On Wednesday afternoon the 16 team captains helped coach the next generation of rugby sevens stars at Holland Park School ahead of the highly anticipated finale of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 where the last Paris 2024 Olympic spot and final 2024 Series core team will be decided in front of a huge crowd at Twickenham Stadium in London.

While New Zealand, winners of five events this season in Sydney, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Toulouse, secured their 13th Series title last weekend in France, there’s still plenty to be decided in England’s capital on the weekend.

One final spot for next summer’s Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games remains, with Australia (125) holding a nine-point cushion over Samoa and South Africa (116). Australia enter the competition on Saturday as defending champions having defeated their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in a thrilling cup final in 2022, and will clinch the final spot with an appearance in Sunday’s semi-final.

The stakes also couldn’t be higher at the bottom of the men’s Series this season, as four nations are set to face off in the World Rugby Sevens Series 2024 Play-off to decide the 12th and final core team for next season. Japan, who finished the Series in Toulouse in 15th position, has been relegated from the 2024 Series and will compete this weekend as the invitational team for the cup competition.

Fourth place finishers in Toulouse, Canada will meet Kenya, Uruguay and Tonga, aggregate winners of the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in Stellenbosch, South Africa to decide who will remain in the Series next season.

The men’s Series has seen five different winners (Australia, Samoa, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand) through the opening 10 tournaments.

New Zealand became the first nation other than hosts France to secure their Paris 2024 Olympic spot in Singapore, while both Argentina and double-Olympic gold medal winners Fiji claimed their spot in Toulouse.

Toulouse champions New Zealand will face South Africa, Great Britain and USA in Pool A, while Pool B will feature Argentina, Ireland, Fiji and invitational side Japan.

France Sevens bronze medal winners Les Bleus headline Pool C alongside Australia, Spain and Samoa with all eyes on the fixture at 12:47pm on Saturday between Australia and Samoa in the battle to qualify for Paris 2024.

Australia Captain Nick Malouf said: “You can never underestimate something like an Olympic Games, for sure it would be a great achievement for the team to be set for Paris. We haven’t changed our approach for this weekend in London, you have to stick with what you know. We’ll be trying to give our best performances every time we step on the field.

“To be in the same pool as Samoa doesn’t worry us, we’ll focus on our game. We play great teams on the series all year round. It’s always a huge challenge whoever you are up against and that game will be no different, I’m sure it’s something we’ll be ready for. We’ll hopefully get the rewards for all our hard work this season, not just in one game in this tournament.”

The battle for the 11th spot on the 2024 Series, and therefore avoiding this weekend’s World Rugby Sevens Series 2024 Play-off, went right down to the wire in Toulouse last Sunday. Spain defeated Samoa while Uruguay were defeated by Fiji, which saw Spain secure their spot on the 2024 Series.

This weekend’s play-off will consist of a round-robin between Uruguay, Canada, who finished fourth in Toulouse, Kenya and Tonga, the World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 champions. The opening two matches will be played on Saturday with the final pool match taking place on Sunday morning.

The top two ranked teams following the group stage will square off on Sunday evening ahead of the cup final with the winner securing the 12th and final spot on the 2024 Series.

Canada captain Phil Berna said: “This is a great opportunity for us and we really see it that way after doing well recently. There are three really good teams all looking for the same thing and it certainly won’t be easy.

“We take a lot of confidence from the way we’ve been playing we just have to put the same level of performance in here in London and hopefully that will lead to good things. The World Series is a big prize for all the players and we’ll be doing our best to make sure we’re there next season. We have to keep working as we always do, this is obviously a big weekend but we have to trust that if we keep focused and stay playing the game in front of us then the rest will take care of itself.”

Play gets under way at 09:39 local time (BST) on Saturday with Australia taking on Spain in Pool C, with the final match of the day seeing Series leaders New Zealand taking on South Africa at 18:33.

With the Series concluding on Sunday, participating teams present in London will attend the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Awards in the evening to recognise and celebrate the achievements of those involved in the 2023 competition.