Just three days after the announcement that Rugby will return to the Olympic Games in 2016, The International Rugby Board and SARU have confirmed the draw for the 2009 Emirates Airline SA Sevens tournament in George on 11-12 December 2009. Hosts and defending champions South Africa are the top seeded team in Pool A, which has an African flavor to it with Zimbabwe and Kenya also there. France are the sole representatives from Europe.
Just three days after the announcement that Rugby will return to the Olympic Games in 2016, The International Rugby Board and SARU have confirmed the draw for the 2009 Emirates Airline George Sevens on 11-12 December 2009. The draw for the first leg of the series, the Dubai Sevens, was made last week.
Hosts and defending champions South Africa are the top seeded team in Pool A, which has an African flavor to it with Zimbabwe and Kenya also there. France are the sole representatives from Europe.
Fiji top Pool B and shall battle it out with Australia, Portugal, and European champions, Russia. Former title holders New Zealand will be out to regain their winning-status in George and have been drawn in a tough pool alongside Sevens World Cup winners Wales, traditional Pacific Island rival Samoa and the ever-improving USA.
In Pool D, Scotland face pool matches against USA Sevens champions Argentina, Tunisia and Wellington and London champions, England.
Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu said he is pleased with the draw but warned that there would be no easy game on the first day: “The first two tournaments of the new season promises to be very tough because the teams are intent on making a strong start.
“Two of the teams in our group have shown recently that they are on the way up and there are no more easy matches nowadays. The Kenyans were very good last season and Zimbabwe showed how dangerous they can be by beating Argentina in the recent Trustco Namibian Sevens.
“All four the pools for George will be hotly contested and an upset or two is very possible. We are there as defending champions, which would add some pressure, but if we can get the same level of support as last year, we can defend out title,” said Treu.
He added: “Although we’ve lost some very good players, we’ve also gained a few exciting new faces and we are really looking forward to the season.”
"The first two tournaments showcase perfectly the appeal of the Series, from the heat and desert of Dubai, we head straight down to South Africa's stunning Garden Route. In rugby terms, it's a unique product,” said IRB Sevens Manger Beth Coalter.
IRB George Sevens:
Pool A – South Africa, Kenya, France, Zimbabwe
Pool B – Fiji, Australia, Portugal, Russia
Pool C – New Zealand, Wales, Samoa, USA.
Pool D – Scotland, England, Argentina, Tunisia,