Former England Sevens captain Rob Vickerman previews this weekend's HSBC London Sevens.
"HSBC London Sevens is approaching this weekend, and the teams are staying in the heartbeat of Kensington already filling their timelines on social media with the tourist attractions accustomed to the country’s capital. There is a sense of excitement around as the players always suggest that a run out at the home of England Rugby and an iconic stadium the world over is a real highlight of the Sevens Series."
Who’s GoT the top spot
The Game of Thrones’ Seven Kingdoms has been a topic of conversation globally, but now it is time to focus on the King of the Sevens and the Throne at Twickenham.
There is a battle at both the top and bottom of the table and that makes an already exciting format set to be even more gripping for the duration of the 45 games set to be played on the hallowed turf on a bank holiday weekend. There are few better equations to provide an enriched sporting event coupled with an expected forecast of sun beaming down over both days.
At the top, just three points separate leaders USA and Fiji – and with 22 points for a win on offer dropping down to 19 for second you can see just how tight this makes it. Conversely, just four points separate the bottom three and with Wales in the mix with Japan and Kenya, they will be hoping for a performance worthy of this year’s Wales Grand Slam winners.
Big Red’s Sign Off
James Rodwell has had an emotional announcement of his retirement, backed up with a stunning video depicting him leaving the game, love and life that he has known for over 10 years.
As someone who played alongside ‘Rodders’ over many years I can say with absolute belief that his longevity, durability and sheer dedication are a testament to an incredible achievement of not only being the most capped sevens player, but for having the longest consecutive run of series legs.
Both of which, perhaps one day surpassed, are honours that will never retire from his impressive accolades. He will take away some special memories, none more so at Twickenham when his big arm and even bigger hand created a small vortex when celebrating in front of the jammed south stand as he scored a crucial try in the magnificent comeback victory from 19-0 down in the final against New Zealand in 2009. Let us hope he can finish on such highs once more.
Six Nations in Summer conditions?
The England fans will be in for a treat as the pool match-ups whet the appetite seeing not only long time foes New Zealand pitch their all black against the home team’s white – but add to that the prospect of Scotland and Ireland. Both of these teams have history in London, Scotland incredibly taking two recent titles in successive years and Ireland gaining a bronze against England with a last-play kick last year – as they were once again invited to the tournament as a 16th team.
We are going to welcome this impressive Irish team onto the ‘Travelling Circus’ next year, and as many will witness this weekend, they have a team more than worthy of it. Jordon Conroy and Terry Kennedy are two names that will match the pace of England’s very own superstar, Dan Norton.
Burgo’s big 50
Lastly, the shout-outs must continue as absent regular captain Tom Mitchell sees Phil Burgess take the armband in what will be his 50th event.
#England7s captain for the weekend on his 50th @WorldRugby7s appearance— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 23, 2019
It's going to be a weekend to remember for @Philip__Burgess.
This is his story: https://t.co/f4tX4c4xdG pic.twitter.com/4QALlzq83U
Phil personifies a Sevens forward as he has the pace, power and agility of any back in XVs, yet puts the hard work in doing the deeds many would not dare to on the ground.
With five players making their London Sevens debut; and the subsequent emotions and pressure that can entail, this young team needs to be led well, and who better to follow than Rodwell and Burgess.