DUBAI: England will bid for an unprecedented hat-trick of titles at the Dubai leg of the eight-stage IRB Sevens World Series which gets under way on Friday.
The Ben Ryan-coached English team, boosted by a large expatriate support base, have triumphed in their last two outings on Emirati soil, but face a tricky Pool C that sees them drawn with South Africa, Samoa and Portugal.
“We are desperate to make sure we do everything we possibly can to make it three titles in a row,” Ryan said.
“We’ve got an excellent record in Dubai, better than any other team in the world in the last five years, and now we need to use that to our advantage. We want to retain our trophy and the lads just love playing here.”
England underperformed in the opening leg of the series in Gold Coast, Australia, a tournament won by perennial favourites Fiji.
The islanders have been handed a kind draw alongside Kenya, Spain and Scotland in Pool A.
New Zealand, the most successful side on the circuit, were pipped in the Gold Coast final by Fiji, and veteran coach Gordon Tietjens said he believed the competition was pretty open.
“Dubai is a climate we like playing in and a tournament we want to win again,” said Tietjens.
“England have won it over the past couple of years, but there are six or seven teams that could win it.
“Dubai is my favourite tournament out of all of them, it’s a great tournament to win. The rugby at international level is the highest it can be and sevens rugby has become a lot stronger.”