Kiwis handed favourable Commonwealth draw
July 1, 2010
New Zealand celebrate victory in 2006 © Getty Images
New Zealand have been drawn alongside Scotland, Canada and Guyana as they look to defend their Commonwealth Games Sevens title in New Delhi in October.
The tournament will mark the first time that Sevens has been present at a multi-sport event since the IOC confirmed its inclusion as an Olympic sport from the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016.
The Kiwis head Pool A and are overwhelming favourites to progress to the knockout phase of the competition, as they have done in winning the last three gold medals at the games - in 1998 (Kuala Lumpur), 2002 (Manchester) and 2006 (Melbourne).
South Africa lead Pool B and have been handed a challenging draw against Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Wales, Tonga and the hosts, India.
Samoan rugby is on a high at the moment after they added the Pacific Nations Cup title to their IRB Sevens World Series crown and they will have designs on gold after being drawn alongside Kenya, Uganda and Papua New Guinea in Pool C.
Ben Ryan's England are the big guns in Pool D, although Australia have proven to be a dangerous proposition this season. They will likely count Test wing Lachie Turner among their number as they take on the Pool's other teams, Namibia and Sri Lanka.
"Sevens has consistently proven to be successful at the Commonwealth Games and this year we are particularly excited that the event is being held in India, where Rugby is reaching out to new, young audiences in a rapidly developing market for our sport," IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said. "We are looking forward to what promises to be a memorable tournament for the global rugby family."
Nevertheless, the event in Delhi will go ahead without one of its major draw-cards due to Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth on the grounds of a military coup staged in the country in 2006. They have twice won silver medals in the tournament.