Preview: 2014 Wellington Sevens

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James Mortimer     01 Feb 2014     Getty Images

However it is England, not the hosts, who arrive it the capital as the champions.

The English Sevens men’s team, long announced as a consistent contender, defeated the All Blacks Sevens 19-14 in the host's first pool match last year.

While the Red Rose may have claimed Cup glory, it was Kenya who stole the headlines, beating South Africa en route to knocking New Zealand out in the Cup semi-finals.

This year, the Blitzbokke will have some licence to strut into the trendiest little capital in the world, if one was to believe the locals, winning the last two and now half of the four legs staged so far in the 2013/2014 Sevens World Series.

The South Africans 14-7 win over New Zealand in Las Vegas ensured they took the overall lead in the series standings, sitting on 78 points.

DJ Forbes and the All Blacks Sevens will not give up any ground without a fight, well placed on 77 points, even if some are beginning to suggest that the Blitzbokke is becoming something of a nemesis for the World Cup and series champions.

New Zealand has won 27 of their last 30 matches, with South Africa is second on the form list with 24 triumphs from the same number of fixtures.

But this classic grudge, indicative of the contests between the All Blacks and Springboks, will be put on hold.

The leg hosts will play Fiji first, a team that themselves have a bit of a point to prove.

After that stunning 44-0 victory over New Zealand, the All Blacks Sevens biggest loss in history, the ‘rematch’ was on in Vegas, which Sir Gordon’s troops won 12-7.

Overall, this is the closest contest of the series winning nations, with the ledger 41-32 in New Zealand’s favour.

It is however four a piece between the All Blacks Sevens and the Flying Fijians in Wellington.

Fiji haven't been able to maintain their consistency throughout the series yet, but that only makes them more dangerous.

The All Blacks Sevens have 44 reasons to remember that.

Spain and France will round out the host’s pool matches, with the latter chasing just their third victory over New Zealand in Sevens in 46 encounters over the history of the Sevens Series.

The squad is without the services of Declan O’Donnell, Joe Webber and Waisake Naholo.

Sam Dickson was not considered after being suspended in Las Vegas.

However Sevens maestro Tomasi Cama returns in what is a strong side.

Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has named the following 14 players to prepare for the fifth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Wellington (7, 8 February).

Tomasi Cama (Manawatu)
Scott Curry (Manawatu)
Ambrose Curtis (Wellington)
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)
Bryce Heem (Tasman)
Gillies Kaka (Hawke's Bay)
Akira Ioane (Auckland)
Mark Jackman (Canterbury)
Ben Lam (Auckland)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Matt Moulds (Northland)
Lote Raikabula (Wellington)
Sherwin Stowers (Counties Manukau)
George Tilsley (Manawatu)

Northland forward Matt Moulds is only newcomer having recently joined the All Blacks Sevens Wider Training Group.

The final playing side of 12 will be named Tuesday.

The squad assembles in Wellington on Sunday 2 February.


Pools for Wellington Sevens

Tietjens after losing to the Blitzbooke

What happened in Vegas?

USA 7s reaction

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