The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series returns to Los Angeles this weekend as Dignity Health Sports Park prepares to host two days of action.
From February 29 to March 1, 16 international rugby sevens teams will descend upon the California-based stadium which is home to LA Galaxy (MLS) and the LA Chargers (NFL).
With kick off closing in, the team captains from every competing nation gathered at the Manhattan Beach Pier to officially launch the tournament in true Californian style.
The hosts will be looking to win their third straight title on home soil after victories in the finals at both the 2018 and 2019 events in Las Vegas where the USA round of the series was held previously.
Reminiscing on their past wins, USA captain Madison Hughes said: “We all know that every tournament is a new tournament and every game is a new game, so nothing that’s happened in the past guarantees anything, but it would be pretty cool to be able to win three home tournaments in a row.
“The last few years have been magical weekends but now we’ve got to go out there and see if we can do it again.”
As the fifth round of the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020, the HSBC LA Sevens is the largest rugby event in the USA; a country where rugby is experiencing exponential growth with the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco attracting a record attendance for a rugby event in the USA of over 100,000 fans.
Series leaders New Zealand can’t wait to get things underway at this exciting new tournament with captain Tim Mikkelson commenting that fans can expect some exciting games this weekend.
“Our pool game against England is going to be huge – they’ve got pace to burn all over the field,” he said.
“They’ve got Dan Norton out wide who has scored the most tries ever, so we’ve got to contain him and they’ve got a lot of big boys up front who are pretty physical so we’ve been working hard on our defence this week. If we can bring that into play this weekend, I think we’ll be in with a good chance.”
Play will be split across two days with all pool games taking place on Saturday, February 29 before the knock-out competition begins on Sunday.
The action gets underway at 09:45 local time (GMT -8) on Saturday when Pool D’s New Zealand take on Wales.
LA Sevens fixtures, Day One
Kick-offs local time (GMT -8 hours)
@09:45 New Zealand v Wales
@10:07 England v Spain
@10:29 Argentina v France
@10:51 Fiji v South Korea
@11:13 Ireland v Canada
@11:35 South Africa v Kenya
@11:57 Australia v Scotland
@12:19 USA v Samoa
@12:41 New Zealand v Spain
@13:03 England v Wales
@13:25 Argentina v South Korea
@13:47 Fiji v France
@14:31 Ireland v Kenya
@14:53 South Africa v Canada
@15:15 Australia v Samoa
@15:37 USA v Scotland
@15:59 Wales v Spain
@16:21 England v New Zealand
@16:43 France v South Korea
@17:05 Fiji v Argentina
@18:35 Canada v Kenya
@19:05 South Africa v Ireland
@19:35 Scotland v Samoa
@20:03 USA v Australia
With thanks to World Rugby