Fiji come into the second round of this season's Sevens World Series on a high after seeing off champions New Zealand to win the opening tournament last weekend.
The South Sea Islanders outplayed the reigning champions 26-12 in the final of the Gold Coast Sevens, and Fiji coach Alifereti Dere said the victory would give his team all the confidence they needed for the Dubai leg.
He said: "It was a proud moment for Fiji, especially the way we played to win that tournament," Dere said. Winning the first tournament set us up for the campaign for the 2011-12 series.
"It was a good start for us. We're trying to implement open rugby so if we can maintain that I hope we can better our opposition," which will include Samoa, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates, having taken over from the now-disbanded regional Arabian Gulf side.
Dere's veteran Kiwi counterpart Gordon Tietjens, for one, will not be taking a backward step in the desert, having overseen a remarkable nine series titles over the last 12 seasons.
"We have a couple of new faces but we also have a lot of the experienced guys coming back," said Tietjens, whose side play South Africa, Portugal and the USA in their pool.
"It's a real challenge playing three weekends in a row but we're looking forward to playing in Dubai. It's my favourite destination. I have a lot of friends here and love coming to Dubai," he added.
Also eyeing a return to some decent form after a disappointing Gold Coast campaign will be defending Dubai champions England, who finished third in the series last season.
"I'm confident we will be better than we were last season," said coach Ben Ryan. "That doesn't necessarily mean we'll do better because the opposition will improve too.
"But we've adjusted a lot of what we're going to do on the field, so there will be some surprises for the opposition. We're confident but also aware there are some outstanding teams that we'll do well to compete with," said the England coach.
His team produced a "mixed bag" in Australia, Ryan said, adding: "To get knocked out in the quarterfinals was not in the plan, and we'd hope to do a little better this weekend.
"After Australia, we were very keen to get over here, press the re-set button," he said. "We're very keen to try to do all to defend our title.
"We've got a tough group and the quarterfinal will potentially throw up South Africa or New Zealand, if we get that far. So day two is going to be monumental but probably no bigger than the hurdles we had last year," he said.
Ryan added: "In the last four years, we've had two semis and two finals here, and obviously that's a minimum standard for us."
South Africa suffered a blow when key playmaker Cecil Afrika was withdrawn from coach Paul Treu's squad after failing to recover from a rib injury sustained in Australia. Branco du Preez will take his place.
"Cecil is still suffering from some discomfort after he received a blow to the ribs on day one in Australia, so we will not risk him unnecessarily because the season has only started and we have a long way to go," said Treu.
Pool A: Fiji, Samoa, Argentina, United Arab Emirates
Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, United States, Portugal
Pool C: France, England, Kenya, Zimbabwe
Pool D: Wales, Australia, Scotland, Canada
Day One schedule:
(Kick-off is local time - GMT plus four hours)
Match 1: Wales v Scotland, 09.20
Match 2: Australia v Canada, 09.42
Match 3: Fiji v Argentina, 10.04
Match 4: Samoa v United Arab Emirates, 10.26
Match 5: New Zealand v United States, 10.48
Match 6: South Africa v Portugal, 11.10
Match 7: France v Kenya, 11.32
Match 8: England v Zimbabwe, 11.54
Match 9: Wales v Canada, 13.02
Match 10: Australia v Scotland, 13.24
Match 11: Fiji v United Arab Emirates, 13.46
Match 12: Samoa v Argentina, 14.08
Match 13: New Zealand v Portugal, 14.32
Match 14: South Africa v United States, 14.54
Match 15: France v Zimbabwe, 15.16
Match 16: England v Kenya, 15.38
Match 17: Scotland v Canada, 16.46
Match 18: Argentina v United Arab Emirates, 17.08
Match 19: United States v Portugal, 17.30
Match 20: Kenya v Zimbabwe, 18.23
Match 21: Wales v Australia, 18.44
Match 22: Fiji v Samoa, 19.06
Match 23: New Zealand v South Africa, 19.30
Match 24: France v England, 19.52
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