New Zealand has been tipped as the "one to watch" at the Rio Olympics by an international news magazine.

The Economist, a publication with a 1.5 million circulation, says the country is the "most likely to deliver a positive surprise at the games".

"The debut of rugby sevens is sure to benefit New Zealand, the world's rugby powerhouse," it said.

Basing its analysis on data from Infostrada, the report said it expected the Kiwis to "sneak into" the top 10 medal holders with nine golds.


"[That is] a remarkable feat, given that their economy is one-seventh the size of the smallest country ahead of them."

Infostrada, a Dutch analytics company, predicts that New Zealand will win 23 medals overall - nine golds, seven silver and seven bronze.

If its prediction is accurate, it would make Rio the country's most successful Summer Olympics yet.

After London 2012 the team returned home with 13 medals, including six golds. It finished 15th in the overall standings.

That effort fell just short of the 1984 Summer Olympics, where New Zealand won eight golds. Infostrada had the United States at the top of its medal table, on 95. China was next with 84 and Russia with 70.

Australia were fifth, with 38 medals predicted.The 2016 Olympic Summer Games will take place in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21 this year.