November 24 – The Gold Coast are set to stage their first major sporting competition since winning the right to stage the 2018 Commonwealth Games earlier this month with the HSBC Sevens World Series set to get underway in the city.
The Australian city saw off sole rivals Hambantota of Sri Lanka to stage the Commonwealth Games and it will get the chance to show the world exactly what is in store in 2018 with the inaugural Gold Coast Sevens which takes place tomorrow and Saturday (November 26).
The competition will take place at the 27,400 capacity Skilled Park, the home ground to the National Rugby League's Gold Coast Titans, and the world's top rugby sevens players have praised the both the stadium and the city as a world class sporting destination.
"To start the Series in the Gold Coast, it is a bit of a paradise here, so we are all really excited about it and playing in a great stadium, the home of the Gold Coast Titans," said New Zealand captain DJ Forbes.
"Pressure is always on New Zealand, and there might be more with being defending champions, but we never go into a Series defending a title, we just go out like all the others to win it."
England captain Greg Barden added: "Looking around, its 30 degrees already, beautiful sunshine and no better place to start the Series."
New Zealand and England will be two of the favourites for victory in the Gold Coast along with hosts Australia, who are one of a number of countries who have started investing far more in the sport since it became an Olympic sport, set to feature at Rio 2016.
"The home crowd will help us out a lot," said Australia captain Ed Jenkins.
"It is almost like playing with an extra man if the crowd can get up and make a lot of noise for us and I think it will be really beneficial."
A total of 16 teams will participate in the competition which could provide an indication of what the rugby sevens competition will look like at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Men's rugby sevens has featured at every Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur 1998 and is now a compulsory sport at the competition while women's rugby sevens could make its debut on the Gold Coast after the sport was voted onto the sports programme as optional sports earlier this month.
By Tom Degun