Rugby: Holders Wales drawn in tough group for Sevens World Cup

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Holders Wales were handed a tough draw on Thursday after being grouped with former winners Fiji for this year's Rugby Sevens World Cup to be staged for the first time in Russia.

Wales, who won the trophy four years ago when they beat Argentina in the final, will also face Fiji's Pacific neighbours Tonga and outsiders Uruguay in Group E following an elaborate draw ceremony held at the Petroff Palace in Moscow.

The sport is being included on the Olympic programme for the first time, starting from 2016.

Twenty four teams were drawn in six first-round groups, with the top team from each group, together with the two best runners-up progressing to the quarter-finals.

New Zealand, ranked No. 1 in the world in the shorter as well as the longer version of the game, were drawn to meet North American rivals, Canada and the United States, as well as Georgia in Group D.

Australia, France, Spain and Tunisia comprise Group A, while South Africa, Scotland and Japan will face hosts Russia in Group B.

African nations Kenya and Zimbabwe were placed with Samoa and Philippines in Group C, while 1993 champions England will take on Argentina, Portugal and Hong Kong in Group F.

Kenya are an emerging force on the sevens circuit, earlier this month beating New Zealand in a huge shock and then leading England with only seconds remaining in the NZ Sevens final before losing in sudden death extra time.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.