South Africa, the defending IRB Sevens World Series champions, will be hoping to end a run of five straight losses to Fiji this season when they come face to face in Pool C, which also features Canada and France.
The pools and match schedule for the Emirates Airline London Sevens at Twickenham on May 22-23 have been announced by the International Rugby Board.
Samoa currently lead the Series by six points from New Zealand and as a result are the top seeds in the 16-team tournament with New Zealand, Fiji and Australia also heading a pool.
The opening match will be a repeat of the Cup final in Adelaide last month with Samoa looking to beat USA and get their challenge for a fourth successive Cup title off to a flying start before facing Italy and Argentina in Pool A. Defending champions England will face two traditional sporting rivals on day one in Australia – the side they beat in the Hong Kong Cup quarter finals – and Scotland, with Russia the other side in Pool D. New Zealand, winners in Dubai and George in December, are joined in Pool B by crowd favourites Kenya, RWC Sevens champions Wales and Portugal.
Pool A Teams: Samoa (SAM) Argentina (ARG) United States (USA) Italy (ITA)
Pool B Teams: New Zealand (NZL) Kenya (KEN) Wales (WAL) Portugal (POR)
Pool C Teams: Fiji (FIJ) South Africa (RSA) Canada (CAN) France (FRA)
Pool D Teams: Australia (AUS) England (ENG) Scotland (SCO) Russia (RUS)
“The scene is set for what promises to be a highly-competitive tournament played in front of a record crowd in London. With just two events left to be played it is anyone’s guess as to who will be crowned champions with just six points seperating Samoa and New Zealand at the top of the standings,” said IRB Sevens Manager Beth Coalter.
IRB Sevens head, Beth Coalter
“This has undoubtedly been the most competitive Series to date and the likes of USA, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Fiji and of course Hosts England will be looking to record their first Series title of the year. It will be two days of compelling action.”
“Following Rugby Sevens’s Olympic inslusion there has been a marked increase in profile and attendance for the record-breaking Series and I am sure that London will be superbly attended once again,” added Coalter.
England Sevens Head Coach Ben Ryan said, “We can’t wait to return to Twickenham and get our title defence underway. We are up against tough opposition in the pool stages with Russia, Scotland and Australia but coming to London for our home event is always special and I’m hoping this will give the players an extra boost as they play in front of their family and friends.”
Copying Hong Kong’s South Stand
Ryan continued: “Last year the crowd were fantastic, they really got the behind the players right the way to the final. This year promises to be even more exciting with the superhero fancy dress theme and we hope to see as many fans as possible out in fancy dress on Sunday taking part in the record attempt.”
More than 30,000 tickets have already been sold for the event with fans being encouraged to dress as their favourite superheroes in an attempt to break the record for the largest gathering of superheroes on the final day.
Click here to view the London Sevens match schedule