The ninth and penultimate round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series gets under way on Saturday at Twickenham Stadium in London and the squads for the 16 competing nations have been confirmed.
With the top four teams separated by only 37 points the competition is more intense than ever before. At the top of the table Fiji hold a slender four-point advantage over second placed South Africa in the series standings after three successive victories in the last three rounds.
In Pool A Fiji are paired with New Zealand, who lie in third place in the series standings, as well as Scotland who are the reigning London Sevens champions and will be going for a hat-trick after having been victorious at Twickenham Stadium in 2017 and 2016. Argentina complete Pool A with Juan Rosas Paz making his debut for the South Americans.
Pool B sees Australia, who are currently in fourth position in the series standings take on Spain, Wales and Ireland, who are the invitational team joining the 15 core teams on the series for the London round. Spain will give a debut to Juan Pedro Ramos while Lloyd Williams returns to the Welsh squad having last played at Edinburgh in the 2010 series.
In Pool C hosts England will face Kenya, USA and France. England’s all-time leading try scorer Dan Norton will be leading the attack and is just 13 tries away from reaching 300 career tries while captain Tom Mitchell will make his 50th appearance in a squad which includes most capped player James Rodwell. Rising star Ryan Olowofela will make his Twickenham debut. The USA and Kenya are both currently on 93 points and placed fifth and sixth respectively in the series standings. Madison Hughes returns as captain for USA in a squad that boasts six veterans of their 2015 London Sevens title winning team. France welcome four new debutants in to their squad this weekend.
Pool D includes reigning series champions South Africa who will be fighting to regain top spot in the series standings after being overtaken by Fiji following the previous round in Singapore. South Africa welcome Seabelo Senatla back into their squad after missing the last four rounds and will get their London Sevens campaign under way against Russia. Meanwhile Pool D will kick off the weekend’s action as Canada face Samoa in the first match of the day at 09:30 (GMT+1) on Saturday.