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Dubai 7s First Test for US Women

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Dubai 7s First Test for US Women

USA's Kristen Thomas (Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima)

Pools and fixtures have been released for the Dubai 7s, the first leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series (WSS) 2015-16. Rio Olympic Games host Brazil joins the 11 core teams for the two-day competition, held Thursday-Friday, Dec. 3-4.

Dubai is the first look at the field’s relative talent, and the USA does not have it easy in Pool B. North American rival Canada tops the group, having finished second on the series last year. Fiji finished 8th on the circuit and is more than capable of advancing to the Cup rounds. The Eagles dropped a 24-21 decision to Fiji in last year’s Dubai event. Ireland comes in unranked after a year’s sabbatical from the series. The girls in green were active this summer, and became a WSS core team after finishing second to Japan (13-12) at the qualifying tournament in Dublin.

In fact, all of the USA’s poolmates have been active since the close of the 2014-15 circuit. Canada sent a Maple Leafs side to Australia for 16 days in October and finished second to the Aussie Pearls at the Central Coast 7s. In July, Fiji beat Australia 12-10 to win the gold medal at the Pacific Games, and heads to the Oceania Sevens this weekend hunting for an Olympic 7s berth. And Ireland was especially busy, winning the Plate at two European Grand Prix Series stops; finishing runner-up in Lisbon to qualify for the June 2016 Olympic Repechage tournament; and, as mentioned, securing core-team status in August.

The USA has played warm-up tournaments in the past, but they aren't fixtures on the calendar. Additionally, the Eagles have been busy acclimating to new coach Julie McCoy, who replaced Ric Suggitt back in September. McCoy contracted four new players and plans to add 1-2 athletes in the next few weeks. The coach is hosting a high performance camp next week, where eight more players will be on trial. The Dubai selections will follow shortly afterward.

At present, there are only four series stops for the women, a reduction from six tournaments last year, in comparison to the men’s 10 stops. But Eoin McHugh, Tournament Communications Manager for World Rugby, indicated that there are “more announcements in due course” on that subject.

USA Women @ Dubai 7s (all times Eastern)
Thursday, Dec. 3 - Pool Games
3:42 a.m. vs. Ireland
6:38 a.m. vs. Fiji
9:13 a.m. vs. Canada

For the full draw, click here.