HSBC Sevens 2018/19: Dubai Sevens Preview

HSBC Sevens 2018/19: Dubai Sevens Preview

The 2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series will get underway at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai on Friday the 30th of November.

The international XV's season may have come to a close last weekend but there's still plenty of oval ball action to look forward to with the continuation of Europe's top domestic leagues and the start of the Sevens season coming your way this weekend.

The shortest format of the game will certainly be the one to watch as the Dubai Sevens always serves up a cracking two days worth of entertainment.

Dubai Sevens
The Sevens Stadium 
Friday 30 November - Saturday 1 December

Pools

Pool A: South Africa, Samoa, Zimbabwe, and Argentina
Pool B: Fiji, Scotland, Kenya, and France

Pool C: New Zealand, Spain, Wales, and USA
Pool D: Australia, England, Japan, and Canda

To Win Tournament Outright
Fiji 3/2 | South Africa 2/1 | New Zealand 4/1 | England 9/1 | USA 10/1 | Australia 14/1 | Argentina 20/1 | Kenya 66/1

Contenders

South Africa
Dubai 2017/18 Finish: 1st

The reigning Dubai and World Series champions will be looking to claim their third successive tournament victory out in the desert this weekend. Paul Treu's men come into this tournament with a healthy pedigree having won three of the last four Dubai tournaments.

Treu has a bit of a tough assignment this term with some of his more experienced campaigners such as Kwagga Smith and Seabelo Senatla now shifting their attention to the XV man game. As such, the head coach will have to hope his young guns step up to the mark this season.

The South Africans have been drawn in a seemingly tough pool with an improved Samoa and an unpredictable Argentina sure to test the Blitzboks on the opening day.

Player to Watch: Kyle Brown
One of the few veterans to feature this weekend, Brown is a great leader who has captained this side before. He is also an extremely powerful ball-runner and is capable of making some barnstorming runs. He's also brilliant on defence.

Fiji
Dubai 2017/18 Finnish: Fourth


The Fijians will be looking for a much-improved showing to their 2017 campaign in the desert. The Islanders only managed to claim fourth place out in Dubai last year, which was a bit of a shock as they had competed in three of the four previous finals.

Gareth Barber's men have enjoyed a solid preseason winning their home tournament, the Oceania Sevens, just a few weeks ago. They will be itching to return to the HSBC circuit though as they will be looking to atone for letting last season's Series title through their hands.

Player to Watch: Jerry Tuwai
Now I know I must sound like a broken record mentioning the Fijian play maker as my player to watch again but he really is that pivotal to the Fijian cause.

Tuwai is a great reader of the game and is able to manipulate space like no other player on the circuit. He's also a brilliant leader who will need to showcase those leadership skills when the going gets tough for the Fijians.

New Zealand
Dubai 2017/18 Finish: Runners-up


The men from the 'land of the long white cloud' will be looking to build on what was an encouraging 2017/18 season. They started last season's campaign rather well advancing to the final of the Dubai tournament where they went down 24-12 to the South Africans.

They have a vastly talented squad but will be missing key man and last year's top scorer in Dubai, Joe Ravouvou who is waiting to be granted New Zealand citizenship.

Player to Watch: Sione Molia
The Auckland man has drifted in and out of the national sevens set set-up and will be desperate to become a regular this season. He is gifted with a great set of hands and is able to play in a multitude of positions across the backline.

Dark Horse

Argentina
The men from South America enjoyed strong 2017/18 campaign and claimed runners-up berths in Cape Town and Las Vegas. They were also a real thorn in the side for some of the bigger teams pipping many an illustrious outfit.

The Argentine's have a handy young squad and like their XV's side, they are capable of tearing opposition teams apart on the counter-attack.

Verdict: Fiji 3/2
I feel both New Zealand and South Africa will need a few weeks to work out their new combinations and integrate some of the new faces. As such, the smart move here is to back the Fijians to claim the Dubai title. A small strike on the Argentines may also be worth a go as they offer a great return at 20/1

Value Bet

Pool Winner's Multiple - South Africa, Fiji, New Zealand, England @ 23/10
It's never easy predicting all four pool winners at a Sevens event but I think this week will see all of the favourites top their pools. The only real worry for me in this one is whether or not New Zealand can beat the States on Day 1. If they do, then this multiple should arrive. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets


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