Wales begin their 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign in Dubai where they face Zimbabwe in the opening match of the tournament this afternoon.
The objective for Wales is to reach the quarter finals of the Cup but the men in Red know that the route to the last eight has become ever harder as many of the hitherto minnows of the game have grown into killer sharks.
The factor making qualification so difficult is that Rugby World Cup Sevens is a 24-team tournament. The winners of each of the six pools will automatically qualify while the two remaining places go to the 'best' two runners-up. 'Best' in this context means pool points and points differences.
That means Wales scoring as many tries as possible in their pool games while at the same time preventing their opponents from amassing points.
Wales go into their game against Zimbabwe, confident they can achieve a win against the East Africans. "We played them twice in the two opening tournaments of the World Series this season, so we know them well. They've got pace and they've got big engines" said Wales Sevens coach, Paul John.
Wales, who played a warm-up game against Scotland last Sunday, have been encouraged by their performance in the World Series tournament in Wellington last month when they achieved a shock win over host nation New Zealand. .
"That was an important win for us" said Wales manager, Dai Jenkins, adding : "We now have the respect of other teams".
If Wales come through successfully against Zimbabwe they then face Uruguay, who come to the tournament confident after defeating Kenya in San Diego last month.
Last up for Wales will be Argentina who were the Cup winners in San Diego. "Argentina play a different style of sevens from other countries. They have a couple of world class players" said Jenkins.
Overall, the World Cup, which for the first time has a women's competition, is expected to be much more closely contested than in the previous four tournaments. Defending champions Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand, England, Argentina and Samoa are all being tipped for the top honours.
The World Cup in Dubai will be played in front of representatives from the International Olympic Committee, currently assessing rugby's abbreviated version as a possible entrant for the 2016 Games.
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