The Qantas Australian Men's team has been handed an awkward pool for the London Sevens after being drawn alongside Wales, Japan and New Zealand.
First up for Geraint John's side in Pool B is Wales. Since the two countries first clashed in Shanghai in April 2001, they have met 31 times in the Sevens World Series with the Australians winning 25 of those ties. The last time the two teams played against each other was in Tokyo last month when the Aussies won a tight Bowl Semi-Final (17-12) in atrocious conditions. The most memorable game in recent memory was the Cup Quarter-Final at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Wales raced into a 19-point lead at the break after tearing the men in gold apart in the opening period, only for Australia to launch a stirring fightback culminating in Pama Fou crossing over well after the siren to hand his side a remarkable victory.
It will be the first time that Australia has met Japan in the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series having last played each other at Twickenham exactly a year ago. Tries from Ed Jenkins, Lausii Taliauli, Jesse Parahi and Sam Myers helped Australia to a 28-0 win. In the Sevens World Series, Australia has won 11 out of 11 matches to date.
The fixture against New Zealand evokes memories of a classic Cup Final at Twickenham last season. Eighty-five points were scored as the All Blacks eventually took out the game to confirm their spot as the premier side in the 2013/14 series. Australia beat New Zealand for the first time in four-and-a-half years in Tokyo in April though our trans-Tasman cousins have the better head-to-head record between the two countries having one 52 out of 61 games since the first meeting in November 1999 in Stellenbosch.
Australia currently sit fifth in the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series heading into the final round at Twickenham Stadium, 16 points behind fourth-placed England. Fiji and South Africa are set to duel it out for the World Series title with only five points separating the two countries.
Qantas Australian Men's Sevens Head Coach Geraint John will finalise his 12-man squad for the tournament on Wednesday (GMT).
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens results in London, England, 16-17 May:
Australia v Wales, Pool B, 7.28pm, 16 May
Australia v Japan, Pool B, 10.34pm, 17 May
Australia v New Zealand, Pool B, 2.02am, 17 May