rugby sevens

South Africa may have already won the 10-stop 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with last Sunday's Paris victory - the fifth in a remarkable season - confirming their first championship since 2009, but on the eve of the London curtain-closing tournament there is still so much to celebrate in a campaign propelled by the golden afterglow of the Olympics.
Simon Amor knows precisely what is required to prevail in the Hong Kong Sevens, perennially the most-coveted prize on the circuit. England have won at the sport's mecca on four occasions, in a golden five-year spell between 2002 and 2006; Amor, now the country's head coach, starred as the playmaker in each success, and even skippered the side in their last triumph 11 years ago.
Mike Friday, the head coach of the USA men's rugby sevens team, joked on the eve of last summer's Olympics that if his team managed to achieve a dream podium finish he would anoint fellow Englishman Tom Hardy as the actor he would most like to portray him in the inevitable Hollywood movie depicting the against-the-odds triumph.
Ten months ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where rugby sevens made its Games debut last August, only a fool would have placed a wager against New Zealand triumphing in the women's competition.
Of all the 133 years since two Scottish butchers from Melrose invented rugby sevens, and hosted a fund-raising tournament for their local club, 2016 will be vigorously ringed as the most sensational, successful, and significant in its long and - until recently - largely uneventful history.
When it comes to rugby sevens, Ben Ryan is worth listening to, as was proven last week in Dubai, the venue for the opening
The 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series kicks off in Dubai this week with the sport basking in the golden afterglow of a sensationally successful Olympic Games debut that, truth be told, exceeded the expectations of players, administrators, and die-hard devotees alike.
How fitting that the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, elevated by the sport's sensational Olympics debut in the summer, begins this week in Dubai, home of the world's highest building.
Fiji's rugby sevens triumph at the Rio Olympics provided one of the most absorbing narratives in the history of the Games. Here was a team from an impoverished, tiny island nation in the Pacific Ocean, elevated to giant status by dominating the men's inaugural competition - and in the process winning Fiji its maiden podium finish, sparking wild, prolonged celebrations back home.
There are currently 7.6million people around the world playing rugby and an HSBC Future of Rugby Report predicts that with rugby sevens as the spark, it will ignite significant growth that will double this number to 15million over the next ten years.