Dubai Pool B profile (NZL, ARG, WAL, RUS)
We profile the four teams making up Pool B at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, round 2 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, with key stats on the team's World Series record and a lowdown on their x-factor in Dubai.
HEAD-TO-HEADS, DAY ONE DUBAI >>
Won: 540 (86.5%)
Tournaments : 110
Debut : Series 1 - Dubai
Highest Sevens Score: 93 - 0 v BAHAMAS, Commonwealth Games 1998
Ranking last season: 1st
Coach: Gordon Tietjens
X-Factor: Besides the winning mentality and track record of coach Gordon Tietjens, you need look no further than Tomasi Cama for New Zealand's heart beat in Sevens. The captain DJ Forbes is outstanding in leading the side on and off the pitch, but it is 'Junior' who calls the tune and puts Tietjens' words and instructions into practice. Most of what he does is by instinct and intuition and when he is at his best NZ are mostly at their best. Tim Mikkelson is also consistently outstanding and with the likes of Kurt Baker and Sherwin Stowers returning to the Sevens for the first time since the 2010 Commonwealth Games we can expect great things of this side.
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Won: 317 (54.62%)
Tournaments : 107
Debut : Series 1 - Stellenbosch
Highest Score: 73-7 v UAE, Dubai 2011
Final ranking last season: 7th
Coach: Andrés Romagnoli
X-Factor: As with the 15-a-side Pumas, it is all too often the collective spirit and die-hard mentality of the Puma Seven that wins matches through brilliance at the breakdown and in defence, but in captain Nicolas Bruzzone they do have a player of real class. Stocky and strong, he can stand toe-to-toe with the best in the Sevens game and with the likes of Francisco Merello and Gaston Revol providing experienced back-up this side is worth taking very seriously. A good start to the season in Gold Coast and they now have Pablo Matera in the team, one of the outstanding world juniors in 2012.
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Won: 222 (54%)
Tournaments : 76
Debut : Series 2 - Dubai
Highest Score: 72 - 0 v SWAZILAND, Commonwealth Games 1998
Final ranking last season: 8th
Coach: Paul John
X-Factor: With Rhys Shellard having taken over the Sevens captaincy, not only has his own game blossomed but his predecessor Richie Pugh can also concentrate on his game and both factors benefit the side. Outside the two forwards Lee Williams is a sparky playmaker and Rhys Jones and Ifan Evans also provide experience, although they will miss the rampaging runs of Richard Smith. Fond memories for Pugh and coach Paul John on this Dubai ground too, where they claimed the 2009 RWC Sevens title in such memorable fashion, with victory over Argentina.
Won: 58 (31%)
Tournaments : 36
Debut : Series 2 - Hong Kong
Highest Score: 50 - 0 v Malaysia, Hong Kong 2011
Final ranking last season: 18th
Coach: Alexander Alekseenko
X-Factor: The only non-core team in the Dubai draw but Russia will be out to make a big impression as they count down to hosting the Rugby World Cup Sevens next year in Moscow. Seven of the 12 players have more than 10 tournaments under their belt, so they don't lack in experience, and in the likes of Perov, Vladimir Ostroushko, Igor Galinovskiy, Gostyuzhev, Gresev and Simplikevich they possess real class. Physical and strong, nobody enjoys taking them on.