Blitzboks coach Neil Powell is gearing up for a tough challenge at the Dubai Sevens. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell and Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel, are keen to their seasons going at the Emirates Dubai Sevens, to be played on December 1-2 at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.

The draw for the tournament was announced on Thursday and the Blitzboks, who are the defending World Rugby Sevens Series champions as well as the current Dubai Sevens title holders, drew Canada, Kenya and Uganda in Pool A.

The Springbok Women will compete against New Zealand, USA and France, also in Pool A.

According to Powell, the pool, with a distinct African flavour will be pretty tough, as the World Series has become more and more competitive.

“It does not matter who you play, to be honest,” said Powell.

“Every match is a tough one, and we will have to be at our very best from the start to beat the other teams in Pool A. The standards of all teams have improved, and there are no easy games out there.”

Powell said the pool announcement was exciting, as it means the start of the kickoff to the new season is around the corner.

“We have a long season, with the 10 tournaments in the World Series, as well as the Commonwealth Games and World Cup Sevens, but we want to get going and knowing what Dubai has in store for us, make us keen to get going.”

The Springbok Women’s Sevens will also participate in the Commonwealth Games and World Cup Sevens and according to Dazel, will use every opportunity to improve and gain experience.

The team won the African qualifiers to the World Cup Sevens last month and will play in Dubai as an invited team.

“New Zealand, USA and France are in the top six of the World Series, so it will be tough,” Dazel said. 

“We are playing against the best players in the world, so we need to pick our best and fittest team. All of those with niggles will not be considered.”

Dazel said there preparation will now move on with Dubai in mind: “This does give us a good chance to prepare, we are in different stages of preparation with our players and some players will join us once they complete their university examinations. We need to get them all on the same page before we leave for Dubai.”

Dubai Men’s Pools

Pool A: South Africa, Canada, Kenya, Uganda

Pool B: England, Scotland, France, Spain

Pool C: Fiji, Australia, Wales, Russia

Pool D: New Zealand, USA, Argentina, Samoa

Dubai Women’s Pools

Pool A: New Zealand, USA, France, South Africa

Pool B: Australia, Russia, England, Japan

Pool C: Canada, Fiji, Ireland, Spain

SA Rugby