The draw for the first round of the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series was made in London.
Men’s series champions South Africa and women’s winners New Zealand will look to regain their titles when the series gets underway in Dubai on 30 November – 2 December.
The Blitzboks were drawn in Pool A alongside Canada, Kenya and invitational team Uganda. Pool B has a European feel to it as England meet Scotland, France and the newly promoted Spain.
Olympic champions Fiji are drawn in Pool C with Australia, Wales and Japan while New Zealand, USA, Argentina and Samoa make up Pool D.
Women’s series winners New Zealand are top seeds in Pool A where they’ll face USA, France and invitational side South Africa on 30 November at The Sevens Stadium.
Pool B sees Australia, Russia, England and Japan meet on day one while Canada, Fiji, Ireland and Spain are drawn in Pool C. The women’s pool selection process retains the mechanism used at the Olympic Games, whereby a snaking system is used to place teams in their pools based on seedings.
Last season saw record-breaking fan figures for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, after another compelling season on and off the field.
The 2016-17 series, the first after rugby sevens’ Olympic Games debut at Rio, saw the total attendance increase by almost 10 per cent, with sevens social media reaching 120 million across multiple languages as the series broadcast to a global TV audience in more than 100 countries – World Rugby