September 23, 2016
Dubai Rugby Sevens, First Stop on HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series
Logo: Emirates Dubai Rugby 7s
The 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series first stop is being held in Dubai on December 2-3, 2016.
Fiji claimed last year’s title, as well as finished with the Gold Medal at the Olympics. This year is a different year and the talented Fijian team will have a new coach that as yet to be in place. Ben Ryan will be missed and where he surfaces will foster that program’s growth.
Last year’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series had 715,000 fans in attendance, 6,000 hours of broadcast coverage to more than 100 territories, and social media engaged its audience with 61 million video views. Viewing World Rugby Sevens is indeed, a demand sport.
This year promises to be the best yet and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for look to make the entire fan experience even better.
The 2016-17 series will have ten stops on the circuit with Dubai kicking off the series on December 2-3, and concluding in London on May 20-21, 2017. The 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series schedule is as follows:
Dubai – 2-3 December
Cape Town – 10-11 December
Wellington – 28-29 January
Sydney – 4-5 February
Las Vegas – 3-5 March
Vancouver – 11-12 March
Hong Kong – 7-9 April
Singapore – 15-16 April
Paris – 13-14May
London – 20-21May
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “As we look ahead to a game-changing Olympic Games in 72 days, we can reflect on what will be remembered as the biggest and best HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to date. The compelling and highly-competitive action has captured the imagination of fans around the world in record numbers in stadia, on broadcast and in conversation. I would like to thank all the teams and fans from around the world for playing their full role as we build towards the first series following rugby sevens’ Olympic Games debut.”
Incoming World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby sevens is going from strength to strength and is set to be a hit at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where inclusion on sport’s biggest stage will project our sport and its sevens stars to new audiences.
At the heart of the success story is the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. It’s record-breaking blend of compelling, competitive action, global iconic destinations and festival atmosphere continues to prove a hit with fans, broadcasters, host cities and broadcasters alike.
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan added: “In a pivotal year for rugby sevens, HSBC as a long-standing and proud partner of the game, has been working closely with World Rugby to capitalise on the opportunity. The Olympic opportunity has already energised the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and sell-out crowds in Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, Vancouver and Hong Kong are evidence of this. If we can continue to connect rugby sevens to new players, new countries and new audiences, it will be the spark that continues to ignite ground-breaking growth for the game.”
Dubai Rugby Sevens Men’s Pools
Pool A: Fiji, Argentina, Canada, Wales
Fiji had a double this past year in winning the Olympic gold medal and also were the 2015-16 series champions. Fiji will also look to defend their Dubai title in Pool A this year. They enter the competition with a new head coach after Ben Ryan’s has left the team after Rio, but they are a very strong team and will continue to be favorites to to win again after back to back wins in this series. .
Last year, Argentina finished fifth in the 2015-16 series and head coach Santiago Gomez Cora will be hoping to build on their strong series finish. Wales and Canada, won Shield win and Bowl semi-final respectively at last year’s Dubai Sevens and hope to improve on that performance.
Pool B: South Africa, USA, Scotland, 16th team
Anytime South Africa take the pitch, they are a formidable opponent. They won the Bronze Medal at the Olympics, were series runners-up in 2015-16 and and finished as Plate winners in Dubai last year. South Africa will look to contend for the title at the Dubai Sevens, but that is also the goal of the teams entered.
The USA is one of those teams that is not satisfied unless they are contending to win and will look to improve on their third place finish in Dubai last December. While it was thrilling to beat New Zealand with a last second drop goal, that was in the past. While several of their players will be playing rugby 15s, one professional football, or trying to complete their university education, most teams will experience some post-Olympics roster changes. Expect Mike Friday to have his team prepared, motivated and ready to excel at Dubai.
Scotland won their first ever tournament at the London Sevens in May when they beat South Africa, and should also be a force to contend with in Dubai.
An invitational 16th team will be added at a later date.
Pool C: New Zealand, England, Samoa, Russia
The biggest change for New Zealand will be the absence of long time coach Gordon Tietjens. He gave so much to the sport and he is a coaching legend. New Zealand will come to the tournament with the motivation that winning right away is expected. Will that create undue pressure, I don’t know. As part a national rugby culture, players represent those who have played for their country before and those that will follow.
England won the Silver Medal at the Olympics.Team GB was assembled after the end of the 2015-16 series and yet they clicked on all cylinders at Rio.
Samoa won the Paris Sevens in May. They are a team that can give any team fits and contend for a title, but they need more consistency in their performance. Will this be their year?
Russia also will be looking to demonstrate that they belong in the series and hope to make a statement in this initial series.
Pool D: Australia, Kenya, France, Japan
Australia appeared in last year’s Plate final in Dubai losing to South Africa. That is not where they would like to be this year. Kenya won in Singapore and their physical play should make them a formidable opponent. France may have finished in eleventh place in the series last year, but they still had two third place finishes in Cape Town and Paris. Look for these three teams to be very motivated this year. Japan, replaced Portugal as a core team for the 2016-17 series. They surprised many by just missing the podium at the Olympics and should be an exciting team on this year’s circuit.
Dubai Sevens ticketing information:
- Thursday – FREE ADMISSION
- Friday, 2 December – in advance AED300, on the day AED400
- Saturday, 3 December – in advance AED300, on the day AED400
- Season tickets (Friday and Saturday) – in advance AED500, on the day AED600
- Children under 12 admitted free
- Special reserved seating and hospitality packages are available, visit: www.dubairugby7s.com
- Tickets are available with Skywards Miles – www.emirates.com/skywards