New Zealand target rugby Sevens record

New Zealand can become the first team to win the same leg of the International Rugby Board Sevens World Series for a fourth consecutive time when the South African round takes place in Port Elizabeth.

No other team has achieved this feat since the tournament started in 1999.

England won the Hong Kong leg from 2002 to 2004 and New Zealand retained the title at home from 2003 to 2005, but in South Africa they'll gun for their fourth.

The Kiwis will also want to recover from their 26-15 defeat agains Samoa in last week's Dubai final.

"You've got 16 pretty tough teams now; there's no easy games," said coach Gordon Tietjens ahead of Saturday's start.

He was less than pleased with the draw that put them in a pool featuring first leg winners Fiji -- who triumphed in Australia -- England and Scotland, which he called "ridiculous".

Each side plays its three opponents once with pool winners and runners-up advancing to the Cup quarter-finals Saturday when there will also be Plate, Bowl and Shield silverware up for grabs.

New Zealand lead the series without any title, having bowed to Samoa in Dubai and Fiji in October. The two victors are so far placed joint-second with Kenya in the standings with 32 points.

Hosts South Africa want to save face after crashing out against Portugal last weekend.

Last year's runners-up at the 45,000-seat Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium have included former IRS Sevens Player of the Year Cecil Afrika in their squad after a knee injury kept him from traveling to Dubai.

Ironically their hopes rested on Afrika last year as well after a rib injury prevented him from traveling to Emirates then.

"We know the fans expect us to do well and we will do our best not to disappoint them. It's nice to have Cecil back because he is such an important player for us," said coach Paul Treu.

Blitzbokke captain Kyle Brown is out of action with a broken ankle and will be replaced by Frankie Horne, who'll play his 44th World Series tournament.

His team are in Pool A with Samoa, France, and Australia.

Kenya, Wales, Argentina and Spain square off in Pool C.

Pool D will see Portugal, Canada, the United States and Zimbabwe compete for finalist positions.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • The return of Gigi Reyes Ellen Tordesillas, Contributor - The Inbox
    The return of Gigi Reyes

    By Ellen T.Tordesillas This is going to be fascinating. Atty. Gigi Reyes, former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile who is included among those accused of plunder in connection with the misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund, came back … Continue reading → …

  • Viernes Santo in Kalibo VERA Files - The Inbox
    Viernes Santo in Kalibo

    Photos by Little Wing Luna, VERA Files Text by Mitch Meñez Kalibo, Aklan--Viernes Santo or Good Friday is the most solemn of all the days in Holy Week. It commemorates the Passion and Death of Jesus on the Cross. The … Continue reading → …

  • Hugas Dugo VERA Files - The Inbox
    Hugas Dugo

    Text by Kimmy Baraoidan, VERA Files Photos by Chris Quintana and Kimmy Baraoidan Pakil, Laguna--In the small town of Pakil, Laguna resides a group of men who call themselves Hugas Dugo. Most members of the group are residents of the … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options