Sept 16,2014(ISN) – Defending champions New Zealand will play Samoa, France and Japan on the first day of the new season, after the pools were drawn for the first round of the HSBC Sevens World Series on Australia’s Gold Coast on 11-12 October.
Having finished runners-up to New Zealand in 2013, Australia will be looking to go one better on home soil this season. They line up against Fiji, Scotland and Portugal at Cbus Super Stadium, formerly known as Skilled Park.
Commonwealth Games gold medalists South Africa will face Kenya, Samoa and American Samoa on day one and in the fourth of the pools England and Argentina will kick off the Series at 09:50. They are joined by USA and Canada with every match this season bringing a new level of passion and excitement as teams vie for the four direct qualification spots for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“The aim for us is to go one better than last year on the Gold Coast to get those all-important World Series championship points,” said Australia’s Cameron Clark, a member of last season’s Sevens Dream Team.
“In order to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, we need to be at the top end of the World Series, playing in Cup quarter finals and semi finals on a regular basis. We ultimately want to be more consistent, something which we seem to be achieving with each passing tournament.
“We’re all looking forward to playing on the Gold Coast. We haven’t played a lot of footy lately and a lot of the squad are jumping out of their skin to get out on the paddock. We’ll have the crowd backing us. Friends and family will be there to support us and it’s always special to play at home.”
Avan Lee, IRB’s General Manager for Sevens said: “The 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series promises to be the most exciting season of Sevens to date. With Olympic qualification at stake, all teams will want to start well in the Gold Coast.
“Reigning Series champions New Zealand and Commonwealth Games winners South Africa might start as favorites but a number of teams like Fiji, England, Australia and Canada are also desperate to gain direct qualification into the 2016 Olympics in Rio”