Kong Sevens earlier this year.
Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

TWICKENHAM WILL PLAY host to more than 100,000 rugby supporters this weekend as part of the London Sevens tournament.

Captains of the 16 nations set to compete in the final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series gathered at the London Eye on Wednesday to officially launch the event.

While the London Sevens will feature top sides such as New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa, last year’s winners, Ireland will be represented in neither the men’s or women’s competitions.

The IRFU has appointed a Women’s Sevens coach, Jon Skurr, but have not fully engaged in the men’s format for a decade.

They currently lie outside the world’s top 25, behind countries such as Morocco and Papua New Guinea.

Spine-tingling

England captain Rob Vickerman believes the faces of international opponents ‘fill with awe’ at being in London. He added:

My last memories of Twickenham are winning it in 2009 and that was with 60,000 people there over the weekend, so the thought of having 100,000 there over the weekend is spine-tingling.

England Rugby Union’s professional rugby director, Rob Andrew said: “The London Sevens event has become one of our biggest events at Twickenham. The tournament’s growing … it’s become a big part of the rugby calendar.”

Olympic sport

The IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup is being played alongside the men’s competition for the first time in London, adding an Olympic flavour to proceedings four years out from Rugby Sevens’ debut in 2016.

The 16 captains line-up with the trophy at The London Eye. (IRB Sevens)

“From the top of the London Eye you can just about make out London’s new Olympic venues, which serves of a stark reminder that Rugby Sevens makes its own Olympic debut in Rio in just four years’ time,” said Beth Coalter, IRB Sevens tournament director.

New Zealand are currently 11 points clear of Fiji in the race to the world series title. England currently lie in third, ahead of South Africa, Samoa and Australia.

* The action unfolds on Sky Sports this Saturday and Sunday

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