Sevens preview: Gold Coast
It's back! The first of nine rounds on the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series circuit kicks off at Skilled Park on Saturday.
At the 2012 London Sevens in May, All Black Sevens skipper DJ Forbes lifted New Zealand's tenth Sevens World Series title in 13 years.
With a 14th series about to embark this weekend on the Gold Coast, the Kiwis will be looking to successfully defend their championship title and win an 11th.
Fiji, who finished runners-up behind New Zealand in last year's IRB Sevens World Series, defeated Forbes' team 26-12 in last year's Gold Coast final and will be looking to defend their Cup title.
It will be a much-changed Fijian team though with only one member remaining from last year's triumphant 12-man squad in Australia, and eight of the current squad will be playing in their first World Series event.
New Zealand, a previous Sevens winner in Australia, have six new faces in the team - Sam Dickson, Iopu Iopu, Warwick Lahmert, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Gareth Williams-Spiers and Jamie Verran.
"We've been working hard in the camp this week to come up with the right mix for the Gold Coast and I think we have a great blend of experience and new blood in this team," coach Gordon Tietjens said.
"Make no mistake, this will be a tough tournament for us and we are certainly realistic about our prospects.
"The first outing of the series is always a time when you feel your way to an extent with new players and new combinations."
New Zealand are in Pool A with two-time Australia Sevens winners South Africa, USA and Canada.
Fiji will share Pool B with hosts Australia, Scotland and Tonga.
England, third in last year's IRB World Series, head Pool C along with Samoa, Kenya and Spain, while Argentina, Wales, France and Portugal make up Pool D.
Pool matches are played on Saturday with the sudden-death games beginning on Sunday through to the final.