New Zealand open season against USA
September 11, 2013
Fiji won the Gold Coast Sevens last season © Getty Images
Australia will play Samoa, Argentina and Scotland on day one of the HSBC Sevens World Series opener on the Gold Coast. Rugby World Cup Sevens and HSBC Sevens World Series champions New Zealand have been drawn alongside Kenya, United States and Tonga in Pool A, and they will play the Americans in the opening match of the season.
South Africa, the 2012-2013 World Series runners-up face World Cup runners-up England in Pool B, while defending Gold Coast Sevens champions Fiji will play Wales, Portugal and Canada in Pool C.
Australia finished equal-fifth at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, but coach Michael O'Connor acknowledges they are in a very competitive pool as Samoa and Argentina finished above the Australians in the 2012-2013 World Series standings.
Gold Coast Sevens Draw
"Argentina is coming off a very strong recent performance in Columbia at the World Games, where they finished a close second to South Africa," O'Connor said. "Scotland was one of the most improved sides last year, showing the benefit of an experienced player roster combined with a full-time centralised program. Scotland has had some significant wins over many of the top teams. Samoa must be one of the favourites to win the title, with so much local talent."
Australia captain Ed Jenkins, said the side was looking forward to getting back to the Gold Coast.
"It's hard to know where teams are currently at with their pre-season training so our focus is solely on our own preparation at the moment and where we can improve our game," Jenkins said. "Over the years we have had some great battles with Samoa, and there is no doubt that it will be a very physical encounter as usual. Argentina has been a side to knock us out in crucial games over the past few years so we will have to be at our best if we are to beat them in a month's time."
IRB Rugby Sevens general manager Avan Lee said "this is a pivotal time for Sevens with three years until our debut at the Olympic Games, and the Gold Coast is an exciting and eye-catching place for the HSBC Sevens World Series to kick off.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament