World Rugby Sevens Series to make return as new campaign begins in Dubai

Olympic champions Australia and Fiji will seek to start the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with victory as the new campaign begins in Dubai.

Australia secured the Olympic women’s rugby sevens title at the rescheduled Tokyo 2Games earlier this year, where they overcame France in the final.

The two teams will renew their rivalry in the pool phase of the Dubai Sevens at The Sevens, which returns after the 2020 to 2021 series was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia and France will be joined in Pool A by Brazil, Spain and the United States.

“We’re super excited to be here," said Demi Hayes, Australia’s team captain.

“Having not played on the Series for nearly two years, kicking off in Dubai is really exciting.

“We have a really new team with a lot of opportunities for the young girls.“It’s a massive year and this is our first stepping stone towards the tournaments at the end of the season, and Paris 2024 will come around really quickly so we have to start hard here in Dubai.”

Olympic bronze medalists Fiji headline a Pool B line-up, which includes Britain, Canada, Ireland and Russia.

Britain are participating in the opening two rounds of the series as part of an agreement for the 2021 calendar year, but will revert to England in the women’s series.

Pool matches will begin tomorrow and conclude on Saturday (November 27), when the knock-out stage will also be held.

The pool winners will contest the final, with the second placed teams advancing to the third place match.

Two-time Olympic champions Fiji will compete in Pool A of the men’s tournament, where they are set to face competition from Australia, Canada and France.

Argentina, United States, Kenya and Spain compete in Pool B, while South Africa, Britain, Ireland and Japan feature in Pool C.

The top two teams in each pool with advance to the quarter-finals, as well as the two best third placed teams.

New Zealand are the reigning men’s and women’s champions, having triumphed in the 2019-2020 season.

The impact of COVID-19 is still being felt, with New Zealand unable to compete due to travel issues caused by the pandemic.