According to the World Rugby website, held from December 5-7, 2019, the Dubai Sevens marks the start of this season’s men’s competition as well as the race for Olympic glory as sevens prepares to make its second appearance on the Olympic Games programme in Tokyo in mid-2020.
Dubai will be the second stop on the 2020 women’s competition after the opening round took place in Glendale, Colorado from October 5-6 where hosts USA were victorious.
Hosted at the iconic Sevens Stadium, this year’s tournament celebrates 50 years of the Dubai Sevens and will see all men’s and women’s matches played on the main pitch for the first time in its history.
As the only permanent stop on the women’s series since its inaugural year in 2012, Dubai is now one of eight tournaments for the women’s teams this season – a record number for the women’s competition – and is one of six combined men’s and women’s events alongside Cape Town, Hamilton, Sydney, Hong Kong and Paris.
Similarly to their female counterparts, New Zealand will be looking to retain their title in Dubai.
South Africa will not feature in the women’s draw in Dubai, but the Blitzboks have been drawn in Pool D, alongside England, Spain and Kenya.
The Blitzboks will be desperate to finish top of the pool and avoid a potential Cup quarter-final against arch-enemies Fiji who feature in Pool A alongside France, Argentina and Japan.
The USA and Australia headline Pool B (along with Scotland and newcomers Ireland), while Pool C sees the All Blacks battle Samoa, Canada and Wales.
Last season the Blitzboks finished a disappointing – and distant – fourth in the final overall standings, behind winners Fiji, the USA and New Zealand.
Pop star Kylie Minogue is set to play an evening concert on Friday, December 6 to celebrate 50 years of the event.