It was business as usual on day one of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series 2018 in Dubai as the top three sides from 2016-17 went unbeaten in a thrilling day of rugby.
Series champions New Zealand achieved a perfect three-from-three record to set up a Cup quarter-final meeting with USA, while Australia's three pool wins puts them head-to-head with England in the last eight. Canada, third in the overall standings for 2016-17, will play France in their quarter-final, while Russia face Spain. The Challenge Trophy semi-finals will be Ireland v Japan and South Africa v Fiji.
As reigning Dubai champions, New Zealand will be looking to improve on their almost faultless series in 2016-17 where they lost just one of 30 matches. Black Ferns Sevens flyer and recently crowned World Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year Michaela Blyde is eager that the team continues as they started.
"Morale is pretty high, it's the first world series tournament and one of our favourites so we are on a really good high and can't wait to play on day two," she said. "No matter what team you play or how many tries you score or how often you win sevens is always a really tough game but it's all about tomorrow."
As the first of five tournaments on the 2018 series, Dubai holds added significance for the teams as they move toward Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco next July. Points from the first two tournaments on the series will be added to their totals in 2016-17 to determine seedings at the prestigious event.