HSBC Sevens World Series
Australia to face Sevens rivals Argentina
October 11, 2013
Australia's Shannon Walker sprints clear of Argentina's defence, Argentina v Australia, IRB Sevens World Series, Hong Kong, March 23, 2013
Shannon Walker will be hoping to be instrumental in Australia's match against Argentina in the pool round © Getty Images

Rugby sevens arch-rivals Argentina loom as Australia's biggest immediate hurdle in this weekend's season-opening tournament on the Gold Coast. To buck their history of starting slowly in the HSBC World Sevens Series, Australia will need to negotiate a pool including the Pumas as well as Samoa and Scotland at Skilled Park on Saturday.

Gold Coast Sevens Draw

  • Pool A: New Zealand, Kenya, United States, Tonga
  • Pool B: South Africa, England, France, Spain
  • Pool C: Fiji, Wales, Canada, Portugal
  • Pool D: Samoa, Australia, Argentina, Scotland

In 41 World Series encounters between Australia and Argentina, it's the Pumas who hold the edge, having won 22 clashes to Australia's 19. Argentina also ended Australia's tournament on the Gold Coast last year, defeating coach Michael O'Connor's men in the plate semi-final 17-14.

"Argentina have been a bogey side for Australian sevens," O'Connor said. "You have a look at our record over the past decade or since the World Series started, they've marginally got more wins that what we have. They're very competitive when it comes to playing Australia at sevens - they're good at it."

Samoa are also no easy opponent for Australia, going into the tournament on a high after beating Pacific Island rivals Fiji in the Oceania Sevens Championship recently. O'Connor enters the tournament optimistic, believing he has the right amount of experience in his squad to ensure they hit the ground running.

"The last couple of years, we've lost players to Super 15. There's always a process of rebuilding," he said. "But now we've got sufficient numbers of players who have played sevens, I believe, really to start the season off well."

Adding to Australia's drive is their hunger to end a decade-long wait and finally win another tournament on home soil. "Every year we want to win our home tournament," O'Connor said. "We haven't done it for over a decade now ... I'd be lying if I said it wasn't something we'd love to do."

HSBC Sevens World Series 2013-2014
Round 1 Australia (Gold Coast) October 12-13, 2013
Round 2 Dubai November 29-30, 2013
Round 3 South Africa (Port Elizabeth) December 7-8, 2013
Round 4 USA (Las Vegas) January 24-26, 2014
Round 5 New Zealand (Wellington) February 7-8, 2014
Round 6 Japan (Tokyo) March 22-23, 2014
Round 7 Hong Kong March 28-30, 2014
Round 8 Scotland (Glasgow) May 3-4, 2014
Round 9 England (London) May 10-11, 2014


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