A week after Fiji’s second consecutive tournament win pulled them into a tie with Team USA atop the 2018-19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens standings, teams are off to Australia for the Sydney Sevens. For those in the United States, the tournament starts Friday at 5 p.m. ET, the quarterfinals start Saturday at 6:40 p.m. ET, and the Cup Final is early Sunday morning at 4:55 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 Sydney 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 Sydney Sevens Preview
Last week in New Zealand, it was once again a dominant showing from Fiji. The three-time World Rugby Series champs took care of business with wins over Wales, Argentina and Australia during pool play but then really turned it on during the knockout stages. They out-scored Canada, South Africa and USA by a combined score of 100-14, which included a 38-0 shellacking of the Americans in the Cup Final.
Through the first three legs of the World Series, Fiji have lost just one match–which came at the hands of Team USA in the quarterfinals in Dubai. They’ve exacted revenge with wins over the Americans in each of the last two tournament finals, and they’ve now piled on 588 total points, which is 153 more than the next highest-scoring team, New Zealand.
Gareth Baber’s squad looks unstoppable right now, but they’re still tied for first with the United States, who have now made it three runner-up finishes in three tournaments. Still, while it’s been a highly successful start for the Americans, they’re nevertheless striving for more.
“We are excited about the weekend and we are playing well,” captain Madison Hughes said. “Of course we finished second again last weekend in Hamilton. It is great to make the finals but at some stage we want to take the next step for a victory. Optimistic about doing that, we have worked hard and it is just our form in the finals that has let us down. We came out of last weekend reasonably unscathed. We did lose Perry Baker to injury but the rest of the squad is fine.”
USA and Fiji are tied with 57 points, while New Zealand is just behind at 54. Below that trio, the race for the all-important fourth spot (the top four teams will qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics) is a bit crowded, with South Africa at 44 points, England at 38, Australia at 35 and Scotland at 33.
The Australians will be hoping to use their home tournament to climb those standings this weekend. Both the men’s and women’s teams won in front of the home crowd last year, and they’ll be hoping for similar success in 2019.
“We have been counting down the days to the Sydney Sevens as it is our home tournament,” captain Sharni Williams said. “We have trained well and are ready to hit the ground running. Last year the crowd was awesome and we expect a lot of support this year which is a big help, especially when the going gets tough. It’s that one per cent that can make the difference.”
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