Following the upheaval and coaching merry go round of the summer, Simon Amor and Ben Ryan amongst new coaches enjoying time with their players in build up to Dubai 7s following Gold Coast
Two former winners at the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens have expressed their relief that this year’s event is still a month away – because it is giving them plenty of time to prepare the teams they now coach.
With the tournament still five weeks away, both Ben Ryan of Fiji, and England's Simon Amor say the break between the opening tournament of the HSBC Sevens World Series campaign - at the Gold Coast earlier this month, and round two in Dubai - means they can further familiarise themselves with the players they now lead.
Ryan, who quit as England’s Head Coach at the end of last season, started work with Fiji just two weeks before the Gold Coast event. And Amor, who replaced Ryan, is also getting to know his new charges, having been appointed at the end of last month.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Ryan, who quit England after seven years in charge, and guided them to victory in Dubai in 2010 and 2011.
"We have a huge amount of talent in Fiji, now we just need to make sure we have the right guys on the pitch, and that they're fit and good for purpose.
"I now have a good month ahead of Dubai with them - I'll work them very hard, and if they keep the attitude they had in Australia, where they got their heads down and worked hard, then I can't ask more.
"But the one thing I can guarantee you is that when they run on to the field in Dubai, they'll be much fitter, and will be better than they were in the Gold Coast," said Ryan.
Fiji have been runners up five times since Dubai began hosting a World Series round in 1999, having won the tournament in 1998. And after being grouped with England in the Pool Round, they have a swift chance for revenge, after Ryan's former charges knocked his new team out in the quarter-final stages in Australia.
Ryan’s England Sevens successor will be well known to local fans, having twice captained England to victory in Dubai during a distinguished playing career.
Now he is looking to build on Ryan's work by preparing England for a charge at the overall title this season, the Commonwealth Games next September, and ultimately the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, when Sevens makes its Olympic debut.
England lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals at the Gold Coast, but finished impressively with a 47-0 thumping of South Africa to take third place, and impressed many onlookers.
Said Amor: "We're making a lot of changes, and the players are going to make mistakes in tournaments. The key thing is that they keep learning and growing.
"We need a lot more time on the training ground, so frankly, Dubai can stay a long way away as far as I'm concerned, as we need to spend more time together practicing and fine tuning on how we're going to play the game," said Amor. "Before Dubai there is a lot of work ahead for us."
Canada and the USA complete Pool C, with England and Fiji, in Dubai.
The Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens takes place between November 28 and 30, hosting round two of the HSBC Sevens World Series, and round one of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series, with the Invitation Tournament running over all three days. For ticket information, visit the website: www.dubairugby7s.com
Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, November 28-30. HSBC Sevens World Series:
Pool A: France, Portugal, Kenya, New Zealand
Pool B: Wales, Scotland, Spain, Australia
Pool C: England, Fiji, Canada, USA
Pool D: South Africa, Samoa, Argentina, Russia