New Zealand sevens teams settle into hot Moscow conditions

The New Zealand men's and women's sevens teams have settled into their training routines quickly, coping with temperatures soaring to near 30C in Moscow ahead of this week's World Cup.

Both sides have trained side by side at pitches in the giant Luzhniki Olympic Stadium complex where the tournament kicks off on Friday.

The women's side wasted no time in getting into an intense training session the morning after arriving.

Captain Huriana Manuel, back for her second World Cup, said the team had rested well after the long haul from New Zealand.

"We are feeling great, we've recovered well and the girls are just ready to go. We are very excited to be in Russia, it's a first for everyone, not much rugby happens here, but we are hoping to build crowds and that people get behind the game and us."

Coach Sean Horan said playing a World Cup in Moscow was a unique moment for his young side.

"This is a pinnacle event and that's the exciting thing about it - it's the World Cup and there won't be another pinnacle event for the women until the Olympics so it's a good test ground so it would be nice to cap off a pretty enjoyable year, but in the end it's all about growing towards the Olympics in 2016."

The men ended their second day of training with a noticeable lift in intensity.

"It's about getting tuned for a big tournament, just once every four years so that is why it is very special," said coach Sir Gordon Tietjens. "We haven't won since 2001 so that's why it is very important we get off to a good start Friday.

"Russia is new for us and new for a lot of the teams. A few of the teams, England and Wales have played in tournaments here before so they probably have a step on us in terms of what to expect, but in Moscow we have good playing temperatures, outstanding training facilities, good training grounds.

"We have got lots of competition for places in the team. I couldn't name my first side which is great. It's competitive and the guys are starting to gel at training. You want that keenness and enthusiasm and the boys getting excited and we are starting to be at the moment."

Men's captain DJ Forbes said playing in Russia was a novel experience.

"It's my first time in Russia and I never would have dreamt of playing here. We turned up at Slava Rugby Club for training on Sunday and had a good turn out. I guess there's a community of people out there supporting the black jersey and supporting rugby in general which is exciting.

"It's an awesome occasion to be part of and the stepping stones are in place for the Commonwealth Games next year and building on to the Olympic Games. So hopefully we can start well."

The men will lift their training a notch in the coming days with practice hit outs against Scotland and the Philippines.

"It's important we take a lot out of the games, we are trying new things so it's an opportunity to do that," said Tietjens.

- APNZ

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