Some 727 days after winning it in front of packed stands in Dubai, and six since winning it in front of empty ones, South Africa’s sevens team will begin the defence of their Emirates International Trophy.
The Blitzboks have long been the dominant force at the Dubai Sevens. Including last weekend’s behind-closed-doors tournament at The Sevens, they have won five of the last seven events in the city.
Unsurprisingly, given all that success, their squad is laden with skill, speed and flair – but they are not the only ones. Wherever you look at the tournament this weekend there will be talent on show.
Here are just some of the players to look out for.
Jordan Conroy (Ireland, Men’s World Series)
The leading tryscorer on the 2020 series has joined up with Ireland’s squad having missed last weekend’s tournament. First fixture: Friday, 10.50am, Pitch 1 – Ireland v Great Britain
Selvyn Davids (South Africa, Men’s World Series)
Scored six tries as the Blitzboks made a winning start to their World Series campaign in Dubai. First fixture: Friday, 11.12am, Pitch 1 – South Africa v Japan
Charlotte Caslick (Australia, Women’s World Series)
Five tries in the series opener last weekend took her career tally into triple figures. First fixture: Friday, 9.22am, Pitch 1 – Australia v Spain
Carlin Isles (United States, Men’s World Series)
Arguably the fastest player ever in sevens, Isles scored three tries in the opening leg of the series. First Fixture: Friday, 10.28am, Pitch 1 – United States v Canada
Jaz Joyce (Great Britain, Women’s World Series)
First toured Dubai while a fresher at university back in 2014, the pocket rocket is now one of the stars of the series. First fixture: Friday, 9am, Pitch 2 – Great Britain v France
Mike Phillips (HGB Legends, International Vets)
The former British & Irish Lions scrum-half – and ex-Jebel Ali Dragons coach – will be turning out for a Welsh charity side. First fixture: Thursday, 10.20am, Pitch 6 – HGB Legends v Nomads Wanderers
Ben Gollings (100 World Legends, International Vets)
Years since he finished on the World Series, but he remains its leading point scorer by more than 600. First fixture: Thursday, 10am, Pitch 2 – 100 World Legends v Richmond Swansea Heavies
Pio Tuwai (LAR Speranza 22, International Invitational)
One of the all-time great entertainers will be turning out alongside Fiji sevens royalty. First fixture: Thursday, 2.20pm, Pitch 4 – LAR Speranza 22 v Monaco Impis
Oscar Kolinisau (LAR Speranza 22, International Invitational)
A World Rugby hall-of-famer and the captain of the Fiji side who won Olympic gold in Rio in 2016. First fixture: Thursday, 2.20pm, Pitch 4 – LAR Speranza 22 v Monaco Impis
James McCarthy (Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Gulf Men’s League)
Played two World Series tournaments for Wales, and is now living in the UAE capital. First fixture: Thursday, 6.40pm, Pitch 3 – Abu Dhabi Harlequins v Abu Dhabi Saracens