1 Oct 2010

Rugby Sevens

11:40 pm on 1 October 2010

The New Zealand Rugby Sevens squad prepares for its fourth Commonwealth Games with a tough task ahead.

Not only has the team the weight of three previous gold medals on its metaphorical shoulders, the side has never lost a game since the sport was introduced at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games.

Expectations are high for coach Gordon Tietjens' squad, which enters the Commonwealth competition as top seeds. The team, captained by DJ Forbes, features a mixture of All Blacks and Rugby Sevens regulars.

All Blacks Hosea Gear, Zac Guildford and Ben Smith will travel to Delhi, as will current team members Tomasi Cama, Kurt Baker, Tim Mikkeslon, Lote Raikabula, Ben Souness, Toby Arnold and Sherwin Stowers.

The squad has been quick to find a replacement for injured All Black Adam Thomson, who was forced to pull out of the Commonwealth squad due to injury. All Black loose forward Liam Messam will replace him.

New Zealand face Scotland, Canada and Guyana in first round matches, while Australia will need to see off England, Namibia and Sri Lanka to progress through the Pool D draw.

Current World Series winners Samoa will face a challenge from Kenya in Pool C, which also includes Uganda and Papua New Guinea.

Pool B features the tough draw of South Africa, Wales, Tonga and India.

When and where

Some 16 teams are participating in this year's Rugby Sevens competition. The two-day event from 11-12 October will be staged at Delhi University.

NZ team

Toby Arnold (Mt Maunganui), Kurt Baker (New Plymouth), DJ Forbes - captain (Auckland), Hosea Gear (Wellington), Zac Guildford (Napier), Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Liam Messam (Waikato), Tim Mikkelson (Hamilton), Lote Raikabula (Wellington), Ben Smith (Dunedin), Ben Souness (New Plymouth), Sherwin Stowers (Auckland).

Pool A: New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Guyana.

Pool B: South Africa, Wales, Tonga, India.

Pool C: Samoa, Kenya, Uganda, Papua New Guinea.

Pool D: England, Australia, Namibia, Sri Lanka.

Athletes' profiles sourced from www.olympic.org.nz and event information sourced from http://www.cwgdelhi2010.org/