Moscow - Russia on Thursday unveiled the draw
for what is set to be a fiercely-contested Rugby World Cup Sevens in
Moscow, with holders Wales to clash with sevens specialists Fiji in the
Perennial favourites New Zealand should have few
problems safely negotiating their Pool D against the United States,
Canada and Georgia.
The six men's groups will also pit France
against Australia and hosts Russia in a tough Pool B against Japan,
Scotland and heavyweights South Africa.
International Rugby Board
(IRB) chairperson Bernard Lapasset said that the June 28-30 event would
"capture the hearts" of millions with one of the world's "most exciting
The World Cup will be the last edition
before Rugby Sevens becomes a full Olympic sport at the 2016 Rio
Olympics, where a host of top stars are expected to turn to the shorter
version of the game.
"The Russian people love Olympic sports... I
am confident that Moscow 2013 will be a resounding success," Lapasset
said at the glitzy draw in Moscow attended by Russian sports stars and
The tournament, by far the biggest rugby event
ever hosted by Russia, will be played at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow,
the centrepiece of the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the expected venue of
the football World Cup final in 2018.
The competition will also
give a huge boost to rugby in Russia, whose sporting traditions give it
great potential to become a big power but where the game is only just
starting to make waves.
Wales were the shock winners of the last
edition of the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai in 2009, when the four
favourites were knocked out in the quarter-finals -- one of the
attractions of the shortened version of rugby.
Fiji, winners of
the Sevens World Cup in 1997 and 2005, will always be fair bet given the
importance they stake on sevens, but Waisale Serevi, for many the
greatest sevens player ever, said there were no longer any guarantees in
a sport where the gaps between the teams have become ever narrower.
are no longer 'big teams' and 'small teams' in sevens, the margin is
closing between all the teams," the Fijian legend said.
As well as
the established northern hemisphere six nations and southern hemisphere
four nations, sevens brings a host of countries less seen in 15-aside
with Kenya in particular becoming a global force in recent years.
side hoping to spring a surprise will be the Philippines, a country
that will not only be making its first appearance in a rugby World Cup
but a world cup in any team sport.
Kenya and the Philippines have been drawn together in a potentially exciting group that also includes Zimbabwe and Samoa.Meanwhile, South Africa's women's Sevens side were also drawn in Pool B in their competition, alongside Australia, China and Ireland.
Pool A: Australia, Spain, France, Tunisia
Pool B: South Africa, Scotland, Russia, Japan
Pool C: Samoa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Philippines
Pool D: New Zealand, USA, Canada, Georgia
Pool E: Fiji, Wales, Tonga, Uruguay
Pool F: England, Argentina, Portugal, Hong Kong
Pool A: Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Tunisia
Pool B: Australia, South Africa, China, Ireland
Pool C: USA, Spain, Brazil, Fiji
Pool D: England, Russia, France, Japan