A new era will begin on Friday when Great Britain returns to action in Dubai for the first time as a permanent permanent member of the women’s group. HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series.
Co-captains Abbie Brown and Meg Jones will lead a team with Jasmine Joyce, Shona Campbell and Heather Cowell in matches against New Zealand, France and Brazil on day one in Emirates Dubai 7s.
The Black Ferns Sevens will provide a tough test in Great Britain’s opening game at 09:44 local time (GMT+4) and this week Jones admitted she is ready to assess where the team is after a field of ‘six week training with coach Nick. Wakley.
Having competed at the delayed Tokyo Olympics last year, Great Britain appeared in the first two rounds of the men’s and women’s 2022 Series, both held in Dubai.
The British women highlighted their potential in the first of them, winning four of five matches to finish fifth. Seven days later, however, those celebrations turned sour as the team failed to win a single match over the two days of the tournament.
Their men’s counterparts suffered a disappointing start to the 2023 Men’s Series in early November, finishing in the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 11 despite beating 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medalists South Africa in Group B.
Jones and Co. look set for an equally difficult task after being drawn alongside 2022 Women’s Series runners-up France, the Black Ferns Sevens, who won the tournament last time they took part in Dubai, and Brazil, who beat them at The Sevens Stadium. 12 months ago
Pushing the limits
Great Britain co-captain Jones is one of nine players from the squad that competed in Dubai last year who have been selected to represent the team again this weekend.
Accustomed to representing England in the Series, Jones is excited to return to one of his favorite events and can’t wait for his team-mates to once again compete against some of the best players in the world.
“We’re back as a Great Britain team and we’ve had a good six-week training block with a new coach, new strength and conditioning, a new physio, a couple of new faces and a lot of familiar faces too,” he said .
“Now it’s opening up the player pool and making it much more competitive, pushing performance and our limits as much as we can.
“I think we’re really looking forward to seeing where we’re at right now, and then seeing where we can go with it.
“Dubai is one of the biggest legs and we love coming here. The views are amazing, the fans are amazing, the whole event is amazing.
“So yeah, being here with the rest of the gang is good, you know, friends off the pitch, but obviously enemies on the field. It’s going to be a good test.”
Earlier this year, World Rugby supported the decision taken jointly by the Rugby Football Union, Scottish Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union to compete as Great Britain in the Series, from 2023.
The move aligns with their Olympic participation status and qualification track record and was made to give their teams the best possible chance to participate in future Games.
Great Britain competed at both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, winning a men’s silver medal in the former and finishing fourth in each of the other three tournaments.
The top four teams in the standings at the end of the 2023 Series will secure their place in Paris 2024 and Jones is looking forward to another Olympic Games.
“This whole journey is an amazing journey to be a part of and hopefully we can make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics which will be the icing on the cake,” he said.
“But in terms of the longevity and future of GB sevens, we are also determined to push the boundaries and create and maintain a world-class performance.”