Sevens

Blitzboks in tough pool for season opener in Dubai

Neil Powell (Getty Images)
Neil Powell (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks Sevens team will face neighbours Zimbabwe in their opening match of the 2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, to be played at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai on November 30 and December 1.

The Blitzboks, who are looking for a third successive World Series title, will also face Samoa and Argentina in Pool A of the tournament.

Defending their crown in the Dubai Sevens will not be the only aim for coach Neil Powell and his team, but a good start will be imperative for their other goal in the 2019 campaign, to qualify for the Olympic Games in Japan in 2020.

South Africa won bronze at the inaugural Rugby Sevens event in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

"We have set ourselves a number of goals, with the Olympic qualification the obvious one," said Powell after the draw was announced in London on Wednesday.

"But we are also defending our title in Dubai and in the World Series and those are two trophies we would not mind winning again."

South Africa are the first seeds for the opening tournament.

"We have seen the gap between teams disappearing to almost nothing, so every game in every tournament will demand a very good effort from us. We have done well in Dubai over the years, but that will count for nothing,” said Powell.

"Zimbabwe will be very competitive, having won the Rugby Africa Sevens tournament recently, Samoa beat us last time we played them, and Argentina are one of the most difficult teams to play again because of their skill and physicality.

"So we have a lot to do when we start with the final phase of our preparations on Monday, but at least we now know what we are preparing for. It is exciting times for all of us."

The pools for the Dubai tournament are:

A: South Africa, Argentina, Samoa, Zimbabwe

B: Fiji, Kenya, Scotland, France

C: New Zealand, USA, Spain, Wales

D: Australia, England, Canada, Japan

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
45% - 5567 votes
Cricket
11% - 1378 votes
Football
18% - 2312 votes
Athletics
2% - 280 votes
Boxing
1% - 108 votes
Cycling
2% - 280 votes
Golf
5% - 613 votes
Motorsport
8% - 989 votes
Tennis
3% - 392 votes
Water sports
1% - 109 votes
American sports
1% - 119 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 361 votes
Vote