AUSTRALIA will launch the IRB World Sevens Series next month at the new Gold Coast venue with Scotland among their early opponents. The Australian leg opens the series with a shift from its Friday/Saturday format to a Saturday/Sunday event, and Scotland have been pitched in with the host nation, as well as Fiji and Oceania’s regional qualifier, Tonga.
Scotland are now under the guidance of former England hooker and sevens assistant Phil Greening, after Clark Laidlaw, the recent New Zealand sevens skills coach, turned down the position. The Scotsman’s request for an interview with Greening, first made when he was appointed a month ago, continues to be refused so we are yet to discover what Greening really thinks about the role he has taken on, but even with added funding and resources as the SRU talks up the importance of success in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it may not be any easier for him than it was for Graham Shiel, who remains as a skill coach.
The Scots were ranked tenth in world sevens standings at the end of 2011-12 and so once again kick off with two higher-seeded nations in their pools in the opening tournaments, which makes qualification for the quarter-finals a tough prospect. They can only change that by overcoming the top seeds and reaching the last eight, which Shiel’s squads failed to achieve once last season.
Defending champions New Zealand are in Pool A with South Africa, USA and Canada, England head Pool C and face 2009/10 World Series champions Samoa, Spain and Kenya, the latter now being coached by former England sevens chief, Mike Friday, and Argentina are in Pool D with Wales, France and Portugal.
New IRB chief executive Brett Gosper made the draw and spoke of the coming series as laying foundations in the build-up to rugby sevens entry into the Olympics in 2016.
“This is a hugely exciting time for me to have joined the IRB and I am delighted to have been involved in making the draw for the Gold Coast Sevens, our first major Rugby Sevens event in the new Olympic cycle,” he said. “The HSBC Sevens World Series has grown into a global brand attracting hundreds of thousands through the turnstiles and millions more on television around the world.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
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Wind direction: East