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The campaign begins

Sikeli Qounadovu
Friday, December 01, 2017

ALL eyes this weekend will be fixed to the television set as the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team kick start its 2017-2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series campaign at the Emirates Dubai 7s.

Defending champion South Africa has named a powerful side, but coach Neil Powell believes other teams have the upper hand as they have been preparing well from the off-season.

All the teams are getting better, Australia had a big off-season they played a few tournaments, Fiji played a few tournaments and Samoa as well, so everybody is putting in more work during the off-season to make sure they are ready when the season starts in Dubai. So its going to be very competitive out there so there will be no easy game and if you are not on your game you could be in trouble. A recent walk-about in Downtown Dubai with the Fiji 7s team, drivers slowed down and members of the public paused to shake hands and take pictures with the players.

Coach Gareth Baber said that he had a wealth of talent in his team that would see players rotate positions.

"That is the positive thing with this team, we have players who can cover more than one position. Of course there is the deadly combination of John Stewart and Eroni Sau and that should be exciting," Baber said.

Barring any upset Fiji could be face Kenya in the quarters, Australia could take on defending champion South Africa should the Wallabies come out second in Fiji's pool. England will take on the runner-up from Pool D which could be either New Zealand or USA.

Qai Al Dhalai the secretary general for UAE Rugby Federation said Dubai was special in the world series calender.

"When you talk about the tournament of more than 30 years that is a very successful tournament why because it is a bit different of all other nine tournaments. Dubai is very special because it has a social tournament running concurrently with the main tournament, apart from the men's and women's main tournament we also have more than 240 visiting teams from around the world so this is why it is a very special event for everyone, for the kids, the women, men, young and old so everyone is enjoying this big carnival," he said.

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