As fans put the final touches to their safari outfits, the 12 captains and coaches taking part in the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium this weekend launched the tournament at Barn Elms, Barnes.
Players and coaches attended a tag rugby festival for local primary schools and the Dallaglio Foundation as children had the opportunity to get their hands on the tournament trophy ahead of the final leg of this season?s HSBC Sevens World Series.
Last year?s weekend attendance of over 103, 000 confirmed London as the world?s largest two day sevens tournament but ticket sales are on course to break this record with 110, 000 fans expected over the weekend to enjoy the?850 minutes of fast top-class rugby action
England will face Fiji, Samoa and Argentina in Pool C on the opening day at Twickenham Stadium in the final leg of this season?s HSBC Sevens World Series. The Women?s Invitational Tournament at the Marriott London Sevens sees England face France, Spain and Australia on day one of an eight-team event.
Attending the launch, Rob Vickerman, England Sevens Captain said: ?It?s great to be heading into London on the back of our third place finish in Glasgow and we are confident that we can carry that form into this weekend ? there is no better place to do that, than at Twickenham.
?It?s very special playing at the home of England Rugby, combining one of the world?s best XVs rugby stadium?s with one of the best sevens rounds of the series this year. Everyone is really looking forward to playing in front of our friends and family, a potentially record breaking crowd and a fantastic atmosphere.?
Looking ahead to the weekend, England Women?s Captain, Michaela Staniford, commented: ?I?m pretty confident that everyone in our squad is looking forward to this event. The build-up has been fantastic and from a playing point of view, we want the opportunity to play at Twickenham again. Twickenham is always a special experience and one that we take a hell of a lot of pride in. Last year, the Women?s Final was watched by one of the biggest crowds of the weekend and that is fantastic for the sport. The home support is very humbling and we want to make our supporters proud.?
IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: ?The battle for core team places in London is set to be fiercely contested with all eight teams hugely competitive, having won through from their regions and also booked places at Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow. It is wonderful news for the fans as it guarantees even more quality and intensity at Twickenham.
“Going forward to our Olympic debut in Rio in 2016, it is important that every nation can win core team status if they are good enough. We are confident that this system provides every nation competing in their regional tournament with a direct chance to compete on every round of the World Series, and so also ensures a transparent pathway to the Games.?
Tickets are still available for fans to join the England Sevens on safari and roar them on at this year?s Marriott London Sevens, and can also be purchased from the ticket office on the day.
Throughout the weekend, the West Car Park will welcome fans from across the world when it opens its doors to the Game Reserve. Open for all fans to enjoy, there will be live music, interviews with players, picnic areas and plenty to eat and drink.