Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Dubai Sevens
gets underway on Thursday with 28 teams from
across the globe competing in three days of rugby sevens action.
The Dubai Sevens kicks off the menís competition for the 2020
season, but it is the second tournament for the women after their season opener in Colorado, USA in October where the hosts were
As well as 2020 being a record breaker for the
world series with the number of womenís tournaments increasing to
eight rounds and the menís again being contested across ten, it is
also an Olympic season with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games taking
place next summer.
Rugby sevens will be represented at the
summer games for a second time when the seven-a-side format of the
sport is played at the Tokyo Stadium from 27 July to 1 August.
Eleven menís and ten womenís teams have so far qualified for Tokyo
2020 with last seasonís world series acting as the principal route
for qualification where the top four teams in the menís and
womenís competitions automatically qualified.
Only three places
remain to be confirmed Ė one menís and two womenís Ė with the
Global Repechage tournament next June determining which teams will
occupy the final spots.
New Zealand women go into Dubai as
the title holders, world champions and were the first women's team
to secure Olympic qualification last season.
for this weekend, Tyla Nathan-Wong, said, "I think momentum is important. Obviously
the big goal for everyone is the Olympics next year but you've got
to take it tournament by tournament and appreciate and enjoy those
milestones along the way. For us, that's what we're looking
forward to - enjoying the journey first, experiencing each
tournament and then we'll eventually get to Tokyo."
first for the Dubai Sevens, all 64 menís and womenís games will be
played on the main pitch, and as the new core men's team on the
circuit after winning last season's qualifier in Hong Kong,
Ireland's captain Billy Dardis says his team are excited about the
upcoming season, "It's massive for us as a group and for Irish
rugby. We've been building up to this over the past four or five
years - a lot of hard work has gone in and it all comes up to now.
We're looking forward to getting out onto the pitch and to getting stuck into USA on Thursday night."
Olympic gold medalists
and reigning men's world series champions, Fiji will be looking to
replicate their successful form this season.
"We love what we do,
we know it's tough and it will be tougher than last year. When you
are world champions it is very hard to stay at that level, but
it's a good challenge for the boys," said captain Paula Dranisinukula.
The action gets underway at 14:50 local
time on 5 December. Spain and Ireland will be the first teams to
take to the field with Australia and Fiji completing the line-up
in Pool B of the womenís competition.
runners-up, USA, newly-promoted Brazil, Canada and Russia feature
in Pool A, with title holders New Zealand, England, France and
invitational side Japan representing Pool B.
In the menís
competition, Samoa and Canada will get the proceedings underway at
17:06 after the first round of womenís pool games on day one. They
will be joined by reigning Dubai champions New Zealand and Wales
in Pool C, while Australia, Scotland, 2019 runners-up USA and
Ireland are drawn in Pool B.
World Series champions Fiji
will face France, Argentina and invitational outfit Japan in Pool
A, with England, Spain, South Africa and Kenya lining up in Pool
Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015,
Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013,
of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.