The pools and match schedule have been announced for the Australian International Rugby Sevens in Adelaide, the sixth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The tournament will be played at the city's historic Adelaide Oval on 2-3 April, one week after the Hong Kong Sevens, with hosts Australia drawn in a tough pool alongside Fiji, USA and Tonga.
At the halfway stage in the HSBC Sevens World Series, New Zealand and England are tied on 80 points at the top of the standings. Fiji and Samoa lie just 16 points behind on 64, the most recent Cup champions South Africa are still well in contention on 56 and Australia head the rest of the chasing pack on 36 heading for Hong Kong and Adelaide.
Joint Series leaders New Zealand and England head Pools A and B respectively in Adelaide. Eight-time World Series winners New Zealand face matches on day one against Kenya, Wales and the first of the regional qualifiers, Cook Islands.
England missed out on the Cup final for the first time this season in Las Vegas and will be looking to kick-start their season in Pool B with opening matches against Argentina, Scotland and Papua New Guinea.
USA Sevens runners-up Fiji head Pool C and face three tough matches against host nation Australia, USA and Tonga.
Having won the Cup title in Las Vegas, their first since winning in Adelaide in April 2009, South Africa head Pool D. The resurgant Boks face defending Adelaide and World Series champions Samoa as well as France and Japan.
“The Adelaide Oval is a special place for the teams to compete, steeped as it is in history and tradition, and the event there also has a habit of illustrating just how competitive Rugby Sevens has become, with Kenya and the USA reaching the Cup final in the last two years,” commented IRB Sevens Manager, Beth Coalter.
“Interestingly, neither of the two sides currently leading the World Series, New Zealand and England, have ever won there so we can expect more drama and excitement at the Adelaide Oval. The weekend is sure to go a long way towards shaping the Series one week after the events of Hong Kong.”