IRB confirms pool draw for NZ Sevens
The IRB has confirmed the pool draw for round 4 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the NZ International Sevens in Wellington on 3-4 February 2012.
The draw was made live on television before the Cup final of the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens, the third round of the 2011/12 season, won by New Zealand.
As SA Sevens champions, New Zealand top pool A on their home patch in Wellington, where they will be looking to defend their title. They face a tough trio of matches against former Series champions Samoa, Scotland and Japan.
South Africa reached their first Cup final of the current Series and top Pool B in Wellington with pool matches on day one against England, who lie one point behind them in the Series standings, USA and the Cook Islands.
Fiji lie joint top of the Series with New Zealand and were drawn top of Pool C but they face Wales, who beat them 48-0 in the Port Elizabeth Plate final, as well as two other physical challengers in Argentina and Tonga.
Fifth-ranked France top Pool D and they face sixth-ranked Australia, Canada and Kenya.
Following their first Cup win of the season in South Africa, the reigning Series champions New Zealand lie joint-top in the standings with Gold Coast winners Fiji, with South Africa and England close behind.
"It is going to be close going to Wellington, it is a great World Series," said New Zealand coach, Gordon Tiejtens.
"There is no easy draw and we go to Wellington, it is our tournament, but we know there is extra pressure because of that. Hopefully we can put together a good squad for that tournament."