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England vs. New Zealand - When the All Blacks tour Europe next autumn, the one match the world has been anticipating, will be the contest versus England at Twickenham. These powerhouses have not played each other since 2014, when the Red Roses lost three matches on tour in New Zealand. In this decade, the All Blacks lead 6-1 in this famous series, the sole loss an away game. Since the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, the All Blacks have lost three games in two years: Ireland in Chicago, the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand (a draw, also), and to Australia in Brisbane last year. More impressive has been England's winning streak of 18-matches, and their solitary defeat in two-years against Ireland in Dublin, the last match of 2017's Six Nations Championship.
The second most anticipated match will be Ireland versus the All Blacks in Dublin on the same tour.
Sevens Series - The current 2017-2018 series has already started in Dubai (Women and Men) and Cape Town. How well teams perform in the series will determine the champion but also slot Sevens World Cup placements in the quadrennial event's pools. Next up for Men and Women are the Down Under competitions in Sydney in January and Men only in Wellington, February 3 and 4. Then, the Men's tour moves to Las Vegas, the first week in March, followed by the Canadian event in Vancouver's covered stadium. April will witness Hong Kong and Singapore. The final two cities are London and Paris, where London will not be the final event as in years past. The Paris tournament will feature Men and Women.
World Rugby Sevens World Cup - The US welcomes this event in San Francisco at AT&T Park (42,000) on July 20, 21, 22. The Men's side features 24 teams, while the Women's bracket includes 16 countries. The Men's event awaits two more South American teams to fill the 24-nation total. This will represent the seventh occasion for the Men's Sevens World Cup. Past winners follow:
1993 - England
1997 - Fiji
2001 - New Zealand
2005 - Fiji
2009 - Wales
2013 - New Zealand
For the Women, the Bay Area event will be the third Sevens World Cup. Past winners were:
2013 - New Zealand
Japan 2019 RWC Qualifying - There are five RWC slots left to be filled by play off tournaments in 2018. Specifically, these are Europe 2, America 2, Africa 1, a Play Off round, and, a final Repechage for the last and 20th qualifier. The America spot is between Canada and Uruguay. The most competitive will be Europe where Russia, Romania, Spain, Belgium, and Germany vie for selection. Namibia is again favored to advance in Africa, where they will battle Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, and Uganda. The Play Off round favors Samoa, which have participated in many past World Cups. And, finally, a Repechage event for the losers to experience a last try attempt at the final berth.