Spain and Argentina rugby players struggle for the ball

HSBC SVNS Grand Final to produce drama like we have never seen – Vickerman

The HSBC SVNS Grand Final in Madrid is set to produce drama and jeopardy like we have never seen before according to sevens legend Rob Vickerman.

The top eight on both the women’s and men’s side will compete for the Championship title in the Spanish capital, while there will be even more on the line for those teams ranked ninth to 12th.

They will compete in a relegation play-off with four qualifiers from the Challenger Series with hosts Spain among those battling to retain their place on the main circuit.

And for Vickerman, the former England skipper turned broadcaster, how the home side cope with the pressure will be worth the price of admission alone.

He said: “I think the atmosphere will be amazing. Sevens is the golden ticket, you can travel the world, play in some of the best cities with iconic moments in the best stadiums. This opportunity is on the table and it’s largely down to one game.

“You can win the quarter-final on Sunday and your ticket is stamped. Never before in rugby can I remember where there will be eight consecutive games of elation and heartbreak. It can be really hard to deal with that as a human, as a spectator and a product, it’s pretty rare. If you want to see the most sporting drama played out on the field then you’ll see it in Madrid.

“The difficulty with Spain is how do you deal with that emotionally. You have 40 minutes that will dictate the next 12 months of your life and potentially further. It’s really exciting and this is jeopardy more than we have ever seen before.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Argentina will look to follow up their league victory with Championship glory on the men’s side.

Santiago Gomez Cora’s side enjoyed a stellar season, including three consecutive tournament victories to finish top of the pile ahead of Ireland.

And the way they have built their programme is an example to others according to Vickerman.

He added: “I think what Argentina have done is essentially getting a core group of very young, incredible athletic rugby players and saying that your trajectory for the next four years is going to be the Olympics. At the end of it, you’ll have amazing profiles, amazing personalities, and incredible rugby players.

“It might be that at the end of this journey, it ends or continues, some might go into 15s, but credit Santiago Gomez Cora, both as a player, understanding the value of sevens, but also as a coach for curating this group and getting them to where they are.

“The only slight concern is that they have been so dominant for so long is that the lack of change in the starting team might mean they have accrued tiredness. They will hit the ground running in Madrid and I have them down as being contenders in Paris (at the Olympics), which is exactly where they wanted to be.

“From a commentary point of view, it was tricky. The men’s side had got so competitive, and you would say that anybody can beat anybody, apart from Argentina! They were so consistent. But it’s still the case that anyone could beat anyone, but they just wouldn’t get beaten. It’s amazing from them really.”

It’s Grand Final weekend in the heart of Madrid, featuring thrilling rugby matches and immersive cultural experiences. From the excitement on the pitch to the buzz in the air, this is one event you won’t want to miss. Be part of history in the making at the iconic Civitas Metropolitano Stadium.

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