Olympic gold medal winners and 2015-16 series champions Fiji will begin their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2016-17 men’s campaign against Canada, following the announcement of the full match schedule for the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens.
Fiji will have a new coaching set-up following the departure of Ben Ryan but as the reigning Dubai, series and Olympic champions they will start as firm favourites. The islanders will also play Wales and Argentina in pool A on the first day of the men’s season on 2 December 2016.
Pools for Dubai 7s:
Pool A: Fiji, Argentina, Wales, Canada
Pool B: South Africa, USA, Scotland, Uganda
Pool C: New Zealand, England, Samoa, Russia
Pool D: Australia, Kenya, France, Japan
Last season’s second-ranked side South Africa, bronze medallists at the Olympics, start against African qualifier Uganda with further matches against last season’s London champions Scotland and the USA.
For the first time in the 17-year history of the series, New Zealand will start a season without long-time coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens.
HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES 2016-17:
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 – 13-14 May
London – 20-21 May
Twelve-time series winner Tietjens retired after the Olympic Games, having served in the role for 22 years and motivation will be high for the All Blacks Sevens after a disappointing Rio campaign.
They will start their Dubai challenge against Russia with further matches against Samoa, also under new management, and England, whose coach Simon Amor and captain Tom Mitchell guided Team GB to an Olympic silver medal.
Australia’s men meanwhile head the fourth of the pools and start their season against newly-promoted Japan, who finished an impressive fourth in Rio following a famous pool victory over New Zealand. Singapore champions Kenya and France also lie in wait.