The Ireland Sevens squad have touched down in Dubai ahead of their participation in the Rugby World Cup Sevens this week. Our man in the camp – video analyst Vinny Hammond – brings us up to date with his first blog from Dubai.
After a 4am start in the Regency Airport hotel this morning, we have all arrived safely in Dubai’s Palm Atlantis Hotel.
The lads were fresh from last week’s training camp in Portugal, having had some down time on Saturday to prepare for the week ahead.
The trip went quite smoothly, we arrived in Gatwick from Dublin on schedule and had a short transfer to our departure gate for Dubai.
Emirates Airlines, as tournament sponsor, made sure that we were exceptionally well looked after on board, and the six-hour flight passed quite quickly.
Personally, I am not a great flyer and my condition was not helped by Paul Marshall, who generously waved a sick bag in my direction any time he could catch my attention!
Most of the squad managed to get some sleep on the flight, and were in good form when we touched down in Dubai at around 8pm local time.
Once all baggage was accounted for, we made the 30-minute trip out to The Palm, which is a spectacular area of land reclaimed from the sea, and now hosts a series of upmarket villas on its ‘branches’ and the Atlantis Hotel as its centre-point, linked to the mainland by a motorway and monorail.
The hotel itself is very impressive and is hosting all teams competing at this year’s World Cup Sevens, which makes for a lively atmosphere.
Once we had checked in, we headed to the dining room for a bite to eat. Some of the lads have had a quick massage to get rid of the aches of travel, but most have gone to bed in preparation for a fairly heavy day of training tomorrow.
Training will start with a 9am session at a local school, followed by a run out at the ‘The Sevens’, Dubai’s newly built rugby stadium.
There is great excitement in the camp, with Thursday’s opening match against Samoa now the focus for the squad.
Having not been on the IRB World Sevens circuit this year, Ireland will be unknown to most of the teams – something that we hope to capitalise on.
For now though, it is time for all to rest up before the real build-up begins tomorrow.
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