- Australia and Great Britain women claim perfect win records, while France and Fiji – Olympic silver and bronze medallists respectively – top pools having played an extra game
- Brazil and Russia impress with landmark victories in women’s event demonstrating increasing competitiveness
- Watch finals day live from 09:00 local time (GMT+4) on Saturday here
The fast-paced, end-to-end entertainment of rugby sevens returned to the international stage as the first day of the Emirates Dubai 7s showcased spectacular skills and introduced a number of new stars to the scene as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 began with a bang.
South Africa and Fiji raced out of the blocks as the reigning Series winners and Olympic champions won every game to reach the quarter-finals as unbeaten Argentina also won their Pool, while Australia and Great Britain got off to perfect starts in the women’s competition.
New Zealand’s men’s and women’s teams, winners of their respective Series titles in 2020, are unable to participate due to Covid-19 travel complications, but there was no shortage of quality on show in Dubai ahead of a huge year for the sport, with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town coming up in 2022.
In the women’s event the ten teams are divided into two pools of five teams with each team playing each other in the pool. The pool placings will decide the classification matches, with no quarter or semi-finals, meaning the teams who top their respective pools will contest the gold medal final.
Great Britain and Australia both won back-to-back matches to get off to a flyer, but both of the five-team pools remain wide open ahead of their completion on Saturday.
Olympic silver medallists France finished the opening day of the Emirates Dubai 7s on top of a fiercely contested Pool A, but a surprise defeat to the USA could cost them first place after Australia’s perfect start.
Fiji currently lead Pool B having played three games, but the Olympic bronze medallists 29-17 defeat to Russia in the final game of the day left top spot open to a Great Britain side that started their campaign with a pair of victories.
The USA and Spain will get the finals day action under way at 09:00 local time (GMT+4) on Saturday in a women’s Pool A match.
The remaining Pool fixtures begin at 09:00 when USA will look to go joint-top of Pool A by beating Spain.
Australia’s clash with the in-form Brazilians at 09:22 promises to be an interesting watch, while there are two unmissable clashes between Pool favourites when France face Australia at 12:23 and Great Britain take on Fiji at 13:07.
The two Pool winners will face off in the Cup final at 18:56, after the conclusion of the play-offs and the bronze medal match between the two Pool runners-up at 18:07.
Australia are the only team among the 10 competitors who have previously won the Dubai title, while Canada have finished second at the last two events and USA, Russia and South Africa have all taken silver – the latter not being involved this time.
With thanks to World Rugby