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NZ Pool D profile (POR, FIJ, AUS, SCO)

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Portugal have reached two successive Cup quarter finals this season, can they make a third in Wellington?

We profile the four teams making up Pool D at the 2012 Hertz Sevens in Wellington, round 4 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, with key stats on the team’s World Series record and a lowdown on their season so far…

port1PORTUGAL
Played: 307
Won: 111 (36.00%)
Tournaments: 58
Debut: Series 2 – Dubai
Highest Score: 50 – 0 v THAILAND, Hong Kong 2010

Final ranking last season: 15th
Coach: Frederico Sousa

Of the three new core teams, Portugal will probably be the happier of the three, having bounced back superbly from losing all five of their games in Australia to reach the last eight of the Cup in both Dubai and South Africa. Pedro Leal is a player of genuine class and watch how tirelessly they work for each other. Then remember they’re all amateurs with jobs, businesses to run or finals exams to sit.

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fiji1FIJI

Played: 631
Won: 480 (76.00%)
Tournaments: 112
Debut: Series 1 – Dubai
Highest Score: 82-7 v Thailand, Hong Kong 2010

Final ranking last season: 2nd
Coach: Alifereti Dere

After hitting the high notes to defend their Cup title on the Gold Coast, Fiji have suffered a slight dip in form but currently still lie in third place, 16 behind New Zealand. On the downside, that is a lot already to make up on such a consistent team. On a positive note, coach Alifereti Dere has blooded no fewer than 14 new players already this season and will be hoping he can welcome back Ratu Raitini in Wellington to lessen the creative and scoring burden that has fallen on the shoulders of Joji Raqamate in his absence. Levani Botia led them superbly on the Gold Coast but Setefano Cakau is the man in charge on the pitch.

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aus7s1AUSTRALIA

Played: 606
Won: 377 (62%)
Tournaments: 112
Debut: Series 1 – Dubai
Highest Score: 73 – 0 v SRI LANKA, Commonwealth Games 2006

Final ranking last season: 6th
Coach: Michael O’Connor

Of the major rugby unions nearer the bottom of the table than the top, Australia coach Michael O’Connor may be the one closest to being satisfied, having seen a younger-than-ever side respond magnificently in a hostile atmosphere in South Africa and cap a fighting display with an assured win against the Cup champions of the week before, Samoa. O’Connor has at least six top class players due to come back from injury for the short hop over the Tasman to Wellington and his young guns held the fort admirably well, and bolstered his options.

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scotland1SCOTLAND

Played: 451
Won: 190 (42%)
Tournaments: 85
Debut: Series 1 – Dubai
Highest Score: 82 – 0 v SINGAPORE, Hong Kong 2006

Final ranking last season: 10th
Coach: Phil Greening

Scotland coach Phil Greening is under no illusions as to the task ahead if his men are not to find themselves in that relegation battle at the season’s end. Michael Fedo has been a giant plus, captain Colin Gregor and Andy Turnbull continue to ask questions of the opposition and Greening will have taken solace from that fine win against Fiji in South Africa, but the Scots will need to show far greater consistency if they are to climb above the likes of Spain, USA and Canada.

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Source: IRB Sevens

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