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Title threat

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, December 07, 2012

NEW Zealand sevens skipper DJ Forbes feels their South Africa 7s title defence is under threat given the tough pool the side has been drawn in at the tournament in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

The 2012/13 International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series leaders will have to overcome Fiji, England and Scotland in a bid to win their fourth successive title at the Port Elizabeth Bay Stadium.

Forbes told their ultimate goal was winning the 2012/13 IRB series and they would do their best to keep the lead heading into the third leg of the series at home in Wellington.

"We are in the pool of death and as far as we are concerned we need to get the job done on day one. We have lost two Cup finals this year so of course we want to win here," Forbes, who turns 30 next week, said.

"To show our consistency is good, but it is still disappointing to trip up in the end. Our ultimate goal is the World Series, but the beauty of the Sevens for us is that we have another chance to get back on the horse.

"We have been pretty successful, but we don't want to rely on the previous results to get us through but we are looking to exhaust all avenues to get a Cup win here in South Africa."

The Digicel Fiji 7s side, which is trailing NZ by six points, is hoping to bounce back this weekend in a bid to reclaim the lead they set at the Gold Coast 7s in Australia.

Team manager Semi Rogoyawa told Times Sport the team was ready to end a six-year winless drought in South Africa this weekend. He assured fans to expect an improved performance from the team that bundled out in the Plate semi-finals at the hands of world champs Wales at Dubai 7s last weekend.

Coach Alifereti Dere is likely to maintain the same line-up from Dubai which will feature the captain Setefano Cakau, Levani Botia, Joji Ragamate and Ilai Tinai in our opening pool match against England tomorrow night.

"We have the same 12 players from Dubai and just like last weekend, we will be using all 12 players during the game," Rogoyawa said. "People need to understand that this is a totally different level than playing back in Fiji and it's hard to compete here because there are no weak teams in this tournament."

Rogoyawa said the weather in South Africa was similar to Fiji but windier than home.

He said they were hoping for a good crowd support despite a lower fan base compared to that of other cities where the series is being played.

Fiji will play England at 10.22pm, Scotland at 1.28am Sunday and New Zealand at 5.58am.

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