DUBAI, UAE, 26 NOVEMBER, 2012: The USA sevens team, the Eagles, are busy preparing for the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens this weekend, but they took time out of their training schedule today to meet the national symbol of the UAE, the falcon. As well as being title sponsor of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, Emirates has been the Official Airline of USA Rugby since 2010.
National Day in the UAE is next Sunday, and the USA players and coaches met 'Sheikha' at the Sevens ground and were treated to talk from her handler Jannes Kruger, who has been training falcons for 12 years.
The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the world and the USA team have the fastest sevens player in world, Carlin Isles, who has been playing rugby for less than six months. Coach Alex Magleby knows his squad has a lot of growing to do and was realistic about his side's chances this weekend.
"The object is to win, but let's call a spade a spade, this is a long process and we have a young team," he said. "The hard part is determining what you did really well and what you did poorly and then throwing that out, but not throwing the baby out with the bath water.
"For us, it's about being a team that other teams don't want to play; a team that can play in any style. We will play a fast game and a hard game," said Magleby who is eyeing more this weekend than the 14th place finish at the Gold Coast Sevens last month.
"Our preparation is going well. We have been in for a couple of days to help with the jet lag and the guys have been working hard which is great," he said.
"At the Gold Coast, almost half of the group had never practiced together. In a game like Sevens, where the angles you run and the timing of those runs is very important, how other players react on the field is very important. You have to develop cohesion before you get into the pressure environment and that's important part of our learning lessons going into Dubai."
And Magleby is optimistic about the Pool stages despite facing last year's Finalists France, Australia and Canada.
"I think most teams can beat each other on their day, so it's all about consistency," he said. "In Sevens you are never a good as your wins say you are and you're never as bad as your losses say you are.
"It's hard to look past the top five because they are consistently there, but in a tournament like this, it's anybody's tournament."
Tickets to this year's Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens are available now online through www.dubairugby7s.com and from selected Costa and MMI outlets, Virgin Megastores, Emirates Group Headquarters, dnata offices and at 7he Sevens.
Please remember – you only have three more days to buy tickets at the special pre-purchase price. Save money by buying your tickets now.
As in previous years, numerous buses will be on duty to transport fans from 7he Sevens, back to various convenient locations across Dubai, free of charge.
For more information on the tournament, log on to www.dubairugby7s.com.