‘We can match it’: Australia star names the teams to beat in SVNS 2023/24
With the new-look SVNS series getting underway early next month, the opportunity to embark on a life-altering quest awaits the 12 best teams in the rugby sevens world.
Championship glory awaits the team that is good enough to take it, but there are a number of hurdles that need to be overcome on the road to the series Grand Final in Madrid.
Dubai, Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong China and Singapore will host the best rugby parties in the world during the enthralling 2023/24 SVNS series.
As things stand, all nations are of course equal on zero competition points, but that all changes in Dubai. All teams will believe that they can match it with the best, including three serial champions.
In the history of the circuit formerly known as the World Sevens Series, traditional sevens nations New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa have dominated. Samoa and Australia are the only other overall champions in the competition’s decorated history.
“If you look historically it’s New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa,” Malouf said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.
“Argentina the last couple of years – it probably started when they picked up bronze at the last Olympics and from there they’ve just been able to keep a core group of guys together.
“Guys like (Marcos) Moneta, just rapid. Then you look at guys like (Rodrigo) Isgro (who) found his way into the Argentinian Rugby World Cup, the fifteens team, and played some games for them and he was sevens Player of the Year as well.
“They’re a great side but I think we’ve proven over the last couple of years that we can match it with those teams; winning it (the World Series) two years ago.
“Those games are always special because you know how tough they’re going to be and they’re the ones that you make some great memories in.”
Australia have unveiled a star-studded select squad for the upcoming season which includes the likes of sevens regulars Henry Paterson, Maurice Longbottom and Dietrich Roache.
But among the talented list of names, it was practically impossible to look past the rugby genius that is Michael Hooper, with the former Wallabies captain making the switch to sevens.
Hooper, who was sensationally overlooked for Eddie Jones’ Australia squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup, will join the group in January and is expected to debut at the Perth SVNS.
“I think if you had told me a few years ago that we were going to have the opportunity to have ‘Hoops’ join us for an Olympic campaign I would have probably told you to wake me up because I must have been dreaming,” Malouf added.
“His CV speaks for itself. For me personally, a great guy to have just in terms of his leadership to help me out with those sorts of things.
“I know all the young boys get excited because he’s the pinnacle really, he’s done what so many kids dream of growing up watching Australian rugby.
“The chance to compete against him at every training session – he was out there this morning throwing his head over a couple of breakdowns. Straightaway he’s trying to figure out how he can use his strengths and I think he’s going to be a great fit for us.”