Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens: Blitzbok look to retain Gold
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 27: South Africa players celebrate after winning the gold medal match in the rugby sevens at Ibrox Stadium during day four of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on July 27, 2014 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Robina Stadium will see a showcase of rugby sevens talent this weekend. The majority of the best men’s teams will all concentrate their efforts at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens tournament.

16 men’s teams will compete for the Gold Medal from April 13-15, with South Africa as the defending Commonwealth champs. The draw has been broken into four groups of four teams. Download the full schedule here

  • Pool A: South Africa, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia
  • Pool B: England, Australia, Samoa, Jamaica
  • Pool C: New Zealand, Kenya, Canada, Zambia
  • Pool D: Fiji, Wales, Uganda, Sri Lanka

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens: The LOWDOWN

South Africa will be the favorites – the current HSBC Sevens Series champions. The side are taking inspiration from the fellow athletes, who will also be in attendance to support the Blitzbok as they look to retain their crown.

On the World Rugby circuit, South Africa currently sit second. Chasing Fiji, the team from the South Seas are chasing their own personal ‘white whale’ – the elusive Commonwealth Games title missing from that teams proud record.

However, don’t count out the four times champs New Zealand. Nor can you discount hosts Australia. Their motivation will be high. Both for the local support, but for James Stannard; who was unceremoniously attacked in public, and ruled out of the games.

The underdogs will be Kenya, Wales and Scotland.

Men’s Draw – Pool A

South Africa

The champs from Glasgow are leaving no stones un-turned. They have brought their best, rested them for the Hong Kong Sevens as they aim to retain their crown.

Selwyn Davids has been called-up to replace Ryan Oosthuizen in the star-studded squad.  Boosted now with ‘reinforcements’. Seabelo Senatla will be a key man, together with Kwagga Smith. click here for full squad.

They have the team to walk away with gold, no doubts. Reach the semi-finals, and the question for everyone is ‘Can the Blitsbok stop either Fiji, New Zealand and Australia?’

Scotland

Two late changes to the John Dalziel coached side, with Gavin Lowe and Matt Fagerson returning home with injuries. They have been replaced by Ally Miller and Robbie Fergusson.

The Scottish men will be one of the underdogs, yet they can win if they are consistent. click here for full squad.

Malaysia

They have been to the games five times before, and will be out to learn more. Former Kiwi sevens skipper DJ Forbes has been spending time with them, so expect a few surprises.

Papua New Guinea

They did well at the Series Qualifiers in Hong Kong, unlucky to miss out in fact. Wesley Vali and Freddy Rova need to step-up, to be recognized by their Commonwealth opponents. The team works around them, and they can be very competitive. click here for full squad.

Men’s Draw – Pool B

England

A very experienced side was named by Simon Amor as England quest for first Games Gold. Plenty experience with Dan Norton and Tom Mitchell.

Inconsistent this season but they will rise in Gold Coast. Phil Burgess and Ruaridh McConnochie will be vital if given good balls. click here for full squad.

Australia

Jesse Parahi will lead the home side, in the absence of Lewis Holland and James Stannard. Ben O’Donell and Lachie Anderson will be the ones to watch, with speedster John Porch and elusive Tim Anstee.

Will the hosts be overwhelmed by the occasion. Making several cup knockout stages, the key for Australia is to stay unbeaten [for any chance of Gold]. click here for full squad

Samoa

The Sir Gordon Tietjens side is the side to watch in Pool B this weekend. Samoa can rise to the occasion and defy the odds. And with the huge prize on the line – and only the top side progressing – it is ‘now or never’.

Paul Perez, Alamada Motuga, Tila Mealoi, Alatasi Tupou and Tomasi Alosio will have to raise their game. Jacob Ale and David Afamasaga will be the ones to watch. Click here for full squad.

Jamaica

Last week’s experience at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens was the perfect warm-up for the Jamaican side. To match themselves against Japan, Germany, Chile and Ireland, will mean this side comes in knowing what to expect.

The island nation have fast men, so teams need to watch for the intercept, run away try. Because there is no catching these fit and enthusiastic players. click here for full squad.

Pools A and B – What to Expect?

Many will presume that the feature games will be in the all important semi-finals. Critical, but not reached before the pool games are all completed. Pool B is where this factor is essential.

Samoa have a good opportunity to face down hosts Australia. A team they have not always been able to defeat. And the same can be said of England. The more successful of the three yet, on a bad day they are their own worst enemies.

Those matches will be the ones that hold fans attention, because Day Two is the first step. If the weather stays dry, then the elements within sides control are their ability to attack and to compete at the ruck.

Read more on Pools C and D here.

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The women open this weekends play, on Day One. The men’s team play their pool games on Day Two, with the semi-finals and all important Gold Medal matches on Day Three.

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