Paul Radley puts together a list of five players and explains why they will be the ones to look out for at the 2017 event
Dubai Rugby Sevens: Players to watch in the World Series
Rosko Specman (South Africa)
Beaten to World Rugby’s sevens player of the year title by Perry Baker, the United States wing, when it was announced on Sunday. Specman is the heartbeat of the Blitz Boks side who swept all before them in the series last season, and who will be defending their Emirates International Trophy this weekend.
First chance to see him: Friday, 10.52am, South Africa v Uganda
Waisea Nacuqu (Fiji)
The cousin of Josua Tuisova, the Toulon winger who is known to sevens fans as “The Bus”. Halfback Nacuqu, who was a footballer in his youth before converting to rugby, is more diminutive in stature than his cousin, and is thus known to his Fiji colleagues as “The Minibus”.
First chance to see him: Friday, 10.06am, Fiji v Russia
Dan Norton (England)
A mainstay of the England side for years, the wing will set about extending his lead as the all-time leading try-scorer on the World Sevens Series. He has 261 to his name so far, which is 17 more than the next best, the Kenyan flyer Collins Injera.
First chance to see him: Friday, 11.36am, England v Spain
Tim Mikkelson (New Zealand)
Fifth on the all-time tryscoring charts for the World Sevens Series, even though he has been employed in the forwards for most of his sparkling career with All Blacks Sevens. The towering New Zealander is co-captain of the side, along with Scott Curry.
First chance to see him: Friday, 9.22am, New Zealand v Samoa
Perry Baker (United States)
When Baker was named sevens player of the year on Sunday, it was the first time a player from beyond rugby’s traditional territories had earned the award. Five New Zealanders, three South Africans, two Englishmen, a Fijian and two Samoans had won it before Baker became the first American.
First chance to see him: Friday, 9am, United States v Argentina