Pools for Hong Kong Sevens revealed

by Staff Writer

The draw for the iconic Hong Kong Sevens was made overnight with the Qantas Australian Men's team pitted with New Zealand, Scotland and Portugal.

The Pool B opponents that the Aussies will face off against at the 40,000-seater Hong Kong Stadium are no strangers to them. They have met both Portugal and Scotland three times already this season and have played the All Blacks in the last two tournaments in Wellington and New Zealand.

Australia were pooled with the Portuguese and Scots in the Gold Coast in Geraint John's first World Series tournament in charge of his adopted country. Wins over Portugal (29-0) and Scotland (24-14) ensured Australia qualified for the Cup Quarter-Finals in their home tournament.

The Aussies also played Scotland in Dubai, where they won a tight game 22-17 and put on an excellent attacking display to beat them for the third time this season last weekend in Las Vegas (40-14).

Australia have held the upper hand over Scotland since the Sevens World Series began in 1999, with Australia winning 29 of the 37 games between the two nations.

Portugal were grouped with Australia in Pool B in Port Elizabeth and despite getting off to a good start, the European outfit eventually succumbed 33-21. The two sides met again in Wellington a fortnight ago where Australia once again came out on top (29-0). Of the 20 matches between the two countries, the Aussies have won 17 of the 20 games.

New Zealand have proved somewhat of a bogey side for Australia, with the latter not winning against their trans-Tasman rivals since December 2011 in Dubai. The two nations have met twice this season, with the All Blacks emerging victorious on both occasions (26-7 in Wellington and 28-7 in Las Vegas).

Australia currently sit in the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series standings on 71 points, three clear of England in the race for the top four spot that will secure automatic qualification for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Draw for the Hong Kong Sevens (27-29 March 2015)

Pool A: Fiji, Canada, Samoa, Belgium

Pool B: New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Portugal

Pool C: South Africa, France, Argentina, Japan

Pool D: USA, England, Kenya, Wales

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