The first event of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 will come to a climax on Saturday after another thrilling day of action at Markötter Stadium which saw the women’s and men’s semi-final line-ups confirmed.
- Women’s semi-final line-up: South Africa v China, Belgium v Poland
- Men’s semi-finals: Belgium v Germany, Hong Kong China v Tonga
- Finals day on Saturday sees the women’s semi-finals start at 09:54 local time (GMT+2) and the men’s semi-finals at 10:38, with the women’s and men’s finals at 13:33 and 14:01 respectively
- Winner of two-round women’s competition based on aggregate points to secure Sevens World Series entry
- Men’s competition winner based on aggregate points following second event to enter a four-team play-off at the HSBC London Sevens in May with the winner achieving the coveted Sevens World Series 2024 status
The first event of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 will come to a climax on Saturday after another thrilling day of action at Markötter Stadium in Stellenbosch which saw the women’s and men’s semi-final line-ups confirmed.
In the women’s event, hosts South Africa will face China in the final four, while Belgium will take on 2022 Challenger Series runners-up Poland on Saturday with a spot in the final up for grabs.
The opening men’s semi-final is an all-European encounter between Belgium and Germany before Hong Kong China takes on Tonga to decide who will advance to the final later in the day.
The second event of the Challenger Series will also take place at Markötter Stadium on 28-30 April.
WOMEN’S DAY TWO RECAP:
Day two of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 kicked off with a high-scoring thriller when Thailand recorded their first win of the competition with a 48-7 defeat of Papua New Guinea. That result was enough to secure Thailand passage to the quarter-finals as the best third-placed finisher.
Czechia were edged out 7-5 by Mexico, but their results on the opening day were enough do secure second place in Pool E behind South Africa. The hosts sealed top spot with a 14-5 win over African rivals Madagascar.
South Africa were then made to work hard for their semi-final spot by a spirited Thailand team who scored two quick tries at the start of the second half. With local fans cheering them on, South Africa ultimately ran out 29-12 victors.
They will now face China, who continued their fine form from day one to first beat Belgium 33-0 in the Pool F decider. They continued to show their class in the quarter-final with a hat-trick of tries from Liu Xiaoqian helping the Asian team to down Colombia 32-0.
Poland have been equally as impressive and brought the curtain down on the pool stage with a 26-19 victory over Colombia to top Pool D. They continued their winning ways in the quarter-final against Madagascar, with tries from Hanna Maliszewska and Ilona Zaisliuc helping them secure a 19-5 win and set up a semi-final against Belgium.
South Africa will take on China at 09:54 local time, before Belgium go up against Poland at 10:16 on the third and final day of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 opening round.
The ultimate prize at stake for the tournament winners in the women’s competition, which will be decided on aggregate points over the two events, is a promotion to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2024 as the 12th and final team.
MEN’S DAY TWO RECAP:
It was all to play for in the Pool C match between Jamaica and Brazil, with the winner being guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals. The men from South America went over the line three times to win 17-12. The Brazilians then faced Hong Kong China in the last eight, but only managed to score a single converted try against Hong Kong China’s five in a 35-7 defeat.
Hong Kong China will be hoping to continue their fine form when they take on a tricky Tonga side in the second men’s semi-final.
Tonga made it clear that they are the team to beat in the men’s competition. They went into the quarter-finals unbeaten after overcoming Germany 22-10 to top Pool A. Kyren Taumoefolau then scored two of the five tries to help Tonga past Italy in the quarter-finals.
High-flying Uganda topped Pool C after wrapping up the pool stage with a 40-0 defeat of Korea. They then faced Germany in an intriguing quarter-final, but despite leading 7-5 at half-time they were unable to hold on for victory with the Europeans running out 26-14 winners.
Belgium brought their A-game into day two, kicking things off with a 40-21 victory over Zimbabwe to advance to the quarter-finals as one of the best third-placed teams. They then produced arguably the biggest upset when they stunned tournament favourites Chile 21-14.
Belgium will now take on Germany in the first semi-final at 10:30 local time before Hong Kong China face Tonga at 11:00.
The winner of the men’s competition, which will also be decided on aggregate points over the two events, will enter a four-team play-off at the HSBC London Sevens in May together with the teams placed 12th to 14th after 10 rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023. The winner of the play-off will achieve the coveted Sevens World Series 2024 status.
HOW TO WATCH >>
Fans around the world can watch the matches through the links below, while while rights-free images are available via the World Rugby Media Zone.