Werner Kok

Werner Kok of South Africa PHOTO: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

World Series Sevens: Dubai fixtures, Blitzboks kick off time, squad and results

The World Series Sevens is back! The Blitzboks begin their campaign defence in Dubai on Friday. Here’s what you need to know.

Werner Kok

Werner Kok of South Africa PHOTO: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

For LIVE Sevens updates from the Blitzboks and other fixtures – we have a live blog running all day on day one and check back for day two.

Sixteen men’s and 12 women’s captains lined up ahead of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, which takes place at The Sevens Stadium from 29 November-1 December.

Dubai again hosts both the men’s and women’s World Rugby Sevens Series, acting as the men’s series opener and round two of the women’s, following on from the opening round in Glendale, Colorado, last month.

The men’s tournament kicks off on day two (30 November) where New Zealand will face USA, Spain and Wales in Pool C.

Pool B sees Fiji face Scotland, France and Kenya, while Pool A features defending series and Dubai champions South Africa, Samoa, Argentina and invitational side Zimbabwe. Pool D features England, Australia, Canada and new core team Japan.

New Zealand captain Scott Curry said:

“It’s always an exciting time being in Dubai, about to start a new world series. You can see all the teams are pretty keen to get out there and start playing some rugby. It’s definitely an exciting time.

“This year is about qualifying for the Olympics, it’s a massive year for all the teams. You can’t start slow on the world series. To win a world series is all about consistency, so to start here well will lead us off well to hopefully go and win a world series.”

The Blitzboks are drawn in Pool A, alongside Argentina, Samoa and Zimbabwe. The first fixture is against their African neighbours at 8:52 South African time.

Impi Visser will make his Sevens debut in Dubai after he was included in the travelling squad by Blitzbok coach Neil Powell, who also recalled Kyle Brown, Branco du Preez and Muller du Plessis for.

Visser will earn his Blitzbok debut in a team laden with experienced campaigners, including Brown (65 tournaments) and Du Preez (61) tournaments, both of whom are fit again after missing out on the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July, where South Africa claimed bronze.

Du Plessis also missed out on the San Francisco trip and returns to the squad after he last played for the Blitzboks in Singapore in April.

Philip Snyman will captain the side for his third season in charge, while regulars Zain Davids, Ryan Oosthuizen, Werner Kok, Justin Geduld, Dewald Human and Siviwe Soyizwapi will make the trip to Dubai.

Selvyn Davids will travel with the side as the official replacement player. Stedman Gans, Cecil Afrika and Heino Bezuidenhout were not considered due to injury.

“I am pleased with the final selection, although it was not an easy one for me,” said Powell.

“A number of the guys outside of the squad were unlucky not to make the side, but it is good to have that depth. We have a solid core of experienced players and I am expecting them to show that in Dubai, a really tough tournament as you have no idea what to expect from your opponents.

“Those outside the squad will play for the SA Rugby Sevens Academy side in Dubai. They will not only get valuable game time, but also an opportunity to stake their claim against international opponents – just look at Impi as an example.”

Visser made his SA Rugby Sevens Academy debut in Dubai in 2016 and played there again last year before suffering a serious ankle injury when he toured South America with the Academy squad last January.

The former Tuks player, who was part of their Varsity Cup winning side in 2017, moved down to Stellenbosch this year, where he completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering.

The 23-year-old Visser started his career at scrumhalf, where he played Craven Week for Mpumalanga, before moving to the midfield for the University of Pretoria. He will play in the forwards for the Blitzboks.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to play for the Blitzboks,” said Visser.

“It is a massive honour and privilege and I don’t think I have stopped smiling since I was told I’ll be making my debut in Dubai. It was a long and hard road for me, recovering from my injury and finishing my studies as well, but all is now worth the effort.”

Blitzboks squad for Dubai Sevens

1. Impi Visser (uncapped)
2. Philip Snyman (captain – 54 tournaments; 248 matches, 346 points, 63 tries, 16 conversions)
3. Ryan Oosthuizen (10 tournaments; 45 matches, 55 points, 11 tries)
4. Zain Davids (13 tournaments; 60 matches, 45 points, 9 tries)
5. Werner Kok (37 tournaments; 184 matches, 420 points, 84 tries)
6. Kyle Brown (65 tournaments; 327 matches, 420 points, 84 tries)
7. Branco du Preez (61 tournaments; 305 matches, 1162 points, 82 tries)
8. Rosko Specman (26 tournaments; 138 matches, 343 points, 63 tries, 14 conversions)
9. Justin Geduld (36 tournaments; 186 matches, 833 points, 86 tries)
10. Dewald Human (4 tournaments; 18 matches, 66 points, 8 tries, 13 conversions)
11. Siviwe Soyizwapi (18 tournaments; 89 matches, 280 points, 56 tries)
12. Muller du Plessis (4 tournaments; 20 matches, 55 points, 11 tries)
13. Selvyn Davids* (5 tournaments; 24 matches, 97 points, 13 tries, 16 conversions)
* Replacement Player

World Series Sevens fixtures on Friday, 30 November 

Results will appear below – you might need to refresh your browser, clear your cache or reload the page if you have recently visited thesouthafrican.com on your mobile.

7:00USA 7s29-0Spain 7s
7:22New Zealand 7s28-7Wales 7s
7:44Kenya 7s14-35Scotland 7s
8:06Fiji 7s39-0France 7s
8:30Argentina 7s19-21Samoa 7s
8:52South Africa 7s31-0Zimbabwe 7s
9:14England 7s26-12Canada 7s
9:36Australia 7s43-0Japan 7s
10:00USA 7s33-12Wales 7s
10:22New Zealand 7s28-17Spain 7s
10:44Kenya 7s21-17France 7s
11:06Fiji 7s21-17Scotland 7s
12:14Argentina 7s22-19Zimbabwe 7s
12:36South Africa 7s19-12Samoa 7s
12:58England 7s31-7Japan 7s
13:20Australia 7s31-19Canada 7s
16:00Spain 7s35-7Wales 7s
16:22New Zealand 7s24-7USA 7s
16:44Scotland 7s14-14France 7s
17:06Fiji 7s43-12Kenya 7s
17:31Samoa 7s17-15Zimbabwe 7s
17:53South Africa 7s12-17Argentina 7s
18:15Canada 7s27-7Japan 7s
18:37Australia 7s22-19England 7s

Dubai Sevens betting odds

 Betway won’t be offering any spreads on this weekend’s event (but they’re still worth checkout if you fancy a good deal). However, most bookies have tournament winners as Fiji or South Africa pre-kickoff.