The third leg of the 2018-19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series continues this weekend with the New Zealand Sevens tournament at FMG Stadium in Hamilton. For those in the United States, the tournament starts Friday at 4 p.m. ET, the quarterfinals start Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, and the Cup Final is late Saturday night/early Sunday morning at 2:10 a.m. ET.
While the tournament won’t be broadcast on television anywhere in the US, you can still watch a live stream of every match on your computer, phone or streaming device via ESPN+, the new digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage to dozens of sporting events, including every leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
You can start a free 7-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the entire New Zealand Sevens tournament on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
2019 HSBC New Zealand Sevens Preview
Through two legs of the 2018-19 season, it’s the United States who are somewhat surprisingly in first place after finishing second in both Dubai and Cape Town. The Eagles, whose highest HSBC finish is fifth, have never been in this position before, so it’s obviously a fantastic start for Mike Friday’s team.
Nevertheless, they know there’s a lot more rugby to be played.
“We know we can take nothing for granted and whilst we are pleased to be sitting No. 1 currently, it means very little in the grand scheme of things as we have a tough eight legs ahead and everyone will be coming for us,” Friday said. “We need to stay focused, show humility and work hard on our own game individually and collectively as we lost two finals due to mistakes which were more than avoidable. We still have much to prove to ourselves when we take the field in Hamilton in what is a very physical and difficult group.”
In Hamilton, Team USA will be in Pool B with England, Samoa and Tonga. England and Samoa are fourth and 10th, respectively, through two tournaments, while this will be Tonga’s first tournament of the season. The Eagles knocked off England, 19-12, in the quarterfinals in Cape Town last month.
New Zealand are just a point behind the Americans in the standings after winning in Dubai and finishing fourth in Cape Town, and the All Blacks should certainly be considered favorites in front of the home crowd.
“Its good to be back and be back training with the boys and especially in Hamilton, where I’m from,” captain Tim Mikkelson said. “To play in front of the home crowd is something I’m really looking forward to. The boys have played extremely well. In Dubai they had a lot of injuries and they didn’t complain about it, they just kept on moving forward and got the job done. Watching them in Cape Town they did the same thing. It was pretty inspirational and it’s awesome to be back a part of it.”
Up next in the standings are Olympic gold medalists Fiji, who followed up a fifth-place finish in Dubai with a win in Cape Town. They also captured the title at last year’s New Zealand Sevens, which was the first time it took place in Hamilton, so they’re definitely among the top contenders this weekend, as well.
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