PITCH 1 FIXTURES FOR FRIDAY
9.22am World Sevens Series: New Zealand v Wales
Ten years ago, this was the first ever fixture to be played in the World Series on Pitch 1 at the new venue for rugby in the Middle East. New Zealand won that match 28-7, and will be favourites to run out winners again here. The All Blacks Sevens finished third in the series last season, while Wales were way down in 14th.
10.52am World Sevens Series: South Africa v Zimbabwe
A first chance to see perhaps the next big star of sevens, South Africa’s Dewald Human. The Blitzboks might be without the class of Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla as they go in search of a hat-trick of Dubai titles, but Human is the future. Their first fixture in the tournament is a continental derby, as they face the Africa qualifiers Zimbabwe. In Tafadzwa Chitokwindo, Zimbabwe have one of the fastest players in the tournament.
1.06pm World Sevens Series: Fiji v Scotland
The Flying Fijians fell just short of hauling in South Africa at the top of the standings last season, despite a rousing run in the second half of the season where they seemed unbeatable – winning four tournaments in a row. Scotland have enjoyed qualified success in Dubai in the past, but will have to improve on last season, when they finished 12th in the series, if they are to challenge.
5.15pm Women’s World Sevens Series: Final
Australia won the Dubai title 12 months ago when they beat United States in the final, but were beaten by the same opposition in the first leg of the series in the United States last month. The Australians have generally taken turns with New Zealand to win the Dubai title. And the Black Ferns hold the lead in the series, having won the first tournament.
6.22pm World Sevens Series: New Zealand v United States
A mouth-watering clash between established rugby greatness and the new arrivistes of sevens. New Zealand have won the World Series more times than anyone. But the US have the reigning two-time World Player of the Year, in Perry Baker. The flying wing is one of the most potent attackers the game has seen.
8.37pm World Sevens Series: England v Australia
A week on from the clash between their 15-a-side colleagues at Twickenham, Australia have a chance to exact a semblance of revenge on their old rivals. England went through all of last season without a trophy win as they slipped to No 5 in the standings, a place below the Australians.