With just two days to go to the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s, the final leg of the world renowned IRB Sevens World Series, the 16 international teams have settled in well and are gearing up for the weekend’s action, that will see the overall series winner decided on the international pitch at Murrayfield.
Holders Fiji currently lead the world series going into the final stage and sit above New Zealand with a 10 point advantage. The winner of the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s will collect 20 points along with the Ned Haig Cup, while the losing team from the final will take 16 points. The two teams to lose in the semi-finals will claim 12 points each.
It’ll be a close run event and second place New Zealand will be hoping Fiji fall flat in the quarters to give the All Blacks a chance at the coveted series title. Fiji’s sevens magician Waisale Serevi knows that all the teams will value the Fijian scalp but he’s keeping cool under the building pressure.
He said: “It’s exciting. This is the last tournament and there are still three teams in the race for the title. Everyone will be eying us as the team to beat. For a lot of our boys it’s the first time in Edinburgh and Murrayfield is one of the famous stadiums of Europe. The boys are excited about running out at Murrayfield.
“Scotland is a nice place and the people are friendly. They like their rugby and they like this weather too,” he added.
Since arriving in Edinburgh, Fiji have re-established their connections with the British Armed Forces and have been training at Dreghorn Barracks where a number of Fijian nationals are stationed.
Serevi said: “We are lucky because they have given us their facilities to train and they brought us hot tea after training in the rain. We’d like to thank them a lot for that. We have a lot of friends here with 89 Fijian families at the barracks, including Apolosi Satala (former Fijian international sevens star).
“They are currently on leave before heading to Iraq so we’ll have good support at Murrayfield this weekend. It would be a nice way to send them off if we lift the title on Sunday,” he added.
Serevi’s arch rival, New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens, is also pleased to be in the Scottish capital. He said: “Obviously we are really looking forward to going to Murrayfield, mainly because I love Scotland. I’m really keen to find out what it’s going to be like at Murrayfield. These tournaments are growing in so many different countries and I think Scotland will do it very well.”
Scotland’s new Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell, will be at Murrayfield this weekend, enjoying the action as the teams battle it out on the international pitch. Last night he hosted his first official function as Minister at Edinburgh Castle as he welcomed the 16 teams to Scotland (a photo of the Minister with the Scotland 7s squad is available).
South Africa are currently lying in fourth place and have been drawn against host Scotland in the final pool match of the day on Saturday. Coach Paul Treu said: “I have never played at Murrayfield before but I’ve watched Tests there and I had a look around during the Under-21 World Cup a few years ago (2004) and what an amazing city.
“I really love the Scottish people, they’re so friendly. You know, it’s good that we are taking the game back to Scotland, where the game also originated. We are all really looking forward to the tournament,” he added.
Scotland will also take on Canada on Saturday and, like Treu, coach Shane Thompson, a former international sevens player himself, is also enjoying life in Edinburgh ahead of the tournament.
He said: “Personally I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been doing the sevens for a while now and I’ve never made it to Scotland with rugby, anywhere new is always good. Being the home of sevens, it’ll be kind of exciting to finish off the season there. We’ll play the tournament then just enjoy the night at the end. Looking forward to it, last stop,” he added.
Tomorrow (Friday 1 June) brings the LAST chance to take advantage of the offers and group packages available for the event. Pre-booked adult tickets are priced at only £10 for one day or just £15 for both days (with FREE concessions on all tickets) but this offer ends at 5pm tomorrow. Tickets bought on the day are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
Tickets can be purchased through the official website www.edinburgh7s.com or through the ticket hotline number on 0131 346 5100. All tickets brought between now and the event will be available for collection on the day.