On this significant July the 19th, Rugby Sevens has a shake-up, Stan to gather crucial evidence for upcoming Royal Commission, Airline frustrations for Wallaroos and spare Aussies available to French clubs & Barbarians during World Cup.
New global Sevens series includes Perth leg (26-28 Jan 2024)
The festivals will feature the world’s best men’s and women’s sevens athletes, offering a global stage for 12 teams at each location. The event dates and venues are set, starting in Dubai in December and concluding with the grand final in Madrid in June 2024.
Based on cumulative series points, the top eight teams will compete in the new ‘winner takes all’ grand final in Madrid where the men’s and women’s champions will be crowned.
Additionally, Madrid will host a relegation play-off competition involving teams ranked ninth to 12th, as well as the top four teams from the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.
World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said “For the first time in rugby sevens history, all locations will be centrally run, meaning that the overall experience is the same and we can optimise commercial revenue for reinvestment, including playing our part in ensuring that sevens is a viable career path for the talented players and Olympians.”
Presumably locally-run Sevens tournaments were sub-optimal.
The 2023-2024 calendar is:
- Dubai, UAE – 2-3 December, 2023;
- Cape Town, South Africa – 9-10 December, 2023;
- Perth, Australia – 26-28 January, 2024;
- Vancouver, Canada – 23-25 February, 2024;
- Los Angeles, USA – 2-3 March, 2024;
- Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR China – 5-7 April 2024
- Singapore, Singapore – 3-5 May 2024;
- Madrid, Spain – 31 May-2 June, 2024.
Stan filming Wallabies documentary
Nathan “At least I write at an established rugby website Hoss” Williamson reports that Stan (and not Four Corners) are filming the Wallabies’ 2023 season.
The three-part series will follow the team through the Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup and September’s Rugby World Cup in what is shaping up to be the boldest new horror series since The Walking Dead.
The documentary will be created in conjunction with award-winning production company CJZ and Karlinberg Entertainment, led by Gold Logie winner Karl Stefanovic and Richard Weinberg.
According to Stan’s Chief Content Officer Cailah Scobie “Viewers will experience a unique and unadulterated journey following Eddie Jones and the Wallabies, and we can’t wait to share with audiences the raw passion and emotion of a team looking to capture a third Webb Ellis Cup.”
“Absolutely everything is on the line for Australian rugby’s future in the coming seasons. From the boardroom to the boots, it’s an all in full court press for survival. It starts here. And viewers will have a front row seat to it all,” added Karl Stefanovic, Co-Founder of Karlinberg Entertainment and darling of the “morning TV” demographic, which presumably consist of people in medical practitioners’ waiting rooms.
Wallaroos just aboot to get on plane stranded at Canadian airport eh?
Nine reports that Wallaroos players were not delighted after being prevented from boarding a plane home from Canada to Australia on Monday (AEST).
Former Wallaroos captain Grace Hamilton took to Twitter (despite there being a new non-Elon thing apparently) to complain about the travel troubles as the team prepared to return from its campaign in the Pacific Four Series.
“Shout out to @aircanada for ‘overbooking’ our 14 hour flight back to Brisbane and stranding seven of our @Wallaroos,” Hamilton wrote. “Girls crying and distressed at the gate, meanwhile looking at at least 6 empty seats on our plane.”
A Rugby Australia spokesperson said that five of the team were checked in and about to depart on new flights home while one player and one staff member would now fly on Tuesday.
“Our RA staff member on the ground has been working closely with our travel agents as soon as it happened to find (the) best solution to get players and management home as soon possible,” the spokesperson said.
The Wallaroos finished third in the Pacific Four Series with a win against the United States and losses to New Zealand and Canada. Their tournament ended with a 45-7 loss to the hosts in Ottawa on Saturday.
[On the topic of women athletes putting up with nonsense, see also this Sky Sports item on the battle for suitable attire titled “Sexualised and ill-fitting: Is women’s sport kit fit for purpose?”.]
Noah Lolesio signs short-term deal with Toulon
Nathan “don’t have to pay for my Wallabies merch” Williamson reports that Noah Lolesio has linked up with French club Toulon during the World Cup window as an international replacement (stepping in for Welsh star Dan Bigger) before returning to the Brumbies.
“Noah Lolesio will make up for the absence of Dan Biggar during the World Cup,” Toulon’s Director of Rugby Pierre Mignoni said.
“He is a complete player who has good gestural* qualities and good footwork. It is also versatile and can slide in the centre if necessary.”
“Noah will arrive with Jake Gordon whom he knows well having played several international matches alongside him. This should also facilitate their integration.”
Lolesio will form an all-Australian halves partnership with Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon, who signed with Toulon last week, replacing French scrumhalf Baptiste Serin.
“Jake is an experienced international scrum-half,” Mignoni added. “He will bring his leadership, his vision and his physical qualities.”
The duo are amongst several Australians set to be positioned in French for September’s World Cup.
There will be a Barbarians tour running concurrently with the World Cup, with up to 15 players set to be picked from Australia by coach Jason Gilmore.
[*1. of, relating to, or consisting of gestures. 2. of, relating to, or characterized by vigorous application of paint and expressive brushwork. gestural expressionism. the application of paint in free sweeping gestures with a brush.]