United Arab Emirates, Dec. 5 -- Dubai is the first of six events held alongside the men's competition in the biggest season in women's sevens history with a record eight tournaments and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

New Zealand are the defending champions in Dubai, having beaten Canada 26-14 in last year's final to claim a fourth title in the desert, and are bidding to become the first team to successfully defend the women's title in Dubai.

The Black Ferns Sevens welcome back playmaker Tyla Nathan-Wong, Alena Saili and Shiray Kaka to their squad. Nathan-Wong assumes the captaincy with Sarah Hirini ruled out of the Dubai and Cape Town rounds with injury, while for Kaka it is her first tournament since the 2018 series finale in Paris.