Brazil women carry nation's hopes to Dubai
Four years out from hosting Rugby Sevens' debut at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's women are hoping to prove in Dubai that they are ready to convert regional dominance to the world stage.
Brazil have been South American women's Sevens champions for the past seven years, but have struggled to assert themselves against more physical teams such as Australia, USA, Canada and England.
However, team captain Júlia Albino Sardá is confident that they are now more ready to compete with the best.
Their first chance to do that will be at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, which is also round one of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series on 30 November - 1 December.
Twelve of the best women’s Sevens teams in the world will compete in Dubai with Brazil facing pool matches against England, Spain and South Africa.
“Our aim in Dubai is to show that we are improving and that Brazil has good rugby,” said Sardá. “We want to get closer to the top teams in the world."
In a bid to improve standards across the board, Brazil have recently sought the advice of New Zealand, whose women are making a first entrance onto the world Sevens stage after sitting out last season's Challenge Cup events.
“We have started a new programme with New Zealand coaches and we have gone back to basics to improve our game," continued the Brazil captain. "We are excited about the new challenges that will come.
“Teams such as England, Canada and Australia were the toughest last season, but all the teams that are professional or semi-professional are hard to play against.
“Brazil is investing a lot in rugby, but we are still amateur players that have to wake up at 5:00-6:00am to be able to go to training before work or college.
“We still have some very good players. Paula Ishibashi was top [women's] scorer in London 2012 and is the best player in South America. She is returning after two months away due to injury, so hopefully she will be ready for Dubai. We also have some new faces that can make a difference.”
Tickets to this year’s Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens are available now online through www.dubairugby7s.com and from selected Costa and MMI outlets, Virgin Megastores, Emirates Group Headquarters, dnata offices and at 7he Sevens.