PREVIEW: Dubai Sevens
WORLD SEVENS SERIES ROUND TWO: It’s the second event in this season’s World Rugby Sevens Series calendar and it all takes on the pitch at The Sevens Stadium for what promises to be a bumper edition of the popular Dubai Sevens.
Dubai has hosted the Series since its inception in 1999, and the event has built a strong reputation for spectacular entertainment, on and off the pitch, hosting the world’s top players and teams and creating a party atmosphere around the venue.
In the men’s tournament, Pool A sees current number one ranked and 2022 Series champions Australia together with reigning Dubai title holders South Africa, Great Britain and Kenya.
Pool B includes double Olympic gold medallists Fiji along with Argentina, New Zealand and Uruguay.
Pool C features third seeds France taking on Ireland, Spain and Uganda.
Finally, Pool D has Samoa, the USA, Canada and Japan.
The 2023 Series promises to be the biggest, most competitive and exciting Series to date with more at stake than ever before as the top four ranked men’s and women’s teams will earn Olympic qualification for Paris 2024.
At the other end of the table in the men’s competition the number of teams for the 2024 Series will reduce from 16 to 12 to equal the number of women’s teams and align with the Olympic competition structure, meaning fans can expect an intense battle to avoid relegation throughout the 2023 Series with every match and every point counting towards the final Series rankings.
South Africa men’s captain Siviwe Soyizwapi said: “Preparations have been going well for us. We can take a lot of confidence from the camp back at home and the past two days in Dubai have been great as well, being out on the field in the heat so it’s been good.
“We enjoy playing in Dubai. It gets hot this time of the year in Cape Town, so I think it’s always good preparation for us coming into Dubai.
“There’s a lot of confidence that we can take from the previous years, however I think we always have to start all over again with each tournament. So, we’ll take it a step at a time, and I will take this as a brand new tool.
“It’s really exciting to have our new coaches in the frame with new ideas that are coming through and I think you will see something new this coming weekend with two new debutantes as well which brings something different that they can add to the squad, so I’m really excited to see it.”
*Meanwhile, the women’s Series gets started in Dubai this weekend with 12 teams competiting.
The women’s pools for Dubai see the all-conquering world, Commonwealth and Series champions Australia in Pool A alongside the USA, Canada and China.
In Pool B reigning Olympic champions New Zealand will face France, Great Britain and Brazil.
Pool C sees Olympic bronze medallists Fiji together with Ireland, Spain and newly promoted Japan.
(Kick-off time is local – GMT plus four hours)
Friday, December 2:
Ireland v Spain – 10.06
USA v Canada – 10.06
France v Uganda – 10.28
Samoa v Japan – 10.28
Argentina v New Zealand – 10.50
Fiji v Uruguay – 11.12
South Africa v Great Britain – 11.34
Australia v Kenya – 11.56
USA v Japan – 13.05
Samoa v Canada – 13.27
Argentina v Uruguay – 13.49
Fiji v New Zealand – 14.11
Ireland v Uganda – 14.36
France v Spain – 14.58
South Africa v Kenya – 15.30
Australia v Great Britain – 15.42
Samoa v USA – 18.06
Canada v Japan – 18.28
Spain v Uganda – 19.07
New Zealand v Uruguay – 19.34
France v Ireland – 19.35
Fiji v Argentina – 20.05
Great Britain v Kenya – 20.18
Australia v South Africa – 20.33
USA v Canada – 09.00
Ireland v Spain – 09.00
Australia v China – 09.22
Fiji v Japan – 09.22
France v Brazil – 09.44
New Zealand v Great Britain – 09.44
Ireland v Japan – 12.21
Fiji v Spain – 12.43
USA v China – 13.05
Australia v Canada – 13.27
New Zealand v Brazil – 13.49
France v Great Britain – 14.11
Fiji v Ireland – 16.13
Australia v USA – 16.35
Great Britain v Brazil – 16.57
Spain v Japan – 16.57
France v New Zealand – 17.44
Canada v China – 18.06