Rugby Sevens: 45 games, 2 days, 16 nations and 1 gold

Lucky holders of Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens day tickets may need a reminder to set their alarms, pack a hearty lunch and steer clear of Glasgow's inevitably buoyant hospitality the evening before the tournament.

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Rugby Sevens will take place at Ibrox stadium.
Rugby Sevens will take place at Ibrox stadium.

With a keen 10.30am start for both days of competition, spectators are assured their sporting money's worth as 16 teams take to the turf of Ibrox Stadium to serve up a total of 45 games over two 12-hour stretches.

Spread over the weekend of days three and four of the Games, the 16 nations of Australia, Barbados, Canada, Cook Islands, England, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Wales are confirmed into four equally performance-ranking pools.

The strong selection sees the appearance of eight of the top twelve nations from the current HBSC Sevens World Series ranking list, providing a measure of the quality within the commonwealth across four continents.

Though despite the depth of standard, notable absentees Fiji, Tonga and Nigeria are not without their controversies.

Ranked third in the world with two Rugby Sevens silvers and a bronze achieved from previous Games, the entertaining Fijians, although one of the sport's biggest drawcards, miss out on a place due to their sporting federation's partial suspension amidst the nation's lack of progress towards democracy following over a decade of military power and political unrest.

Another South Pacific island of rugby lovers, Tonga, missed out on their chance to compete due to the Tongan Rugby Union's failure to pay the registration fees to the Commonwealth Games qualifying tournament, while at the start of the year Barbados replaced Nigeria following the Nigerian Olympic Committee's decline of participation for reasons that still remain officially unknown.

Each team will play a fast-paced 14-minute round robin set of preliminary matches kicking off with Gold medal holders New Zealand facing Canada in Pool A. Highlight fixtures of the opening stage include Scotland's challenging first tie with the All Blacks on the afternoon of Day 1, Wales' final pool game with the ever competitive Samoans in Pool C later in the evening and the same day's penultimate match, England's head-to-head with old rivals Australia.

The top two teams from each pool will advance into the quarter-finals on day two, as winners of Pools A and C play the runners-up of Pools B and D respectively, while winners of Pools B and D play the runners-up of Pools A and B. To expand the tournament, either side of the quarters-finals will see classification matches as third and fourth place teams face each other, with the winners of these matches progressing to play each other in further classification rounds.

If the schedule sounds complicated - it is probably because it is. Though for avid fans and newbies watching the tournament as a means of process of elimination, each squad will provide its own unique style, flair, stand out player and competitive streak as they try to outwit each other with impressive standards of speed and strength.

The 45th match of the competition sees the grand finale, and while New Zealand are favourites to win Gold yet again, the vocal support for the Home Nations, the recent top form of South Africa and ever irrepressible determination of the Aussies may somehow conspire towards one of the biggest upsets of the Games overall.

More details of the confirmed Rugby Sevens schedule can be read at:

www.glasgow2014.com/document/rugby-sevens-match-schedule-confirmed

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