Preview: Dubai Sevens
OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS: The 2018/19 World Series, which gets underway at the Sevens Stadium on Friday, will have the added spice of Olympic qualification added.
“This is an exciting year for the series, as not only will the best teams in the world again compete for the coveted world series title, they will also look to secure their ticket to Tokyo 2020 – with the series acting as principle route for Olympic qualification,” World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said.
“Dubai has been a long-serving and welcoming host for the world series and this year we are especially delighted to be back as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the men’s competition, which held its inaugural round in Dubai in 1999.
Pool A features back-to-back defending series and Dubai champions South Africa, Samoa, Argentina and invitational side Zimbabwe.
Pool B sees Fiji face Scotland, France and Kenya.
New Zealand will face the United States, Spain and Wales in Pool C.
Pool D features England, Australia, Canada and new core team Japan.
“I remember like yesterday, 10 years ago, with Kyle Brow3n and I making our debut here,” BlitzBok captain Philip Snyman said.
Snyman said Olympic qualification is “pretty much the main aim of the season”.
“Obviously we still want to be successful and retain our No.1 position, but it is about qualifying for the Olympic Games.”
Snyman said it is vital to get off to a good start in the series, so winning in Dubai is crucial to “set the tone” for the rest of the season.
New Zealand captain Scott Curry also spoke about the importance of the new season.
“It’s always an exciting time being in Dubai, about to start a new world series,” Curry said.
“You can see all the teams are pretty keen to get out there and start playing some rugby.
“It’s definitely an exciting time.
“This year is about qualifying for the Olympics, it’s a massive year for all the teams.
“You can’t start slow on the world series.
“To win a world series is all about consistency, so to start here well will lead us off well to hopefully go and win a world series.”
(Kick-off is local time – GMT plus four hours)
Friday, November 30
United States v Spain – 09.00
New Zealand v Wales – 09.22
Kenya v Scotland – 09.44
Fiji v France – 10.06
Argentina v Samoa – 10.30
South Africa v Zimbabwe – 10.52
England v Canada – 11.14
Australia v Japan – 11.36
United States v Wales – 12.00
New Zealand v Spain – 12.22
Kenya v France – 12.44
Fiji v Scotland – 13.06
Argentina v Zimbabwe – 14.14
South Africa v Samoa – 14.36
England v Japan – 14.58
Australia v Canada – 15.20
Spain v Wales – 18.00
New Zealand v United States – 18.22
Scotland v France – 18.44
Fiji v Kenya – 19.06
Samoa v Zimbabwe – 19.31
South Africa v Argentina – 19.53
Canada v Japan – 20.15
Australia v England – 20.37