Fiji and Samoa take on the world sevens under a new format in Dubai

And the new format approved by World Rugby will be tested at the Dubai event this weekend (2-3 December), with teams slotted into pools of three in both the men’s and women’s competition.

Coaches Ben Gollings for Fiji and Brian Lima for Samoa have included the new players as some of their old hands have either moved on to other rugby programs or unavailable due to injuries.

Fiji have lost playmakers Jerry Tuwai and Waisea Nacuqu for this leg of the series, which also includes Cape Town next weekend.

Tuwai is unavailable because he is investing his time in his boxing promotion business and as a brand ambassador for local hardwarde company Vinod Patel. While Nacuqu is out injured.

Gollings has the experienced hands of Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Joseva Talacolo to guide the side, with the return of Kaminieli Rasaku also expected to boost the side’s campaign.

Gollings said he was confident in the abilities of playmakers Terio Veilawa and Filipo Bukayaro in the absence of Tuwai and Nacuqu.

“We are going to miss Nacuqu and Tuwai but we believe the players we have can hold their own for us,” Gollings said.

Meanwhile, Lima has named Taitaifono Senio Tavita, Pelesio Samuelu Niuula and Pasia Tuifua in his squad.

The team will be captained by veteran Vaovasa Afa Su’a.

The Fijiana women’s side will also be in action this weekend, with coach Saiasi Fuli indicating they were looking forward to the event as they also begin their build up to the 2024 Olympic Games in France.

Reapi Uluinasau, Aloesi Nakoci and Ana Naimasi are key players in the Fijiana side.

World Rugby excited with new format

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said they believe the new format will further broaden the reach and appeal of the sport beyond its traditional audiences.

“We are excited to begin a new era for rugby sevens with the launch of HSBC SVNS in Dubai,” Gilpin said in a World Rugby release.

“The supercharged new identity for our Olympic format of the game, with iconic destinations and a new concept on and off the field, will further broaden the reach and appeal of the sport beyond its traditional audiences.”

World Rugby’s chief competitions and performance officer Nigel Cass said 2024 will be a huge year for sevens rugby, starting in Dubai.

“We look forward to kicking off what will be a huge year for rugby sevens in style at the Emirates Dubai 7s,” Cass said.

“With a new competition format we know the action at The Sevens Stadium will be thrilling from the opening match on Saturday morning to the final whistle on Sunday evening as HSBC SVNS gets under way.”

Three pools format

The Emirates Dubai 7s features the top 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams in the world competing over two action-packed days at The Sevens Stadium.

The men’s competition sees 2023 series champions New Zealand – who were winners in Sydney, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Toulouse last season – headline Pool A alongside Canada, last year’s Cape Town winners Samoa and the defending Emirates Dubai 7s champions South Africa, in a repeat showdown of the of the recent Rugby World Cup final in Paris in the 15s game.

2023 Hamilton, Vancouver and London winners, Argentina are in Pool B and will face Spain, Australia and Ireland in Dubai, while double Olympic gold medal winners Fiji will meet France, USA and Great Britain in Pool C.

In the women’s competition, New Zealand, who won six of seven tournaments to claim their seventh series title, headline Pool A alongside Fiji, Great Britain and the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series 2023 champions South Africa who join the series this season.

Defending Emirates Dubai 7s champions Australia will face Brazil, Ireland and Japan in Pool B, while last season’s overall bronze medal winners USA take on France, Spain and their north American rivals Canada in Pool C.

The competition format replicates the Olympic model and sees the top two teams from each pool, plus the best two third-placed teams qualify for the quarter-finals from where it is knockout rugby.

World Rugby’s revamped and rebranded global celebration of rugby sevens is taking place across eight iconic destinations and is set to supercharge the sport’s global appeal.

The new-look HSBC SVNS 2024 features seven regular season events – in Dubai, Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore – before the Grand Final in Madrid. The top eight placed teams based on cumulative series points after seven events will compete in the new ‘winner-takes-all’ Grand Final, where the women’s and men’s champions will be crowned.

Madrid will also play host to the high stakes relegation play-off competition where teams ranked ninth to 12th will join the top four teams from the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger series, with the top four placed teams securing their place on HSBC SVNS 2025.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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