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Dubai: Organizers of the Emirates Dubai 7s have announced the groups for the first leg of HSBC SVNS 2024 with exciting matches lined up as South Africa’s men and Australia’s women prepare to defend their titles in the UAE.

Taking place from Dec. 1 to 3, The Sevens Stadium will welcome the 24 best men’s and women’s international rugby sevens teams for the series opener.

Organizers also revealed that the sporting festival will feature cricket, rugby, and netball masterclasses overseen by Emirates Dubai 7s sporting ambassadors and current and ex-professional stars.

Following back-to-back triumphs in 2021 and 2022, South Africa, who will be bidding for a hat-trick of men’s titles in Dubai, have been grouped with reigning HSBC SVNS champions, New Zealand, as well as Samoa and Canada in Pool A.

Last year’s Dubai 7s men’s runners-up Ireland face Argentina, Australia, and Spain in Pool B while Pool C consists of France, the US, Fiji, and Great Britain.

The women’s event is equally impressive with reigning Dubai champions Australia drawn alongside Ireland, Japan, and Brazil in Pool B. World champions New Zealand, who finished second in Dubai last year, are in Pool A with Fiji, Great Britain, and South Africa while Canada, Spain, the US, and France make up Pool C.

All matches will be played on Pitches 1 and 2 with the top two teams and two best third-placed sides advancing to the quarterfinals as they look to continue their journey to Finals Day on Sunday evening.

Mathew Tait, festival director of Dubai 7s, said: “The draw for the first leg of the HSBC SVNS has produced some exciting fixtures that will showcase the very best of rugby sevens.

“With the Olympic Games taking place next year in Paris, the Emirates Dubai 7s will serve as a vital platform for the players to gain as much competitive action as possible ahead of the global showpiece event while vying for glory to become champions and taste success in Dubai.”

As well as the elite matches, the Emirates Dubai 7s’ packed schedule also includes several invitational tournaments for the event. Over the three days, there will be 16 rugby tournaments, six netball competitions, three cricket and fitness tournaments, as well as eight padel events, attracting nearly 5,000 athletes.

Invitational schedules will be released on the Emirates Dubai 7s website in the coming weeks.

Among the highlights is the fan-favorite International Vets tournament which is set to attract some of the sport’s biggest names including Ireland’s rugby union head coach and former England international, Andy Farrell, who will be supporting the team Joining Jack in their quest to the finals at Dubai 7s.

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