The opening day of HSBC SVNS in Cape Town witnessed the very best of rugby sevens with the top 12 men’s and women’s teams in the world showcasing their talents and feeding off the vibrant energy emanating from the stands at the DHL Stadium.
There were fireworks on and off the pitch as the new era of rugby sevens continued to bring the feel good factor at the second round of HSBC SVNS 2024, following the season opener in Dubai last weekend, which was won by South Africa men and Australia women.
South Africa’s Blitzboks continued where they left off in the men’s competition with wins over Great Britain and USA securing their place in the quarter-finals before going down to Ireland in the last match of a thrilling day, which means the hosts face Australia in the quarter-finals on Sunday morning.
The other men’s quarter-finals see Argentina play Canada, Ireland face New Zealand and Fiji take on France.
The men’s tournament has been reduced from 16 to 12 teams in the new SVNS format this season and the increased intensity was evident on day one as last season’s title winners New Zealand suffered a pair of defeats to Canada and Samoa.
However the All Blacks Sevens still managed to scrape through to the quarter-finals thanks to a convincing win over rivals Australia, meaning last year’s Cape Town winners Samoa fail to reach the quarter-finals.
In pool B Fiji, Argentina and France all recorded two wins and a loss to reach the quarter-finals and Los Pumas’ veteran Gastón Revol is celebrating playing his 100th tournament. Revol said: “I’m really proud of everything that has happened over the years. I’m most happy because of the win today. The present is always the most important thing so it’s very good for the 100, but we are here now in Cape Town, we want to go game by game.”
South Africa have unearthed a new talent in Quewin Nortje as they set out on their quest for a first home title since 2015. The flyer added two more tries to the four he scored on debut in Dubai last week, as they beat Great Britain 19-5 in the opener.
“It’s such a privilege to be here. A first Cape Town sevens is just an incredible experience,” Nortje said after making his first appearance in front of his home supporters.
Earlier in the day the women’s competition saw Australia, France and reigning Series and Cape Town champions New Zealand show their class to cruise through to the quarter-finals unbeaten.
Australia’s try machine Maddison Levi scored her 100th sevens try as the Dubai champions won three from three on the opening day.
Levi added another five touchdowns to the 12 she scored last weekend, to reach 100 tries in just 15 tournaments as the Australians set out their stall for a first-ever sevens series win in South Africa.
Australia will face Ireland in the second quarter-final on Sunday, while New Zealand take on Canada, France will meet Fiji, and Great Britain will play USA.
Levi described becoming the fastest Australian player to reach 100 sevens tries as ‘insane’, after ensuring quarter-final qualification with a double in their third and final match.
“I guess we always do really well in Dubai and coming to Cape Town, we’ve never won here,” she said. “We won the World Cup here, I guess it’s motivation to prove that we can do it on this soil. But we’ll take it as it comes.”
Meanwhile, away from the pitch, getting the party going was the massively popular DJ Zinhle. With an Instagram following of 5.3 million, South Africa’s queen of the dancefloor has claimed the title of the continent’s number one female DJ for the past four years.
While she was setting the vibe at the Beach Club, comedian Rob van Vuuren ensured the fun didn’t stop with a dance off on the Sun Stage while the beat kept going with African Djembe Drumming in the Love Garden with several more artists adding to the incredible line-up.
“It was so amazing. I didn’t think it was going to be this vibe. It’s like I’m at Miami Beach,” said DJ Zinhle. “You would never even say we were at a sports event. I thought I was in Miami doing a sunset show. It was so nice, really nice… The [South African] game ended and the people came through and were ready to party. That’s amazing, that’s insane – I’ll do it over and over again.
“It’s so good, it’s sunshine, people are happy, people are having fun and it’s safe and secure – it’s amazing, I love it.”
The action continues from 09:00 local time (GMT+2) on Sunday with the quarter-finals, and concludes with the women’s and men’s finals at 18:43 and 19:23 respectively.
Tickets for finals day on Sunday at the DHL Stadium are available from R150 at Ticketmaster here.
Fans can watch the HSBC SVNS action wherever you are in the world, either via broadcaster partners or online on Rugby Pass TV. All matches taking place on pitch two in Cape Town will be live streamed on Rugby Pass TV.
The HSBC SVNS 2024, World Rugby’s revamped and rebranded global celebration of rugby sevens, is taking place across eight iconic destinations and is set to supercharge the sport’s global appeal.
The new look HSBC SVNS 2024 features seven regular season events – in Dubai, Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore – before the Grand Final in Madrid. The top eight placed teams based on cumulative series points after seven events will compete in the new ‘winner takes all’ Grand Final, where the women’s and men’s SVNS champions will be crowned.
Madrid will also play host to the high stakes relegation play-off competition where teams ranked ninth to 12th will join the top four teams from the World Rugby Sevens Challenger, with the top four placed teams securing their place on HSBC SVNS 2025.
The reimagined competition model means fans can expect even more excitement, entertainment and nail-biting jeopardy. And with the clock counting down until rugby sevens kicks off the Olympic Games in Paris on 24 July 2024, the action will be hotter than ever on and off the pitch.
In line with World Rugby’s commitment to grow the women’s game, all HSBC SVNS events will see men’s and women’s teams sharing the platform equally to showcase their incredible strength, speed and skill on the biggest stages around the world.
HSBC SVNS events are bringing the ultimate in immersive experiences, a unique festival of sport, entertainment, music, culture and cuisine alongside the world’s best men’s and women’s athletes set against the spectacular backdrops of some of the most stunning locations around the globe.
The stage is set for an exciting finale in Cape Town on Sunday.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Rugby.