The event was cancelled for the first time in its history last year because of the pandemic.
Rugby’s abridged format has actually already returned to the city. Dubai hosted the first leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 behind closed doors on Friday and Saturday.
South Africa dominated the men’s tournament, as they beat United States 42-7 in the final. Australia’s women were similarly emphatic, and they beat Fiji 22-7 in their final.
Now the gates are set to open again to spectators this weekend.
What are the Covid rules?
As per the latest guidance from the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, there will not be a need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test to attend the Sevens.
The organisers stipulate that face mask must be worn unless the person is seated at a table, eating or drinking, or exempt for medical reasons. Physical distancing will also be in place.
“Any spectators who refuse or fail to comply with such conditions may have their tickets cancelled, be refused entry or be removed from the event,” the organisers say.
What is new?
There will be 12 teams in the men’s World Series event, down from the usual 16. For the first time in Dubai, expatriates and travelling supporters from the UK will not be able to cheer on their own individual nations.
Four-time Dubai Sevens winners England, Scotland, and Wales – who won the World Cup Sevens in 2009 in Dubai – will not be present in those guises.
Instead, players from each will be playing as Great Britain. Robbie Fergusson is due to captain the men’s team, with Abbie Brown leading the women’s side.
The women’s World Series tournament will comprise 10 teams.
Multiple invitational tournaments in rugby and netball will take place as per usual, while for the first time a seven-a-side cricket tournament will also be running on the neighbouring cricket ovals.
Who will be here?
Although various Covid travel restrictions around the world have precluded some regulars from making it, there will still be a number of familiar faces.
As per usual, many of the most recognisable will be seen in the International Vets 10s event.
Mike Phillips, the former Wales and British & Irish Lions scrum half, is set to turn out for HGB Legends.
Former England full back Delon Armitage is due to play for 100 World Legends, as is sevens great Ben Gollings.
Who will not be here?
Six-time Emirates International Trophy winners New Zealand will be absent. Both their men’s and women’s teams, who won the respective series titles in 2020 are unable to participate due to travel restrictions from their homeland.
Samoa, who won in Dubai in 2012 and were runners up in the 2009 World Cup Sevens in the city, have also been unable to travel.
Men’s World Series
A – South Africa, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan
B – United States, Australia, Kenya, Canada
C – Fiji, Argentina, France, Spain
Women’s World Series
A – Australia, Canada, Spain, Russia, Brazil
B – Fiji, United States, Great Britain, France, Ireland
General admission tickets remain available for all three days. Prices range from Dh375 for a day pass for adults to Dh475 for a season pass.
Tickets are available online here.