South Africa will face defending champions Australia at the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Russia after the draw was made Moscow on Thursday.
Australia got the better of South Africa in a thrilling semi-final in Dubai four years ago and the pool clash between the Southern Hemisphere rivals promises to deliver another action-packed encounter.
Along with South Africa and Australia in Pool B will be China and Ireland.
The best 24 men’s and 16 women’s team will kick-off in this much anticipated global event, the first time a major Sevens event will be staged Russia.
The draw was made on Thursday at Petroff Palace in the heart of the city in the presence of some of Russia’s most celebrated cosmonauts, Olympians and government representatives as well as Rugby’s top officials.
The women's draw will also see Brazil, the last team to qualify for the tournament, alongside USA, Spain and Fiji, while hosts Russia will face England, France and Japan.
Pool A will not be easy for any team, with Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands and Tunisia set to battle it out to reach the quarter-finals.
Natasha Hofmeester, a member of the SA team that narrowly lost against Australia four years ago in Dubai, said she and her team mates are looking forward to the Moscow challenge.
“Our match 2009 and our recent clash in the World Series Houston against Australia were really two close fought affairs, so we are bracing ourselves for another exciting match,” said Hofmeester.
“Compared to four years ago, when we were just starting out, we are now a much more settled team with more matches and more experience in our favour.
“We continue to grow as a team and the fact that we are now part of the Women’s World Series and playing in a second RWC are really exciting times for Women’s Rugby in South Africa,” explained Hofmeester, a former SARU Women’s Player of the Year.
With just four months to go, everything is coming together with local organisers and teams alike busy preparing for what will be a fiesta of speed, power, grace and skill.
The women’s event is split into four pools of four teams with the top two teams from each pool progressing to Cup quarter-finals. The defending champions are Australia.
The four bands of four for the women’s event are as follows:
Pool A: Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Tunisia
Pool B: Australia, South Africa, China, Ireland
Pool C: USA, Spain, Brazil, Fiji
Pool D: England, Russia, France, Japan