Attitude to sevens just doesn't add up
The second round to the HSBC Sevens World Series kicked off in the Sevens Stadium in Dubai on Thursday. Fiji went into the tournament as top dogs, having beaten New Zealand comprehensively in the Gold Coast Final last weekend in Australia.
As ever, 16 teams in four pools of four are taking part before the competition splits into bowl, plate and cup. In Dubai, Canada, Portugal, Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates (formerly the Arabian Gulf) replace Tonga, Japan, Papua New Guinea and Niue Island.
Who are Niue Island? -- you might well ask. I needed to check and discovered the Niue Island national rugby team are a third-tier nation that first started playing the game in 1983 and has had just 10 full matches to date -- four against the Cook Islands and three against Tahiti, as well as games against Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. While Niue and the Cook Islands are not members of the Pacific Tri Nations competition, they did supply players to the touring squad for the Pacific Islanders tour in 2004.