4 Dec 2015

Sport: Fiji women's sevens make unbeaten start in Dubai

8:45 am on 4 December 2015

Fiji and Russia caused major upsets on day one of the Women's Sevens World Series opener in Dubai.

The Fijiana stunned last year's series runners-up Canada 24-10 in the opening game before backing up their strong start to defeat USA 24-19 and Ireland 27-10.

The Fiji women's team score against Canada on their way to an unbeaten start on day one of the Dubai Sevens.

The Fiji women's team score against Canada on their way to an unbeaten start on day one of the Dubai Sevens. Photo: World Rugby

Russia also claimed a clean sweep - toppling defending Dubai champions New Zealand 33-7 as well as France and Brazil.

Australia were the other unbeaten side, topping Pool C with wins over England, Japan and Spain.

So the Fijiana will face France in the quarter finals later tonight.

The men also get underway in Dubai this evening.

Fiji lift the Sevens World Series title in London.

Fiji celebrate winning the 2015 World Series title. Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

Fiji kick off the defence of their World Series title against Canada, Japan and Argentina and coach Ben Ryan says they're determined to continue setting the pace.

"Certainly not sitting on our laurels. We feel there's a lot more to build on and it's very exciting to me to know that, this probably being my last season at World Series, at sevens, is one that I'm with the best side in the world and we're hopefully going to play some of the best rugby we've ever played".

"You don't approach it differently as far as your planning is concerned but you'd be a liar if you said you didn't enjoy coaching or being a player in the number one side in the world, playing a brand of rugby that's at times unstoppable and breathtaking. I feel very honoured. There's always been pressure on anybody that's involved in the Fiji sevens team, because of their iconic legacy that they've been given from previous teams, [and] now that we're back on top we intend on staying there".

Ben Ryan admits his squad go into the season opening tournament not at their peak.

"They've played too much rugby and they've got a long series ahead of them - and obviously the Olympic Games - so we gave them plenty of time off and then got them in the gym and did some work on them to just bulk them up a little bit, beef them up a bit, plump them so that when we get to the big run of ten tournaments in a very short space of time they can hang on to some of that weight. We will slowly get them fit so they're definitely undercooked for this first tournament. There's a couple of boys who could probably have made the squad but we've left them back at home".

Meanwhile the new-look Manu Samoa sevens team, under head coach Damian McGrath, take on defending Dubai champions South Africa, Scotland, Russia in their pool match.