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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens are geared up for the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Wellington, New Zealand, where they will look to improve on their current ranking of 10th.
The Australians last finish on the circuit was a Bowl championship in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where they defeated Samoa 26-14 in the Bowl final.
While Qantas Men’s Sevens coach Michael O’Connor has welcomed back several key players from injury for the Wellington tournament, he knows how difficult a contest they face.
“It’s a tough pool with some strong opposition,” O’Connor said.
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
The Qantas Men’s Sevens have been placed in Pool D, alongside a dangerous mix of opponents in Portugal, Scotland and Fiji.
The Australians are currently the third ranked team in their pool, with both Fiji (3) and Portugal (9) ranked above them, while Scotland are currently ranked 15th on the series.
While they are yet to face Portugal on this year’s World Series, O’Connor is well aware of the threat they pose.
“Portugal are giant killers, they got to the Cup quarter finals in Dubai,” O’Connor said.
“They’re an experienced side with a good crop of young players coming through. That will be a tough first game.”
The only encounter between Australia and Fiji so far this season was a 15-14 win to the hosts of the Gold Coast Sevens in October last year.
The result is one a piece between Australia and Scotland, with a 22-0 win to Australia on the Gold Coast and a 29-14 win to Scotland in Dubai.
“Scotland are an interesting side,” O’Connor said.
“They beat Fiji in South Africa and us in Dubai for the first time in my history of coaching Australia. They’re really making strides.
“The Fijians are in form and currently ranked third in the series, they’re always a threat.”
The Wellington Sevens, held at Westpac Stadium, runs 1-2 February. The Qantas Men’s Sevens open their tournament against Portugal on Friday 1 February at 12:28pm (AEDT), before facing Fiji at 15:46pm (AEDT) and Scotland at 18:28 (AEDT).
Day 2 of the tournament will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 3HD from 11am to 8:30pm on Sunday 2 February.
Qantas Men’s Sevens Wellington squad
Jesse Parahi (C)