Hosts Scotland have been handed a tough assignment on home soil when they entertain the 15 travelling national sides at the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s, the climax to this year’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Scots line up in Pool D at Murrayfield and face opening day ties against both of the Pacific island giants in the draw, Samoa and Fiji, as well as Series regulars USA.
Last season the Scots performed heroics on home soil, beating the Fijians, Wales and USA on day one before trumping both South Africa and Argentina on day two to win the Plate.
“The physicality and skill brought by the current Series champions Samoa, and Fiji, world famous for their Sevens talents, is well-documented so these matches are a chance for us to put a marker down and perform for Scotland with the nation’s backing at Murrayfield," said Scotland Sevens coach Graham Shiel of this year's challenge.
“The crowd’s a huge factor at the Edinburgh Sevens. It’s a real party occasion. The players are very professional and fully focused on their performance but it’s important to enjoy the environment, especially at Murrayfield in front of a vocal home crowd willing you on.”
With six events played so far - in Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong and Australia - New Zealand currently top the standings, 13 points clear of England in second place. Samoa are third, South Africa fourth and Fiji fifth.
As a result of their position and current form - back-to-back winners in Hong Kong and Australia - New Zealand top the seeds in Edinburgh and head Pool A, where they face Argentina and European duo, Russia and France.
One week after their home event at Twickenham, England will line up at Murrayfield in an all-European pool with matches against Adelaide Plate winners Wales and Iberian neighbours Portugal and Spain.
Pool C is headed by resurgent South Africa, winners at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas and fourth in the World Series. The Boks face matches against sixth-ranked Australia, Kenya and Canada, who won five of their six matches in Hong Kong to win the Bowl trophy.
"This year's HSBC Sevens World Series has provided superb competition and a celebration of international Rugby from the start, as we all continue to build towards the Olympic Games in 2016. All 30 nations who have competed this season have added something different and brought a unique vibrancy to the action," said IRB Sevens Manager, Beth Coalter.
"The overall standard at the Tournaments continues to improve and entertain. While New Zealand are out there 13 points clear at the moment, in Sevens nothing is guaranteed so I'm sure we can all look forward to the destiny of the entire Series coming down to the final few games at Murrayfield."
Before the Edinburgh 7s, teams will play at the London 7s in Twickenham. The USA is in Pool B in London, with England, Argentina and France.