Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Sevens

Gordon Tietjens © Gallo Images

New Zealand target 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 quarterfinals 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.

Shop

The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R114.00
South Africa XV Ball
South Africa XV Ball Now: R119 Was: R200 Format:Sport EquipmentProduct type:SportDelivery:Dispatched within 24 hours (1 working day) This fan ball...
R119.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Brenden Nel
Is rugby in danger of losing its soul?
The advent of rugby as a professional sport has not been without its negativity, and despite the...

Gavin Rich
Bok resting plan key to hopes
How long ago does the Springbok clash with Wales, the one that they lost to end the 2014 on a note...

Kyle Brown
Fans, fun and Sevens success
The week leading up to the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens was a special one. The fans were passionate,...

Brendan Venter
Boks must think outside the box
Springbok supporters have every right to feel disenchanted after an underwhelming end-of-year tour.