HSBC World Sevens Series : Wellington Sevens: Pool D Preview

HSBC World Sevens Series : Wellington Sevens: Pool D Preview

IRBsevens.com profile the four teams making up Pool D at the 2012 Hertz Sevens in Wellington, round 4 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, with key stats on the team's World Series record and a lowdown on their season so far...

IRBsevens.com profile the four teams making up Pool D at the 2012 Hertz Sevens in Wellington, round 4 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, with key stats on the team's World Series record and a lowdown on their season so far...

PORTUGAL
Played: 307
Won: 111 (36.00%)
Tournaments: 58
Debut: Series 2 - Dubai
Highest Score: 50 - 0 v THAILAND, Hong Kong 2010

Final ranking last season: 15th
Coach: Frederico Sousa
Of the three new core teams, Portugal will probably be the happier of the three, having bounced back superbly from losing all five of their games in Australia to reach the last eight of the Cup in both Dubai and South Africa. Pedro Leal is a player of genuine class and watch how tirelessly they work for each other. Then remember they're all amateurs with jobs, businesses to run or finals exams to sit.

FIJI
Played: 631
Won: 480 (76.00%)
Tournaments: 112
Debut: Series 1 - Dubai
Highest Score: 82-7 v Thailand, Hong Kong 2010

Final ranking last season: 2nd
Coach: Alifereti Dere

After hitting the high notes to defend their Cup title on the Gold Coast, Fiji have suffered a slight dip in form but currently still lie in third place, 16 behind New Zealand. On the downside, that is a lot already to make up on such a consistent team. On a positive note, coach Alifereti Dere has blooded no fewer than 14 new players already this season and will be hoping he can welcome back Ratu Raitini or another flyer in Wellington to lessen the creative and scoring burden that has fallen on the shoulders of Joji Raqamate in his absence. Levani Botia led them superbly on the Gold Coast but Setefano Cakau is the man in charge on the pitch.

AUSTRALIA
Played: 606
Won: 377 (62%)
Tournaments: 112
Debut: Series 1 - Dubai
Highest Score: 73 - 0 v SRI LANKA, Commonwealth Games 2006

Final ranking last season: 6th
Coach: Michael O'Connor

Of the major rugby unions nearer the bottom of the table than the top, Australia coach Michael O'Connor may be the one closest to being satisfied, having seen a younger-than-ever side respond magnificently in a hostile atmosphere in South Africa and cap a fighting display with an assured win against the Cup champions of the week before, Samoa. O'Connor may not be able to recall his captain Ed Jenkins, but with Jesse Parahi, Shannon Walker, Allan Fa'alava'au and Lewis Holland all back his options are much better for the short hop over the Tasman.

SCOTLAND
Played: 451
Won: 190 (42%)
Tournaments: 85
Debut: Series 1 - Dubai
Highest Score: 82 - 0 v SINGAPORE, Hong Kong 2006

Final ranking last season: 10th
Coach: Phil Greening

Stephen Gemmell takes back the coaching reigns from Phil Greening and will be under no illusions as to the task ahead if his men are not to find themselves further into the bottom three in a fortnight's time. Michael Fedo has been a giant plus, captain Colin Gregor and Andy Turnbull continue to ask questions of the opposition and they will have taken solace from that fine win against Fiji in South Africa, but the Scots will need to show far greater consistency if they are to climb above the likes of Spain, USA and Canada.

Fiji take victory at Wellington Sevens in 2010