Easy World Cup draw for SA

2013-03-01 00:00

MOSCOW — Russia yesterday unveiled the draw for what is set to be a fiercely-contested Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, with South Africa’s Blitsbokke being handed a favourable draw alongside Scotland, Russia and Japan in Pool B.

Holders Wales clash with sevens specialists Fiji in Pool E.

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.

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 sporting spectacles”.

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 even cosmonauts.

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.

“There 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.

One 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, SA’s women’s sevens side were also drawn in Pool B in their competition, alongside Australia, China and Ireland.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.