VIDEO: Preview - Dubai Sevens
VIDEO: Preview - Dubai SevensSHARE
The Springbok Sevens team tasted success at the opening round in Dubai last year, but for BlitzBoks captain Philip Snyman and his team, that is nothing more than a pleasant memory.
In fact, said the 47-tournament stalwart, it all starts afresh on Friday – when they face Uganda in their opening match.
Snyman is also expecting the 2017/18 World Series to be more competitive than ever before – expecting a very tough defence of their overall series title.
"Dubai has been a happy hunting ground for us in the past, but this is a new season and everyone are starting with fresh minds and bodies," said Snyman.
"Even our squad, as experienced as we are, came back together with new energy and new vigour.
"We will see a lot of the teams more settled this season, with not as many new faces and coaches as was the case last year when we started the season here in Dubai.
"So it is definitely going to be tougher this time around. We need to be at our best from the start."
Snyman said the BlitzBoks enjoyed the glory of being champions in 2016/17, but it now is something for the history books.
"We already left last season behind when we started our new pre-season camp," the captain said.
"We needed to make that mind shift.
"The focus now goes to that first match against Uganda. We need to be ready for that match and take it from there."
Argentina coach Santiago Gomez Cora said he has a soft spot for the Dubai leg of the World Series.
"I've been coming to Dubai since 2000 and this is my 13th trip here and I still haven't been able to discover everything it has to offer," Cora said.
"To think that when I came for the first time it was all so different. Each visit is an opportunity to discover something new or check on its growth.
"More than that, it is coming back to a tournament I love and undoubtedly one of the best of the season."
Former New Zealand Sevens captain DJ Forbes, now retired from the game, is looking forward to how his former team shapes up, starting at Dubai on Friday.
"We've come through two years of major injuries and transitions and will be better off for it so [I'm] excited to watch that," Forbes said of the New Zealand team.
"But I think the eyes will be on South Africa to see if they can defend their World Series win.
"They are the ones to beat, everyone will be after them," he told worldrugby.org.
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) November 29, 2017
Pool A: South Africa, Canada, Kenya, Uganda
Pool B: England, Scotland, France, Spain
Pool C: Fiji, Australia, Wales, Russia
Pool D: New Zealand, United States, Argentina, Samoa
(Kick-off time is local – GMT plus four hours)
Friday, December 1
United States v Argentina – 09.00
New Zealand v Samoa – 09.22
Australia v Wales – 09.44
Fiji v Russia – 10.06
Canada v Kenya – 10.30
South Africa v Uganda 10.52
Scotland v France – 11.14
England v Spain – 11.36
United States v Samoa – 12.00
New Zealand v Argentina – 12.22
Australia v Russia – 12.44
Fiji v Wales – 13.06
Canada v Uganda – 14.14
South Africa v Kenya – 14.36
Scotland v Spain – 14.58
England v France – 15.20
Argentina v Samoa – 18.00
New Zealand v United States – 18.22
Wales v Russia – 18.44
Fiji v Australia – 19.06
Kenya v Uganda – 19.31
South Africa v Canada – 19.53
France v Spain – 20.15
England v Scotland – 20.37