New Zealand look to finish on top at Gold Coast
October 11, 2013
Sherwin Stowers will be hoping to celebrate a Cup final win at the Gold Coast Sevens for the first time © Getty Images
New Zealand want to take an extra step when they contest the first leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series on Queensland's Gold Coast this weekend. Coach Gordon Tietjens has selected an experienced team for the 16-nation tournament, at the Skilled Park venue which holds mixed memories for them since it was introduced to the series two years ago.
Gold Coast Sevens Draw
Both tournaments there have seen New Zealand reach the final but then lose heavily to Fiji. That record has become symptomatic of Tietjens' team, who reached the final in seven of nine tournaments on the way to winning last year's series but only won two of them.
Winger Sherwin Stowers says that record isn't weighing the team down this week although he suspects Tietjens will be doing his utmost to ensure the recent trend ends. "This a new series and it is important for us to start with a bang and hopefully go one better this year. Nothing changes for us in terms of preparation and we trust our coach. He is the best coach in the world and he knows the game in and out."
New Zealand are without the injured Gillies Kaka this week but the team led by captain DJ Forbes is otherwise similar to the outfit who won the World Cup and secured an 11th series crown in 14 attempts earlier this year.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter