Teams prepare for Dubai at NACRA Sevens
USA and Canada are in preparation mode for Dubai.
The IRB Women's Sevens World Series kicks off in less than three weeks and both teams will get ready for the showdown when they take to the field at the 2013 NACRA Sevens Championship in the Cayman Islands this weekend.
The women's tournament features two pools of four with USA and Canada spearheading the line-up and using it as a key warm-up event for certain players ahead of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens on 28-29 November.
The two giants of North American women's rugby will be looking to build on their placings of third (Canada) and fourth (USA) in the inaugural 2012/13 World Series.
In Pool A at the weekend a Canada side featuring several of their well-known players faces Mexico, Cayman and Turks & Caicos, while in Pool B a young USA side plays Jamaica, Bermuda and Curacao.
With coaches eager to get as much game time for their charges, USA's top women are in action at the Coral Coast Sevens in Fiji on 14-16 November, where coach Ric Suggitt will give some players more time on the field and where he'll watch to see what other players could bring to his team.
"As far as future residents we are always searching for an athlete who will add to the group,” he said. “Dana Meshisi and Meya Bizer are excellent prospects and we will take a good look at them when contracts come up at the end of December."
"Going to the Coral Coast will be good for us. Some of our new players need more exposure to international rugby and this competition provides that. The players will be coached under the same umbrella that we use for the national team."
India welcomes Asia’s women
Meanwhile, 11 Asian teams will battle for honours at the second and final leg of the Asian Women’s Sevens Series in Pune, India. The last instalment of the 2013 Series will be held at the Balewadi Sports Complex for the third year running.
Unlike previous tournaments where teams were grouped into pools followed by semi-final knockout stages for the Cup, Plate and Bowl, the teams will be grouped into two pools of five and six and their pool ranking will determine their play-off positions immediately.
Top seed China are in Pool A with Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India while Pool B comprises second seed Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, UAE and Iran.
Favourites to make the Cup finals will surely be China and Japan, who a fortnight ago contested an energy-sapping final at the Asia-Pacific Women's Sevens 2013 in Shanghai.
In Pool A, Kazakhstan will have to unseat first round and defending Series champions China if they want to make the Cup finals. Thailand, ranked eighth, will certainly have a score to settle with fifth ranked Sri Lanka after they put them out of the running for the Plate in Bangsaen with a win over the hosts in the pool stages seven weeks ago. Hosts, India, who can boast former Sevens star Henry Paul as their coach, are certainly facing a challenging weekend.
Meanwhile, in Pool B, Hong Kong - who have recently appointed Black Ferns legend Anna Richards as their new Sevens coach - will be looking to upset the Japanese to break into the top two. Singapore and the Philippines, ranked sixth and seventh respectively, will be hoping to come in at least third in this pool and will not only have to face each other but an unknown UAE and Iran team.
All in all, a great weekend of rugby lies ahead.
- Japan Rugby Football Union »
- Rugby Canada »
- United States of America Rugby Football Union »
- Sri Lanka R.F.U. »
- Thai Rugby Union »
- Hong Kong RFU »
- Bermuda R.F.U. »
- Cayman Rugby Union »
- Indian R.F.U. »
- Jamaica Rugby Football Union »
- Kazakhstan R.U. »
- China Rugby Union »
- Singapore R.U. »
- Federación Mexicana de Rugby »
- Philippines Rugby Football Union »
- Iran Rugby Federation »
- United Arab Emirates R.F.U. »