Pools for Dubai Sevens announced

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The IRB has announced the pools for the Men's and Women's events for December's Dubai Sevens.

The Qantas Australian Men's side has been drawn in arguably the toughest pool alongside top seeds England, USA and Kenya. England sit third in the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series standings while the USA and Kenya impressed many neutrals on the Gold Coast.

Men's Head Coach Geraint John said: "England have a really good side as they demonstrated on Day Two on the Gold Coast. They are generally very well supported by English ex-pats in Dubai who will give them some vocal backing. The USA are an athletic side and are clearly well coached by Mike Friday. They could consider themselves very unfortunate not to make the Cup Quarter-Finals last time out."

"It would be foolish for us to underestimate Kenya. In Dubai they may well have some of their stars back. Kenya may be sitting in the bottom half of the Sevens World Series standings at the moment, but let's not forget the late try they conceded against Wales was the only thing that kept them out of the Cup Quarter-Finals on the Gold Coast.

"We'll be looking to prepare well for the event. We won't rest on our laurels and we'll be ready for Dubai."

Qantas Australian Women's Head Coach Tim Walsh is wary of the increased competition in this year's IRB Women's Sevens World Series after his side was drawn in Pool B alongside France, South Africa and Spain overnight."

"I am happy with the draw but France and South Africa are proud Rugby nations that will offer a stern test, while Spain are a very talented side.

"Last year, consistently there were three sides that made it to every Cup Semi-Final. This season, most of the countries competing in the series now have full-time programs which will raise the bar significantly. You only have to look at Pool C to see how tough this season will be with Canada, XVs Rugby World Cup winners England and Fiji, all drawn in the same pool.

The Men's event at the Dubai Sevens takes place at the 50,000 7he Sevens stadium between 5-6 December, with the Women's tournament taking place between 4-5 December.

Meanwhile, the Rugby Sevens program has been boosted with the news that Allan Fa'alava'au will be available for Dubai after his Australian citizenship was granted. Geraint John has also strengthened his backroom staff with the appointment of Peta Carige as Sevens Nutritionist. Carige was formerly Senior Sports Dietician with the Brisbane Broncos and Newcastle Knights in the NRL.

Australian Men’s Sevens draw for Dubai, UAE on 5 December (schedule TBC):

Pool C: England, Australia, USA, Kenya

Australian Women’s Sevens fixtures for Dubai, UAE on 4-5 December:

Australia v South Africa, Pool B, 6pm (AEDT)

Australia v France, Pool B, 8.56pm (AEDT)

Australia v Spain, Pool B, 12.14am (AEDT)