HAMILTON,01 FEBRUARY 2018 (WORLD RUGBY)–The 16 men’s captains gathered in Hobbiton as a giant weekend of rugby gets set to hit Hamilton.

Sixteen captains of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series attended the Hobbiton movie set as Hamilton prepares for a blockbuster weekend of sevens rugby.

Hamilton is the new stage for this year’s New Zealand round, and is set to welcome more than 50,000 fans through its doors on 3-4 February. Much like the tournament, teams will look at this as a fresh opportunity to get valuable points which will help them climb the series table and improve their Rugby World Cup Sevens seedings ahead of San Francisco in July.

At this stage last year, South Africa had won two of three events and were 12 points clear of second-placed Fiji but unlike Tolkien’s masterpiece, there is no mountain to climb in the series standings just yet. While South Africa currently lead the series, it’s not by much, just four points.

“We always look for consistency in our performance and to go to two finals and a semi-final is not the worst way to start the series,” said stand-in Blitzbok captain Kyle Brown. “We weren’t our best in Cape Town and last weekend Australia just blew us out of the water on that one. So, if we’re going to start talking about consistency, it’s about consistency through all six games of the tournament and doing that weekend to weekend.”

South Africa will be hoping to get back to winning ways this weekend and that all starts against invitational side, Papua New Guinea in Pool B.

Hosts New Zealand will also be looking to get back on track after coming up short against eventual HSBC Sydney Sevens winners Australia. However, that’s not stopping Tim Mikkelson relishing the opportunity to play in his home town of Hamilton.

“It’s good to be back, anytime you come home it’s something special,” said the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2013.

“We’ve got a few boys in our team who are from Hamilton so to get to play in front of your friends and family at home is always great. We do a lot of travelling and they watch us a lot on TV so for them to see us live in person is pretty motivating for us.”

With a sold-out stadium, highly competitive series standings and some exciting talent on show, the fourth round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is set to be a tournament of epic magnitudes….PACNEW

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