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By ARU Media Unit
Australia’s Men’s Sevens side have been drawn in Pool A alongside France, Spain and Tunisia for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow this June.
The official Rugby World Cup Sevens pool draw took place overnight in the host city with the Australians ranked at the top of Pool A.
The 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens will take place in Russia from 28-30 June, giving sides four more rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series to prepare.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens are currently ranked 11th in the World Series, while France sit in fifth place, Spain are 14th and Tunisia unranked.
Qantas Men’s Sevens coach, Michael O’Connor, said while it was difficult to predict how the pool would play out, he was looking forward to the tournament.
“I’m excited for the tournament,” O’Connor said.
“Everything is on the line during a World Cup. Anything can happen in Sevens so we’ve just got to prepare ourselves and get better.
“We’ve got to worry more about our own game at the moment.”
Australia finished up Plate finalists at the last Rugby World Cup Sevens held in Dubai in 2009, losing their final match 21-17 to Scotland.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens have little recent experience with their 2013 pool opponents, having faced France and Spain only once in the current series and not played Tunisia since the 2008-09 series.
Their most recent meeting with France was a 31-5 loss in South Africa in the current series, while other encounters in recent times saw the sides draw 10-10 in New Zealand last season and Australia win 31-10 in Hong Kong the season before.
Against Spain, Australia recently lost 24-14 in Las Vegas, but ran out 17-12 winners in the last round of last season.
The last time Australia and Tunisia played was in South Africa in the 2008-09 series, which Australia won 33-21.
Qantas Men’s Sevens captain Ed Jenkins said Rugby Sevens has become incredibly competitive since the 2009 World Cup.
“There’s been a massive improvement in teams since the last World Cup,” Jenkins said.
“No team has an easy pool in Sevens, any team can beat you on any given day.
“You’ve always got to play at your best in Sevens. To win the World Cup, you’ve got to play your best and beat every side you’re up against, so the draw doesn’t change your preparation.”
France have seen some success on the World Series this season, with their best finish so far second place in South Africa, after they lost 47-12 to New Zealand in the Cup final.
Spain too have impressed in their first year as a World Series core team, after they opened the season with a shock 19-14 win over England in the Bowl final on the Gold Coast.
Australia’s best finish to date this season was fifth place, after defeating Scotland 22-7 in the Plate final in New Zealand earlier this year.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens next tournament in the HSBC Sevens World Series is in Hong Kong on 22-24 March.
The Qantas Australian Women’s Sevens team begins its quest for Olympic qualification in Rio with Dubai first up in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in December.