It's the opening tournament for Scott Curry and the All Blacks Sevens on the 2019/2020 series. They are defending champions in Dubai, while Tyla Nathan-Wong has the captaincy reins for the Black Ferns Sevens, with Sarah Hirini out injured.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Dubai Sevens takes place on 5-7 December and will bring together 28 teams from across the globe for three days of non-stop rugby sevens.
The Dubai Sevens is the second tournament for the women after their season opener in Colorado, USA in October where the hosts were victorious.
As well as 2020 being a record breaker for the world series with the number of women’s tournaments increasing to eight rounds and the men’s again being contested across ten, it is also an Olympic season with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games taking place next summer.
Rugby sevens will be represented at the summer Games for a second time when the seven-a-side format of the sport is played at the Tokyo Stadium from 27 July to 1 August.
11 men’s and ten women’s teams have so far qualified for Tokyo 2020 with last season’s world series acting as the principal route for qualification where the top four teams in the men’s and women’s competitions automatically qualified. Only three places remain to be confirmed – one men’s and two women’s – with the Global Repechage tournament next June determining which teams will occupy the final spots.
New Zealand women go into Dubai as the title holders, world champions and were the first women's team to secure Olympic qualification last season.
Nathan-Wong is relishing the challenge ahead for this season: "I think momentum is important. Obviously the big goal for everyone is the Olympics next year but you've got to take it tournament by tournament and appreciate and enjoy those milestones along the way. For us, that's what we're looking forward to - enjoying the journey first, experiencing each tournament and then we'll eventually get to Tokyo."
In a first for the Dubai Sevens, all 64 men’s and women’s games will be played on the main pitch, and as the new core men's team on the circuit after winning last season's qualifier in Hong Kong, Ireland's captain Billy Dardis says his team are excited about the upcoming season: "It's massive for us as a group and for Irish rugby. We've been building up to this over the past four or five years - a lot of hard work has gone in and it all comes up to now. We're looking forward to getting out onto the pitch and to getting stuck into USA on Thursday night."
The All Blacks Sevens kick off their season against Wales on Friday at 2.28am NZT. They also face Canada and Samoa in pool play. The Black Ferns Sevens take on Japan on Friday at 1.42am NZT and also have England and France in their pool.
Follow all the action via @AllBlacks7s, @BlackFerns & @WorldRugby7s on social and visit www.world.rugby/sevens-series for more information.