The HSBC SVNS 2024 Grand Finals in Madrid will bring the curtain down on another thrilling season of international sevens rugby. The pools for the Grand Finals have been drawn, and Ireland’s men and women both know what lies ahead of them as they attempt to plot a course to the top of the podium.

A total of 16 teams will compete in the Spanish capital of Madrid at the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano across the Men’s and Women’s Championships. The Grand Finals action runs across the weekend of 31st May to 2nd June. The race to stand on top of the podiums is on – can Ireland’s representatives make their presence felt?

The long road to Madrid

The road to Madrid began in December 2023 in Dubai, one of seven locations around the world that the tour visited. South Africa claimed the first cup of the season, pulling off a surprise in the men’s event, with Australia pouncing early in the women’s.

Argentina’s men then dominated in Cape Town, Perth and Vancouver in the next three rounds of action, showing why they are likely to be in the mix for the podium at the Madrid Grand Finals.

Men’s Cup results

• Dubai – South Africa
• Cape Town – Argentina
• Perth – Argentina
• Vancouver – Argentina
• Los Angeles – France
• Hong Kong – New Zealand
• Singapore – New Zealand

Ireland’s surprise success

Ireland’s women pulled off a historic moment in Perth, recording the big underdog success story of this season’s tournament. After finishing second in their pool to New Zealand in Australia, Ireland Women squeezed past Fiji in the quarter-finals before beating Great Britain 31-7 in the semi-finals.

Ireland’s women then upset the rugby odds in the Perth final by beating favourites Australia 19-14 for their first-ever Sevens cup.

Women’s Cup results

• Dubai – Australia
• Cape Town – Australia
• Perth – Ireland
• Vancouver – New Zealand
• Los Angeles – New Zealand
• Hong Kong – New Zealand
• Singapore – New Zealand

New Zealand gain strength

After taking a while to get up and running, New Zealand dominated on both fronts as the regular season wound on. New Zealand’s men closed out the season by winning the final two cups in Hong Kong and Singapore. Ultimately, it was not enough for them, however, as Argentina hung on to be crowned 2024 League Winners for the first time by two points ahead of Ireland.

However, New Zealand’s women went even better than their male counterparts, claiming the cup in each of the last four events in the build-up to the Grand Finals. This hot streak of form, a great thing to carry through to the Grand Finals, was just enough to see them crowned League Winners by two points ahead of rivals Australia.

New Grand Finals bring jeopardy

The top eight teams in the standings after Singapore qualified for the Grand Finals. The other four teams placed ninth to 12th head to a separate tournament to play against the top four from the Challenger Series in an exciting new promotion/relegation setup.

Jeopardy has been introduced for the 2024 Sevens Grand Final in Madrid. In this new format, all eight qualified teams have a shot at winning, as league points no longer count. Instead, it’s a pool stage followed by a knockout stage, and whichever nation is standing on top of the podium is crowned champion.

Men’s Grand Finals qualified teams: Argentina, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, France, Fiji, South Africa and Great Britain.

Women’s Grand Finals qualified teams: New Zealand, Australia, France, USA, Canada, Fiji, Ireland and Great Britain.

Black Ferns Sevens running hot for Madrid

The women’s gold medal race in Madrid is expected to come down to New Zealand and Australia. They are both well ahead of the pack in terms of overall season form, and it’s the standard that Ireland Women have to emulate.

Australia Women’s two cups came right at the start of the season, but they consistently occupied a place in the latter stages of the following rounds. However, the big four event winning streak across Canada, USA, Hong Kong and Singapore that the Black Ferns produced makes them favourites.

Ireland Women’s success in Perth means that they don’t have to worry about potential relegation – but can they raise their game again, enjoy a little luck in the draw and pull off a major surprise?

Ireland are drawn in Pool B in the Grand Finals, where they will compete with Australia, France and double Olympic champions Fiji.

All Blacks and Pumas frontrunners in Madrid

Largely thanks to their early run of success in the men’s season, Argentina, the only team to win gold at three events this season, created history with their first-ever League Winners crown. The form of Los Pumas Sevens then fell away, and they failed to reach the semi-finals of any cup since Vancouver in the fourth round of action. However, they can’t be written off.

Ireland finished as league runners-up after an excellent campaign, a marked improvement after finishing eighth in last season’s standings. Should Ireland come through the pack and claim the title, it would be a remarkable achievement, made greater by the fact that Argentina are also strong outright favourites for the Olympic Sevens gold this summer and New Zealand are second-favourites.

Reigning Sevens champions New Zealand will head to Madrid as the favourites. Their ominous late burst of form for the season came at the right time, similar to what they did on their way to success last season when they won five of the last seven rounds of action to sweep the championship.

Ireland’s men have been drawn in Pool B against New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa. Ireland will seek just their second-ever Sevens win over New Zealand, which is the biggest challenge for the group – but a win in that one would set Ireland up for success. Fiji and South Africa have been disappointing this season, giving Ireland a great chance to keep themselves in the hunt.

Can Ireland Sevens cap consistency by winning the title?

The consistency of Ireland’s men has been tremendous throughout the 2023-24 SVNS. Despite not winning a cup, coming through the pack to land at the top of the podium in Madrid would be a stunning way to end the campaign in style.

Ireland produced their best form of the season in the last round of action in Singapore, being narrowly defeated by New Zealand in the final. This is proof that they aren’t far away at all. Ireland went to the semi-finals in three of the other six rounds of action, but can they just squeeze out a little more?

Ireland’s big asset is Terry Kennedy, the leading try scorer in this season’s World Sevens, as well as the top points scorer, and they will need him on the ball as much as possible.

Bet on Madrid Sevens rugby with TonyBet

It should be a fantastic climax to the 2024 World Sevens Series. Catch all the pre-event rugby odds at TonyBet as Ireland’s teams go in search of historic titles. Ireland Women have already proven that they can compete with the best but are underdogs for the Grand Finals.

Ireland Men missed out on being League Winners by just two points, but can they win outright? Can they top Pool B? Will they claim just their second win over New Zealand?

Explore all the rugby sevens betting markets, covering all aspects of the Sevens Grand Finals. Match betting on handicaps, points totals and winning margins can be selected, as well as plenty of try scorer options. Also, look for the fast-paced live in-play rugby betting options for this ‘winner takes all’ series at TonyBet.

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