Pic: World Rugby
After an exciting summer with a breath-taking series final in Paris and a stunning World Cup in the US in July, the brand-new HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series kicks-off this weekend in the desert of Dubai.
15 core teams plus one invitational team are fighting for the Cup title at the legendary Sevens Stadium in Dubai. It’s the 20th edition of the series and the tournament is now a global mega-event attracting thousands of fans into the stadiums and millions of TV viewers.
On the field, it will be once again a tight contest between the top teams of the previous years such as South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand. However, 7s has always been a sport of many surprises, so the big question will be who can stop the Boks?
When and Where?
The opening stage of the Men’s World Sevens Series takes place at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai (Capacity 40,000), on Friday 30th and Saturday 1st November. The matches kick-off on Friday at 09:00 local time (05:00 GMT) and Saturday at 09:30 local time (05:30 GMT). The final is scheduled for 19:29 local time (15:29 GMT) on Saturday.
Where Can I See It?
Who’s the favourite?
Back-to-back series champions and Dubai title defenders South Africa will be the number one contender for the Cup title. However, in one of the closest series finals earlier this year, the top teams behind South Africa have shown their strength.
Especially Olympic Gold medallists Fiji and World Cup winners New Zealand seem to be back at their best following some changes in the management.
Pic: World Rugby
The USA which finished sixth behind England at the end of the last series also seem to move from strength to strength and could be one of the dark horses in Dubai.
Similar to the Women’s Series, it remains a southern hemisphere dominance and the big question is, whether the European top teams can finally gain some ground and win the first title.
One to Watch
South Africas Dewald Human only recently joined the big stage, when he was selected for the two final tournaments of the last series in Paris and London. However, since then the young Blitzbok has underlined his desire to become a regular in Neil Powell’s talented player pool.
South Africa, Argentina, Samoa, Zimbabwe
Fiji, Kenya, Scotland, France
New Zealand, USA, Spain, Wales
Australia, England, Canada, Japan
DAY ONE FIXTURES (ALL TIMES ARE LOCAL TIMES / GMT +4)
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