Emirates Dubai 7s holders South Africa have been drawn alongside world series champions New Zealand in the group stage for the 2023 tournament after organisers on Tuesday announced the pools for next month's tournament.
Taking place December 1-3 at The Sevens Stadium, 24 of the best international rugby sevens teams – 12 men's and 12 women's – will descend on Dubai for the opening leg of the world series opener.
Following successive titles in 2021 and 2022, South Africa will be bidding for a hat-trick in Dubai, and have been grouped with reigning series champions, New Zealand, Samoa, and Canada in Pool A.
Ireland, last year’s Dubai 7s men’s runners-up, will face Argentina, Australia, and Spain in Pool B, while Pool C consists of France, the United States, Fiji, and Great Britain.
In the women's events, reigning Dubai champions Australia have been drawn alongside Ireland, Japan, and Brazil in Pool B. World champions New Zealand, who finished runners-up in Dubai last year, are in Pool A with Fiji, Great Britain, and South Africa while Canada, Spain, USA, and France make up Pool C.
All matches will be played on Pitches 1 and 2 with the top two teams and two best third-placed sides advancing to the quarter-finals.
“The draw for the first leg of the HSBC SVNS has produced some exciting fixtures that will showcase the very best of rugby sevens," said Mathew Tait, Festival Director of Dubai 7s.
"With the Olympic Games taking place next year in Paris, the Emirates Dubai 7s will serve as a vital platform for the players to gain as much competitive action as possible ahead of the global showpiece event while vying for glory to become champions and taste success in Dubai.”
In addition to the two elite tournaments, the 2023 Dubai 7s will also include several Invitational tournaments. Across the three days, there will be 16 rugby tournaments, six netball competitions, three cricket and fitness tournaments, as well as eight padel events, attracting nearly 5,000 athletes.
Among the highlights each year is the International Vets tournament, which attracts some of the biggest names in rugby, and 2023 will be no exception. Ireland head coach and former England international, Andy Farrell will be supporting the ‘Joining Jack’ team in their quest to the finals at Dubai 7s.
The future stars of tomorrow will also take to Pitch 1 for the Gulf Under-19 Boys and Girls finals on the Saturday evening while six Invitational finals will be played the following day in front of thousands of spectators.
Besides watching the action, spectators can also attend sports masterclasses conducted by former and current sports stars and Emirates Dubai 7s sporting ambassadors.
In cricket, Georgia Elwiss and ex-England fast-bowler Darren Gough will be joined by Lancashire captain Keaton Jennings and former England international Alex Hartley for the sessions on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Rugby and netball masterclasses will also take place on the Friday.
“We’re thrilled to confirm that Darren Gough, Georgia Elwiss, Keaton Jennings and Alex Hartley will be teaching the young stars of tomorrow in the cricket masterclasses in their roles as Emirates Dubai 7s sporting ambassadors," said Simon Jelowitz, Head of Sports Operations at Emirates Dubai 7s.
"This is not only a great opportunity to learn from the best but also to meet their heroes and be inspired to take up the game in the future.
“Furthermore, with netball and rugby masterclasses also being held, there will be no shortage of sporting activities and music entertainment throughout the whole three days with something for everyone to enjoy. With just a few weeks to go, we encourage everyone to not miss out and purchase their tickets now.”
For the full sports schedule, visit the Emirates Dubai 7s website: https://www.dubairugby7s.com/schedule-results/.