UAE Expat Rugby News

Kyle Bennie From RAK Rugby Is With Us For This Weeks Choosday Chat

Kyle Bennie RAK rugby

We have a Choosday Chat with RAK Rugby‘s Fly Half, Kyle Bennie.

FACT FILE

Age: 30
Born: Larkhall, Scotland
Club: RAK Rugby Club
Position: Fly Half
Height: 178cm
Weight: 93kg

“I’m pretty good on the triangle”

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

Two people really spring to mind; Firstly my big brother Mitchell, he got into rugby and was obsessed. We used to throw the ball about for hours trying to perfect passing off both hands and then move onto kicking with both feet, we also used to watch as many rugby games as possible! We even used to rent old international games which were recorded on VHS. Secondly, my old school teacher Mr Jon Kendry, a proper Welshman, he would push me to my limits in the majority of sports but helped me focus on my rugby and was one of the main reasons I stuck at it and didn’t go down the football route. Thank God!

Whats been your proudest moment playing rugby in the Middle East?

Being in the UAE on and off for over 20+ years has many great and proud moments, but to some it up in three selfish points, they would be;

  1. Representing the Arabian Gulf (Rugby Union) and UAE Falcons (Rugby League)
  2. Being part of a band of brothers who revived Sharjah Wanderers and a band of misfits who established Dubai Wasps
  3. Running out onto a field with my brother, few really close mates and a heap of different international players

Do you have any nicknames?

When I was younger and playing with the wrong shaped ball, I was nicknamed “Wee Barra” after a famous Rangers player but when I turned to the proper egg shaped ball I didn’t really have one. Everyone just referred to me as “Bennie” or “KB” until I joined the Lakes Legends many moons ago, unfortunately with bad hair doos and a few questionable dressed to impress moments at 7am for training – they refer to me as “Corey Jane” or “Corey”.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I have four kids and a corporate job so I don’t have much spare time but when I do…. I like to spend it with the family out exploring and camping or playing golf or going out motorbiking in the dunes.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Ironically I asked the Mrs recently if she knew any of my hidden talents and she said YES! “Looking busy and achieving Sweet FA around the house!” Apart from that, some say I am pretty good on the triangle and not to shabby around the kitchen.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

Easy – Eat and Drink, Charcoal Chicken, full service with mutton soup and extra fries. I’m not even ashamed.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Definitely flying. It would be easy to travel about and I’d never sit in another traffic jam again!!

What do you miss most about back home?

I miss the usual – the family, the fresh air of the countryside and the different seasons (usually within the same day in Scotland!) and reality! Sometimes being here, you get engulfed with living the expat lifestyle.

Who are the jokers at RAK Rugby?

Of late it would have to be Brian O’Discin (Disco) for his constant messing about and pulling some funny snide remarks out the bag and Dale Rooney, simply because he is a Northern lad and rugby league convert, bringing a completely different yet hilarious chat to the group.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be and why?

It would be a mix between Tomas Young (Mossy) as on his day, he is a tackling machine and seems to be everywhere around the park or Kieran Dorgan as he is lighting and has a great kicking game from his Gaelic football background.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Elvis Presley, I’m pretty sure he would have a few good stories to tell. Sir Richard Branson, business knowledge and his approach/views on life and one of my late grandparents, purely from a personal perspective on who, what, where, when, why and the old family stories.

Who has the worst Dress sense in the squad?

They are all contenders in their own right, but it would have to be Oisin MacPartlin for his horrendously bright training gear or Neil Jose Carleton with his “don’t give a s&%t attitude (Yes mate – green trainers, yellow socks, blue shorts and a red t-shirts does work! Looks spiffing).

What are the best things about being part of RAK Rugby?

Being part of an up and coming rugby club like RAK is great, there is excitement, growth potential and real belief! It does unfortunately have its down sides, like being so remote and purely relying on teacher retention and new recruits. If the Gaelic football is on the same weekend we play, then we loose 40% of our squad, but all in all the camaraderie is solid and everyone gets stuck in. There is a real family feel and we’re performing the best we have since reviving the club. I hope it can only move forward. Oh….cheap membership and free Dubai 7’s tickets too. (Bonus!)

How’s life in Ras Al Khaimah?

RAK is good. I have only been here 2 years but it reminds me of the “Good old Dubai days”. The community isn’t too big, so you can always see a familiar face or two around town. There is also lots on offer, more adventurous and outgoing opportunities as the mountains are in the back drop and there is a slight temperature difference.

Gulf Rugby Round Up Week 14

gulf rugby

We look back over the past two weeks which saw final regular season games take place in the Community league two weeks ago, along with Premiership and Conference action this weekend.

Jump right in…

Barrelhouse Rugby Club - Team Of the Week Feb 2019

Team of the Week – Barrelhouse

We began the season back in Week one by picking out Barrelhouse as a team to watch this season after seeing them rack up 50 points on an impressive league debut. So it has proved as the season has progressed with the newcomers defeating Dragons 3s 32-31 in a thriller to finish top of the regular season standings in the Community league. They now go into the playoffs as top seeds and will be heavily favoured to get past Harlequins 3s for a place at Finals Day. An impressive effort for the club in their first season of competitive XVs.

Dubai hurricanes line out

West Asia Premiership

Little change in the standings this week as Hurricanes came close to recording a win away at Harlequins that would have lifted them back into the playoff places but fell agonisingly short in a 35-34 reverse at Zayed Sports City. Exiles recorded a comfortable victory over the Eagles, which guarantees their playoff spot.

 

abu dhabi saracens conference rugby

Conference

Three fixtures took place this weekend, with all being won by sides from Group B. Abu Dhabi Saracens and Al Ain Amblers continue to match each other in the quest for the final playoff spot both recording comfortable home bonus point wins over Hurricanes 2s and Eagles 2s respectively. Level on 46 points, it is Amblers superior points difference that gives them the edge at the moment, a bonus point win next week over Canes 2s should see them through but Sarries are poised to pounce on any slip up. Elsewhere Dubai Tigers 1s kept up their unbeaten run, grinding out a 31-17 victory away at Quins 2s.

 

barrelhouse vs dragons

Community

This round of fixtures saw the final league standings and playoff fixtures decided. Barrelhouse edged Dragons 3s in the clash of the two unbeaten sides for top spot. A high scoring win for Tigers 2s away at Al Ain briefly put them in contention to gate-crash the top four, but both RAK Rugby and Harlequins 3s were able to get the job done in their respective fixtures to earn themselves a top four finish. RAK were pushed all the way by the Shaheen who will be pleased to have put 38 points on the board in their final fixture despite falling to defeat.

originallyit was looking like it was going to be a top four playoff in the Community League, but GRM have opened the league up to a knockout playoff between all teams. It does look as though they have been seeded so should make for an interesting few fixtures as below:

[Q1] Barrelhouse 1s vs Harlequins 3s
[Q2] Dragons 3s vs RAK 1s
[Q3] Amblers 2s vs Sharks 2s
[Q4] Tigers 2s vs Shaheen 1s

Article by: Huw Harrow

‘Mystic Mike’ Gives Us His 2019 Six Nations Predictions Video

Click Video Above To Watch Or View On YouTube

Mike Phillips Rugby Academy & Yalla Rugby Team Up To Bring You His Six Nations Rugby Predictions For 2019

Mike Phillips Rugby Academy

Mike is promoting his Half Term Holiday Camp which will be running on the 20th and 21st of February 2019 at Foremarke School in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For further details you can visit his website on https://www.mikephillipsacademy.com/

Video Transcription

Hi it’s Mike Phillips Academy here with Yalla Rugby and here are my predictions for the Six Nations.

6th – Italy

Ok so, the team I think is going to unfortunately finish at the bottom of the table – Italy for me, I think they haven’t really progressed in the last couple of years. I think they’ll find it very difficult during the 6 Nations. The Italian player to look out for in this years Six Nations would be Tommaso Allan.

5th – Scotland

The team I think will come fifth in the competition will be Scotland. They’re a team that improved dramatically over the last few years, but because of injuries and because of the way the fixtures have fallen for them, I think they’ll end up fifth. The Scottish player to look out for would be Stuart Hogg.

4th – France

For me, the team that will end up fourth in this competition will be France. They’ve got so much potential, a great squad, but don’t seem to quite click in the big matches so I think they’ll come in fourth. The play I think to look out for in the French will be Gaël Fickou.

3rd – Ireland

The team that will end up coming third will be Ireland. Obviously they’re one of the best teams in the world at the moment, beating New Zealand in November and constantly improving under a great coach, but for me, they will end up third. Well for me the best Irish player would be Jacob Stockdale. He’s an outstanding player.

2nd – England

A close second for me will be England. I think without doubt, one of the favourites going into the World Cup. Whatever happens in the 6Nations they’ve got so much depth within their forwards and their back division, they’ve been a lot more creative so a close second for England. How do you do a Bristol accent? O’right Governor, the England player to ‘boss it’ will be Henry Slade…apples and pears!

1st – Wales

The team that is going to end up top of the Six Nations this year will be Wales. I think purely because of the way the fixtures are lying, they host England in their third match and Ireland in their last match and I think that they will be victorious in both these matches at home for Warren Gatland’s last 6 Nations Campaign. Well, for me you know, the best Welsh rugby player would be Ken Owens.

Thanks for being with Mike Phillips Rugby Academy and Yalla Rugby. I hope no one was offended by my accents.

I’ve got my Half Term Rugby Camp coming up in Feb from the 20th and 21st, see you there!

Matthis Bathe, Knights U16’s Scrum Half Has A Choosday Chat

Matthis Bathe, Arabian Knights Rugby Player

Arabian Knights Scrum Half – Matthis Bathe talks idols, favourite food and proudest moments.

FACT FILE

Age: 15
Born: Dubai, UAE
Club: Arabian Knights RFC
Position: Scrum/Fly Half
Height: 167cm
Weight: 57kg

“I’d like to understand how difficult a full game of rugby is for a prop”

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

My idols when I was growing up were Jonny Wilkinson and Danny Care. However there were many coaches such as Apollo Perellini and John Taimana who encouraged me to continue playing and practicing.

Do you have any nicknames?

Some of my friends call me Mathitha.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

In my spare time I either play video games, do homework or play around outside.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I love languages and can speak French, Spanish and Arabic.

Who does the cooking at home?

Mainly it’s my Mum but sometimes my Dad cooks.

What would you like to do when you leave school?

I would love to be a Chemical Engineer when I’m older, that would be pretty cool.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would like to be able to control time and I’d travel into the future to see what it’s like.

Have you had any injuries whilst playing rugby?

I haven’t had any major injuries, but I have strained some ligaments in my fingers.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be and why?

I would like to be Umberto and understand how difficult a full game of rugby is for a prop.

Who’s the best dancer in the Arabian Knights.

The best dancer is probably Dan Okenome, he’s got some moves!

What are the best things about being part of the the Knights RFC?

The best things about the Knights Rugby Club is that we are so close, like a family.

What’s your favourite food?

My favourite food is pepperoni pizza.

What do you miss most about back home?

I miss the cold weather and the ability to train at the local rugby pitch whenever I’d like.

Whats been your proudest moment playing rugby in the Dubai?

My proudest moment playing rugby in Dubai was when my team won the HSBC league in U10s.

The 13th Friday Of Gulf Rugby – Would It Be Unlucky For Some?

Gulf Rugby - Round 13

The thirteenth Friday of this Gulf Rugby season – would it be unlucky for some?

Jump right in…

jebel ali dragons 3rd xv

Team of the Week – Jebel Ali Dragons 3s

Just one of three men’s sides to hold an unbeaten record at this stage in the season, Dragons 3s overcame a potentially tricky assignment away to RAK Rugby Club this weekend. In a game played at the Sevens against the side one position below them in the table, the Dragons put on an accomplished display, in a convincing 55-12 win. Given their superior point difference (though forfeited games have some impact here) this was enough to propel them to the top of the Community league ahead of also unbeaten Barrelhouse.

harlequins vs eagles

West Asia Premiership

Business as usual for runaway leaders Bahrain who recorded their twelfth win of the season, 21-10 at home to Dubai Exiles. Considering the run of form they have been on, failing to record the bonus point may be something of a frustration as it actually sees Abu Dhabi Harlequins narrow the gap at the top ever so slightly thanks to their bonus point away to Dubai Eagles. Eagles themselves took a bonus point out of the encounter, racking up over 30 points and continue to display signs of improvement. With two games to go of the season they will be desperate to secure the win their performances recently have deserved. Elsewhere Jebel Ali Dragons moved ahead of Dubai Hurricanes, and crucially into the final playoff spot, edging out their city rivals 17-10.

 

dubai hurricanes 2nd xv

Conference

We now more or less know three of the four teams who will contest the end of season conference playoffs with just two rounds of regular season fixtures to go. In Group A, Hurricanes’ crushing win over Dubai Sharks should see them top the group and with both Dragons and Quins 2s losing, the gap between the two remains at eight points in favour of the Dragons, which should be enough to give them second. Dubai Tigers are clear at the top of Group B, beating Dragons 2s 48-19 to maintain their unbeaten record this weekend. It will go down to the wire between Al Ain Amblers and Abu Dhabi Saracens to claim second spot, both of whom had good wins this weekend, for Saracens a particularly satisfactory 46-17 triumph over Harlequins 2s in the Abu Dhabi derby. Eagles 2s recorded their second win of the season, beating the Arabian Knights 29-22 in a hard fought contest that saw the Knights pick up 2 bonus points in the game but are still yet to see victory this season.

 

uae community rugby

Community

The aforementioned RAK-Dragons fixture was the only match to take place this week, but some interesting off field news, in that indications are that the Community league will introduce playoffs for the top four this season, as opposed to the top two going straight to finals day. Unbeaten Barrelhouse and Dragons 3s are already guaranteed a home draw, but who will face them is up for grabs on the final round of fixtures next week. Should either RAK or Quins 3s slip up then Tigers 2s can overtake them if they can come away with a bonus point win from Al Ain.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Sandy Naylor From Dubai Eagles Has A Choosday Chat With Us

Sandy Naylor Dubai Eagles Rugby

We speak with Dubai Eagles Womens forward – Sandy Naylor on flakey people, wet socks and some “alone time”

FACT FILE

Age: 33
Born: Manila, Philippines
Club: Dubai Eagles RFC
Position: Front row in 7s. Back row in 15s
Height: 177cm
Weight: 69kg

“I think I function better in chaos!”

Do you have any nicknames?

I respond to Sandy, Sands, Nayls, and ‘Wife’.

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

At LSE University Sports Sign Up Week 15.5 years ago I was making my way to the netball table and a lovely lady called Hannah tapped me on the shoulder, said “it’s better you come here” and gently ushered me to the local rugby sign up table!

What are your bugbears?

Flaky people, being ripped off, and cold weather.

Do you have any tattoos?

Yes, and I want them lasered off!

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I am a part time personal trainer and have 3 crazy boy children – so between managing them, their activities and my own training at the gym and rugby I really do not have spare time! That said I love being busy and I think I function better in chaos.

Do you have any phobias?

Cockroaches, losing a tooth, and wet socks.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

EASY – Lime Tree Cafe carrot cake. Oh and buffets.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Invisibility so I can walk past my children without them shouting “I NEED A SNACK” at me.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

My husband, we don’t get much alone time together 😁 (YR: Giggidy)

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Hollie for the wheels. Not only is she absolutely rapid over short distances, but she completed the Dubai marathon last weekend that she didn’t even train for in 3hr36!!!

Who’s the best dancer in the Eagles Ladies squad

It’s gotta be the Beth and Chaz twerking twins!

What are the best things about being part of the Dubai Eagles RFC?

The camaraderie, the friendships, and the winning.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Wow I don’t even remember! I don’t actually drink or brunch often because a) I’m a total liability after a few drinks and b) I’m a really incompetent parent when hungover.

How’s life been in Dubai?

Love it. My parents and brother live here, I grew up here so it really is home to me.

Week 12’s Rugby Action From All 3 Leagues In The UAE

gulf rugby roundup week 12

This week’s UAE Rugby action from across all three leagues.

Jump right in…

abu dhabi saracens rugby

Team of the Week – Abu Dhabi Saracens

It has been well documented that 2018 was a difficult year for a side which were West Asia Champions as recently as 2015. Results on the field saw demotion to the UAE Conference at the end of last season but struggles off it have really tested the resilience of the club. The early signs are that 2019 might see Sarries turn a corner in their rebuilding phase. They have gone three wins from three in January, conceding only 12 points in the process and two of those matches coming away from home. Locked in a battle with Al Ain Amblers to secure a playoff spot, they are building momentum at the right time of the season and bringing much needed confidence back to Al Ghazal.

dubai exiles vs hurricanes 2019

West Asia Premiership

Dubai Exiles were the big winners in this round of matches, claiming a hard fought local derby win at The Sevens over Dubai Hurricanes 32-27. That lifts them to third in the standings as they jostle for playoff spots along with Canes and Jebel Ali Dragons. Dragons themselves were edged out at home by Abu Dhabi Harlequins 29-25, a win which sees Quins all but guaranteed second spot with Bahrain clear at the top.

 

dubai tigers rugby uae

Conference

The game of the week in the Conference also came at The Sevens and it was another agonising defeat for the home club with Canes 2s edged out 46-44 in the last minute of a tumultuous free scoring contest with unbeaten Dubai Tigers 1s. The three top 1s sides all recorded wins over their Premiership second team opponents with Al Ain Amblers cantering past Quins 2s and Abu Dhabi Saracens travelling down to Jebel Ali and recording an impressive 27-5 away win. Conversely, amongst the sides towards the bottom of their respective groups, it was the second strings who claimed the points with DSC Eagles 2s and Dubai Exiles 2s claiming only their second and third wins of the campaign respectively.

 

rak rugby vs al ain amblers

Community

Nearing the end of the regular season in the Community League and just two fixtures were completed this weekend. Dragons 3s maintained their unbeaten record in sweeping past Tigers 2s to keep up in the two horse race at the top with Barrelhouse. The mid-table clash between Amblers 2s and RAK Rugby went the way of the northern emirate side 36-19, a result which sees them climb back to what is almost now their customary third place in the standings.

Article by: Birthday Boy Huw Harrow

Mike McFarlane – A Final Farewell ChoosdayChat With The Quins Head Coach

Mike McFarlane Harlequins

As Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Gulf Rugby bid farewell to Head Coach, Mike McFarlane, after his shock resignation last week, we dedicate this week’s ChoosdayChat to the quintuple trophy winner.

FACT FILE

Age: 33
Born: Kent, England
Club: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Position: Head Coach
Height: 188cm
Weight: 100kg

“The passion that boy puts into his rugby is nothing compared to what he puts into his singing”

Do you have any nicknames?

‘Mikey’ is the only nickname that has ever really stuck.

When you’re not coaching, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend time with the littl’un, be it swimming, the beach or doing jigsaws. I also like Keeping fit and getting outdoors, but I especially enjoy eating great food and BBQing.

What do you miss most about England?

Proper butcher’s sausages! You just can’t get them like back home.

Do you have any hidden talents?

It’s been a while now, but I used to play flute and saxophone.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

KFC… I’m guilty for a Twister!!

Who do you think will shine as a coach in Japan this year?

Gregor Townsend with Scotland and Warren Gatland on his last outing for Wales: both have the draws, squads and potential to push into the knockout stages of the World Cup.

What’s been your favourite moment as a coach?

The 2016/17 season, winning everything when the league was at it’s strongest. About 4 teams could have won every trophy that year but the boys were phenomenal, in quality and depth, both 1st and 2nd XV.

Whats your favourite punisher drill for the boys?

I’m not a fan of flogging the boys but one which is a killer in terms of skills under fatigue is the “Fiji touch 4v2 drill”.

Who’s the best dancer/singer at the Quins?

Muneeb Galant…the passion that boy puts into his rugby is nothing compared to what he puts into singing “Senses” in the sheds with a few shimmys…if he’s not recording it all.

If you could be one of the Quins players when you were playing, who would it be?

Oooo…I’d take Barry Dwyer’s wheels, Brian Geraghty’s chip n’ chase, Andy Shields lineout calls and Semp’s distribution…oh and Luke Stevenson‘s turnover skills haha

How’s life in Abu Dhabi?

It’s a great lifestyle with some fantastic opportunities and over 8 years I’ve been lucky enough to attend a range of brilliant events and meet some top quality people.

What are the best things about the being part of Abu Dhabi Harlequins rugby club?

The “One Club” culture has been epic to build and see flourish. For me, the players – hands down the best lads on and off the pitch you could hope for. It’s always been a pleasure singing with the boys.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

For sports chat around the table, I’d say Freddie Flintoff, Anthony Joshua and Johnny Wilkinson. For a general chat I’d say Sir David Attenborough, James Corden and Sir Richard Branson.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

Travel as much of the world as possible, experience more cultures and learn more languages.

More On Mike McFarlane

McFarlane oversaw the Harlequins’ rejuvenation in UAE rugby and memorably steered the club to a clean sweep of major trophies. The quintuple, back in the 2016/17 season, included lifting the West Asia Premiership, West Asia Cup, UAE Premiership, Dubai Sevens and Asia Rugby Western Clubs Champions League titles, after which McFarlane revealed he had considered leaving for the second time, having first entertained the thought in the summer of 2016.

Set to leave the UAE due to personal reasons, his resignation midway through the season arrived as a shock to a club who had grown used to success under his coaching. No other club in the region has won more trophies than Harlequins in the time since McFarlane succeeded Jeremy Manning as the team’s coach back in 2015.

Andy Cole, the Harlequins chairman, said:

“Mike will be sorely missed at Harlequins. The guy has been completely dedicated to the club and rugby in general and has been a great ambassador for us and to UAE rugby. He was a great player and coach and it will be difficult to find a replacement like him. We wish him well for the future and thank him for all he’s done.”

Gulf Rugby Roundup Week 11

Latest Gulf Rugby News 2019

More action this week from the West Asia Premiership and UAE Conference rugby league.

Jump right in…

Amblers vs Dragons

Team of the Week – Al Ain Amblers

Al Ain coming away from Jebel Ali with a comprehensive 45-21 win, over a side that had previously lost on just one occasion this season might be seen as the upset of the round. Though that would overlook the fact that the Amblers were only a whisker away from toppling league leaders Tigers last week and seem to have run into a rich vein of form at just the right time of the season. If they can hold off Abu Dhabi Saracens for a playoff spot, they will be a threat in the knockout stages.

eagles vs hurricanes uae premiership rugby match

West Asia Premiership

On paper this week’s main event was the top of the table clash between Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Bahrain, but with the away side winning in irresistible fashion, narrowly missing out of putting 50pts on Quins, the drama ended up being found elsewhere. DSC Eagles suffered a heart-breaking loss to Dubai Hurricanes, a match that is becoming a real rivalry in Dubai. Canes clinched it 27-25 with a last second try in spite of a large period of stout Eagles goal line resistance, leaving the hosts rooted to the foot of the table and still without a win. It was just as close fought in the other Dubai derby between Jebel Ali Dragons and Dubai Exiles, the Exiles claiming a four point win which moves them up to third in the West Asia standings.

 

saracens vs eagles conference rugby 2019

Conference

All change in the fixture lists at Conference level as sides in the 1s group and 2s group played against one another for the first time. The top 1s sides recorded some impressive results with Abu Dhabi Saracens keeping pace with the aforementioned Amblers thanks to an away win 49-7 over DSC Eagles 2s. Hurricanes 2s were the other big winners of the round, with their comfortable away win at Arabian Knights coupled with Dragons 2s loss seeing the Canes take over as the top ranked 2s side and gain pole position for a favourable playoff draw. The Sharks and Exiles forfeited their games, giving both Tigers 1s and Quins 2s easy bonus point wins.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Your First Roundup of Gulf Rugby Action In 2019

Latest Gulf Rugby News 2019

News from the first round of Gulf Rugby action in 2019 with fixtures taking place across all three men’s divisions last weekend.

Jump right in…

bahrain rugby club team of the week January 2019

Team of the Week – Bahrain

A week where fixtures largely went according to the formbook contained no stand out results with high scoring home wins largely the order of the day. West Asia Premiership leaders Bahrain are the major exception, travelling to The Sevens to face a resurgent Hurricanes still buoyant from their Dubai 7s triumph last month, they dismantled the home side to win 44-19 claiming a bonus point and maintaining their cushion over Abu Dhabi Harlequins ahead of next week’s top of the table clash in the capital.

dragons vs eagles lineout jan 2019

West Asia Premiership

Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Harlequins both kept up the pace at the top of the table with high scoring bonus point wins. With Bahrain dispatching a Hurricanes side who came in to the week in third place, the gap between the top two and the rest has in fact widened further. A win for Jebel Ali Dragons in a high scoring 54-31 encounter with Dubai Eagles moves them up in to third, leapfrogging both Canes and Dubai Exiles. We can expect to see plenty of jostling for position between these three in the season’s closing weeks.

The West Asia playoff race is now looking clear as Dragons, Exiles and Canes all fight amongst themselves for 3rd and 4th places in the table to secure playoff action, all signs point towards January 18th’s crunch fixture at Zayed Sports City between Harlequins and Bahrain acting as this year’s title decider.

 

abu dhabi saracens conference rugby 2019

Conference

The last round of initial group fixtures before crossover matches between 1s and 2s sides contained no surprises. Harlequins and Dragons 2s racked up comfortable home wins over Exiles and Eagles 2s respectively. It was ‘must win’ territory for Quins as they eased past Exiles 32-8, still sit 10pts behind Hurricanes 2s, who had a bye week, and mathematically at least still in the race for a playoff place as a result. Amongst the 1s group, Abu Dhabi Saracens put together a convincing win over Arabian Knights, who, despite being yet to register a win this season, deserve credit for continuing to compete week in week out. The real drama came over at Al Ain Amblers where Dubai Tigers having gone all of 2018 unbeaten, nearly came unstuck at this year’s first hurdle but held on to edge past the home side 22-19.

 

barrelhouse vs rak rugby

Community

Wins for Barrelhouse and Dragons 3s maintained both sides’ 100% records and further increased the likelihood that they will meet on finals day to decide the title. In falling to league leaders Barrelhouse 43-7, RAK Rugby slip behind Tigers 2s in the chasing pack. After a difficult start to the season, Tigers have registered three wins on the bounce, edging out local rivals Dubai Sharks 2s 26-25, and could yet sneak into contention if they can win away at the Dragons at the end of the month. There were over 100 points scored in the weekend’s other fixture in Al Ain where the Amblers 2s defeated Shaheen 67-36. Consolation for the Shaheen comes in the form of a 4 try bonus point and their first league points of the 2018/19 campaign.

 

Top Point Scorers

If you’re looking to see who’s got the latest ‘bragging rights’ in our Top Scorers table, then head straight over to our Top 10 Stats page.

Article by: Huw Harrow

New Years Gulf Rugby Review – 2019

gulf rugby roundup 2019

Gulf Rugby returns this weekend after the winter break. With plenty to be decided across all levels of the game – we outline the titles on offer at the business end of the season, and which rugby clubs stand to be in with a shot of each.

Jump right in…

bahrain rugby club

West Asia Premiership

Up for grabs: Six rounds of fixtures remain with the top four teams then going into a playoff to see who will make it to the Final of the league and crowned West Asia Champions.

In the Hunt: Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Harlequins

It might seem a little early to be calling this a two horse race, but the form showed by these two towards the end of 2018 would mean it would require a sizeable collapse if one of them is not to be lifting the West Asia Rugby title this season. While there are six rounds of fixtures to go and plenty of time for form to change, third place Exiles are already 14 points off the pace, which looks an insurmountable gap. As such, the January 18th clash between Quins and leaders Bahrain at Zayed Sports City has ‘title decider’ written all over it.

harlequins

UAE Premiership

Up for grabs: Fixtures not including Bahrain also count towards UAE Premiership standings, with the top four sides facing off in playoff to determine who plays on finals day.

In the Hunt: Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Dubai Hurricanes, Dubai Exiles, Jebel Ali Dragons

Luckily for the rest of the teams in the top flight there is still plenty to play for in the form of the UAE Premiership. With Bahrain out of the picture, Quins 14 point advantage over second placed Hurricanes gives them one foot in the final but the remaining place is very much up for grabs. Only four points separate Hurricanes, Dragons and last season’s winners, Exiles so fixtures between these sides will carry extra edge in the season’s closing weeks.

tigers

UAE Conference

Up for grabs: The two best 1s and 2s sides respectively will qualify for semis and a chance to make it to finals day.

In the Hunt: Dubai Tigers, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Al Ain Amblers, Hurricanes 2s, Dragons 2s

Conference sides find a shake up with their remaining fixture list with sides playing each other across the ‘1s Group’ and the ‘2s Group’. Semi-finalists will still consist of the top two from each respective group however. Amongst the 1s, defending champions Dubai Tigers remain unbeaten in this campaign and look set to make the knockouts with Abu Dhabi Saracens and Al Ain Amblers battling it out for the second spot. Hurricanes and Dragons 2s have broken clear in the 2s standings with Harlequins a further 13 points back so look unlikely to contest the knockouts.

Barrelhouse

UAE Community

Up for grabs: At the moment, the top two teams are playing for a place at finals day, but there is still talk of a possible playoff between the top four teams.

In the Hunt: Barrelhouse, Dragons 3s, RAK, Harlequins 3s

At the halfway point, two sides remain unbeaten, last year’s runners up Dragons 3s and the newcomers Barrelhouse. The two sides meet on February 8th in what could be a final dress rehearsal, but RAK and Quins 3s have a shot at breaking into the top two if they can pull off an upset in coming games. With teams only having 3 or 4 games remaining, each fixture is crucial for those competing at the top end.

Eagles

UAE Womens Sevens Series

Up for grabs: Four additional one-day tournaments with results from each going towards deciding the cumulative Sevens League Champions.

In the Hunt: DSC Eagles and Dubai Hurricanes

Eagles Ladies remain unbeaten this season and boast a 6pt cushion at the top of the standings having come out on top in all three tournaments thus far as well as claiming back to back Dubai 7s crowns. It would take a brave person to bet against further dominance from the girls in green, but if any side is likely to break the stranglehold, Hurricanes look the most likely. They have finished runner up in each round so far and also took the Eagles to extra time in a dramatic Dubai 7s semi-final, so will be looking for a change of fortune in the coming weeks.

Article by: Huw Harrow

UAE Rugby ranked 5th in World Rugby’s ‘Get Into Rugby’

uae rugby national school boys 2018

UAE Rugby ranked 5th in World Rugby’s ‘Get Into Rugby’ youth development programme

A recently published ‘Get Into Rugby’ report from World Rugby and Asia Rugby, highlighting Associate Nations, has ranked the UAE as 5th in the world for rugby participation at youth level.

Earlier this year, UAE Rugby entered into a landmark agreement with the UAE Ministry of Education which saw World Rugby’s ‘Get Into Rugby’ (GIR) programme form part of the Physical Education curriculum in Emirati schools across the UAE.

In 2018, 107,001 boys and girls were involved in UAE Rugby’s Player Pathway Programme, 39% of which are girls. Currently UAE Rugby takes the sport into 208 schools across the UAE.

Our agreement with the Ministry of Education is a first for the region

ministry of education

Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General UAE Rugby Federation said; “Our agreement with the Ministry of Education is a first for the region and undoubtedly cements UAE’s position as a leader in development and sustainability of the grassroots game across both the GCC, and Asia. This is evident through our being recognised and being ranked as 5th in the world, an achievement we are very proud of. Asia Rugby’s ‘Asia 1 Million Project’ has just reached its mark, and we are delighted to have been a major contributor to this achievement.”

“We remain extremely grateful to the Ministry, and for the ongoing support of our GIR – Player Pathway Programme partner; HSBC, as a result of their unwavering support rugby will continue to grow at grassroots.” added Al Dhalai.

Your Final Gulf Rugby Roundup Of 2018

Gulf Rugby Roundup

Our final roundup of 2018 as we find out who will be heading in to Christmas top of the tree in the Premiership and the Conference leagues

Jump right in…

Dubai Tigers

Team of the Week – Dubai Tigers 1s

A routine victory for the Tigers over an Arabian Knights outfit that are still looking for their first win this season would not normally attract our attention. But in defeating the Knights in the final round of games to be played in 2018, Tigers 1s have achieved the rare distinction of going a whole calendar year unbeaten. Their run stretches back to last season’s Conference title winning side and this form has carried across into this season as they sit comfortably top of their Conference Pool with 7 wins out of 7. The closest they have come to defeat was back in the Conference final with Sharjah Wanderers, which finished as a draw in normal time before Tigers snatched it in sudden death. A minor blemish on what is a significant milestone achievement.

harlequins vs hurricanes

West Asia Premiership

The weekend’s big clash came at The Sevens with an immediate rematch of the Dubai 7s final between Dubai Hurricanes and Abu Dhabi Harlequins. This time it was the away side who gained revenge for their 7s loss with a bonus point 43-21 win. That keeps Quins hot on the tails of Bahrain who dispatched Jebel Ali Dragons and go into the new year with a four point lead at the top. Dubai Exiles ran out victors at the end of a thriller over DSC Eagles, with their city rivals leading 20-12 at halftime and almost snatching the victory in the last play of the game with a try in the corner only for a foot in touch leaving them with the consolation of a credible losing bonus point and a final score of 23-29.

The title race at the top now looking clear as a 14 point gap having opened up between third place Exiles and Quins in second spot, all signs point towards January 18th’s crunch fixture at Zayed Sports City between Harlequins and Bahrain acting as this year’s title decider.

 

saracens rugby players abu dhabi

Conference

With Tigers running away with the lead in their pool, Abu Dhabi Saracens kept themselves in touch with Al Ain Amblers in the battle for the second qualification spot thanks to a decisive 57-10 away win over Dubai Sharks. Hurricanes 2s will be the happiest of the sides in the other pool, as they leapfrog Dragons 2s courtesy of a 20-7 triumph at home to Quins 2s. Both Dragons and Hurricanes have opened up a cushion in the top two places with Quins slipping away and Exiles 2s earning only their second win of the season over fellow back marker Eagles 2s.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Saracens Captain Taylor Has A Choosday Chat With Us

Jonathan Taylor Abu Dhabi Saracens rugby player

We have a quick Choosday Chat with Abu Dhabi Saracens Flanker and club captain, Jonathan Taylor

FACT FILE

Age: 30
Born: East London, South Africa
Club: Abu Dhabi Saracens
Position: Flanker
Height: 182cm
Weight: 85kg

“You would swear he is colourblind”

Do you have any nicknames?

I just get Jonny or JT. My mates aren’t very creative people when it comes to nicknames.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate.

Do you have any phobias?

Nope.

What do you miss most about your home country

Obviously my family but also a proper beach with waves.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Dr Jordan B Petersen (a Canadian professor of psychology at the University of Toronto)

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

My father, he was the coach of my school’s 1st XV so rugby was always part of our household and just a way of life. Some of my earliest memories are playing indoor knee rugby against my brother and inevitably breaking something.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Francesco… Everyone wants to be Francesco, some have even tried…. Have you seen him?

Who are the jokers at Sarries?

There’s a few contenders here but it would have to go to Morne, Jakes the snake and our biggest supporter Riad. I don’t think I can elaborate on this publicly.

Who has the worst Dress sense at the club?

Without a doubt it’s Stallone, the guy can’t even wear Sarries gear without clashing colours somehow. You would swear he is colourblind.

How’s life in Abu Dhabi?

Every year seems to be getting better. My wife and I are now expecting our first child as well, so I couldn’t be happier.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

It was a KFC Boxmaster.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Back home, rowing was my main sport and I always considered myself a better oarsman than a rugby player.

What are the best things about the Saracens rugby club?

The club really is like having a big family. It’s almost impossible to leave training without spending three hours having “just one beer” and just about every week someone is hosting an event and it’s the entire club together again. Off and on the pitch I couldn’t be happier with the boys and girls of Sarries.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Definitely flying but I’d probably trade it in for an extra 10kgs.

Dubai Eagles Women retain 7s Title After Semi-Final Drama

dsc eagles dubai 7s gulf womens champions 2018

Eagles Women retain 7s title after semi-final drama

It was comfortable in the end for the Dubai Eagles, as they retained the Gulf’ Womens crown they won in their debut season last year but their 22-0 win over a spirited Al Ain Amblers in the final is far from the full story.

It took a sudden death try in extra time for the dominant side in Gulf Womens rugby to make it to the final after having found themselves in a monumental struggle with Dubai Hurricanes. Eagles were forced to display a level of resilience in that 22-17 win they aren’t often required to call on, just to make it back to the showpiece occasion on Pitch 2 and Hurricanes can leave with their heads held high.

The final itself was also not straightforward, with Amblers executing a tight, forwards oriented gameplan, which saw them keep possession for long periods through the power running of Jasmine Clark, Louise Fenton and Farah Alazri. Whilst the Amblers were able to match the favourites for physicality, epitomised by a number of crunching hits from Temi Akingbade, it was ultimately the Eagles’ superior skill levels which saw them pull clear.

Each of their four tries coming through passing interplay and a willingness to offload in the tackle often exemplified by the two Murphys, Lisa Marie and ever dangerous Hollie. They did have to withstand heavy pressure at the beginning of the second half with their lead at only 10-0, but Amblers inability to force the ball over the line was immediately proved costly when Bethany Middleton went in under the posts after an Eagles breakaway to be converted by Mairead Comerford.

Eagles rang the changes late on in the game but showed little sign of weakening their performance, replacement Kim Larsson completing the scoring with her first touch. Amblers might feel that the margin of victory didn’t do justice to the balance of play, and no neutral observer would have begrudged a consolation score, but Eagles clinical attacking play brought about their just reward.

DSC Eagles: Bethany Middleton, Hannah Aspden, Helen Amos, Hollie Murphy, Julie Lermusiaux, Kim Larssen, Lisa Marie Murphy, Mairead Comerford, Sandra Kunkler, Santi Stiglingh, Tara Cooney, Yevgeniya Aufdembrink

Al Ain Amblers: Bridgette Flake, Christaia Houser, Courtney Anderson, Erica Savage, Farah Alazri, Hannah Hall, Jasmine Clark, Karrissa Pimm, Louise Fenton, Marisse de Klerk, Sylvia Vilsoni, Temi Akingbad

Article by: Huw Harrow

Hurricanes blow away misfiring Quins for first Dubai 7s title in over a decade

Canes blow away misfiring Quins for first Dubai 7s title in over a decade

The Dubai 7s hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Dubai Hurricanes in recent years. Despite being regular co-tenants at the Sevens Stadium they’ve found themselves watching from the stands as Dubai Exiles, Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Jebel Ali Dragons have shared the trophy amongst themselves since their maiden triumph in 2007.

Hurricanes did not enter this year’s tournament as favourites either, despite some improved performances in the West Asia Premiership, they weren’t expected to match the firepower of the Gulf’s top teams. But in this final against a Harlequins side which had averaged 37.5 points a game in reaching the final, a calm, assured display built on a swarming defence saw them run out as clear and deserved winners.

The match looked over as a contest early into the second period when Joseph Riley stretched clear on the left wing to put his side 17-0 up straight after half time. Harlequins players were left protesting what looked to be an infringement in the build up which put Riley into the clear, but in reality it was only a fair reflection of the dominance of the Dubai outfit with the game having been played out almost exclusively in the Quins 22 until that point.

Both sides came into the final unbeaten and having survived nailbiting semi finals with Jebel Ali Dragons and Bahrain respectively. But the capital city outfit just could not get their game going early on, finding themselves camped under their own posts for the opening three minutes. The scoring was eventually opened by Lewis Anderson with Quins a man down after persistent infrigements in the danger area. Discipline proved costly again with a penalty conceded five yards from their own line allowing Boris Finck the opportunity to wriggle over after a quick tap to double the advantage.

Uncharacteristic mistakes continued to hamper Quins as frustration set in, lineouts misfired and balls were spilled in attack. This was only compounded by an interception score, run in by the impressive Sakiusa Naisau and converted from wideout by Finck, much to the delight of an increasingy jubilant Canes support.

Some powerful direct running from Emosi Ratuvecanaua and Andrew Semple eventually reduced the arrears late on to a more respectable 24-14 but this did nothing to dampen the celebrations of the men in yellow.

Dubai Hurricanes: Adam Marshall, Boris Finck, Daniel Crouchman, Edward Lewis, Elliot Speed, Ian Larkin, Joseph Riley, Lewis Anderson, Pio Tanimatuku, Sakisua Naisau, Tobias Oakley, Tomos Roderick

Abu Dhabi Harlequins: Andrew Semple, Andrew Stevenson, Ashbey Williams, Barry Dwyer, Brian Geraghty, Christopher McKee, Emosi Ratuvecanua, Epeli Dranibota, Kiniviliame Natuna, Nicholas Millewis-Thomas, Sean Stevens

Article By: Huw Harrow

Your Dubai 7s 2018 Preview

Dubai 7s 2018

Here’s our guide to the 2018 Dubai Rugby Sevens, which kicks off this Thursday

When the days start to draw shorter, tinsel appears in shop windows and mince pies on the shelves it’s the time of year that means only one thing – Dubai Rugby Sevens weekend is upon us! Here’s all you need to know about what’s happening in the main Gulf Competitions this year:

Exiles Dubai rugby sevens gulf mens league champions 2017

Gulf Men’s League

The premier competition featuring the familiar big names from the West Asia Premiership, this was won in memorable fashion last year by Dubai Exiles, coming from behind to beat the fancied Jebel Ali Dragons in the final. Both of these two will be amongst the favourites again this year along with 2016 champions Abu Dhabi Harlequins and a Bahrain side who currently sit top of the Premiership standings in the XV a side format. Abu Dhabi Saracens and Al Ain Amblers are the two sides outside of the Premiership who complete the lineup, both deserve credit for stepping up as Conference sides to challenge the elite.

The sides will complete a pool stage round robin over the opening two days, looking to gain favourable seedings for the knockout stages, which culminate with the Final on 12:30pm in front of the main crowd on Pitch 1.

Pool A: Dubai Hurricanes, Bahrain, Dubai Exiles, Dubai Eagles
Pool B: Jebel Ali Dragons, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Al Ain Amblers

Rugby Sevens Dubai UAE 2018

Gulf Men’s Open

As ever, a colourful mixture of sides from across West Asia will be making the trip to Dubai with eight nations represented in total across the 20 teams. The finalists last year came from closer to home however, with Dragons 2s edging out Harlequins 2s and the four UAE Premiership second strings will be amongst the teams to beat. Amongst the chasing pack, Kuwait Scorpions competed in the ‘League’ tournament last year so will fancy going far at the lower level whilst Dubai Tigers, winners in 2016, are unbeaten so far in the UAE Conference and will be hungry to claim a few scalps. Look out of course for our very own Yalla Rugby invitational side who will be looking to improve on the Plate semi-final reached last time around.

The pool stages once again spread across both days with two rounds on Thursday and a single fixture on Friday with all sides guaranteed a knockout game on a busy Saturday. Group winners and three best runners up will enter the Trophy, remaining runners up, all third placed teams and the best of the groups back markers will compete for the plate while a consolation 16-20 playoff awaits the remainder. The Trophy final is scheduled for 17:26 on Pitch 2, immediately following the Plate.

Pool A: Yalla Rugby, Muscat, Bahrain 2s, Arabian Knights,
Pool B: Jebel Ali Dragons 2s, Saudi Rugby, Amman Citadel, Dubai Sharks
Pool C: Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2s, Roberts Constructions, Dubai Exiles 2s, Riyadh Falcons
Pool D: Dubai Tigers, Shaheen, Sharjah Wanderers, Amman Citadel 2s
Pool E: Ceylon Warriors, Kuwait Scorpions, Multiplex Bulls, Damascus Zenobians

Womens Gulf Champions 2017-1

Gulf Women’s

In what is a testament to the growth of the women’s rugby game in both UAE and the wider region, a whole host of new names will take to the field in what is an expanded tournament this year. Amongst the new entrants are three sides from Egypt, Lebanese outfit Beirut Aconites and a debut at the Dubai 7s for RAK Rugby Riders. Reigning champions DSC Eagles are well established as the dominant force in the women’s game within the UAE, and are unbeaten so far this season in the UAE Women’s Sevens League, but it remains to be seen if any of the unknown quantities from abroad may be able to present a stiffer challenge.

The sides are split in to four pools, the top two in each proceeding to the Trophy knockout stages and the bottom two entering the Plate. Finals take place on Saturday with the Trophy to be contested at 15:24 on Pitch 2.

Pool A: DSC Eagles, Dubai Hurricanes 2s, Kuwait Scorpions, Black Ruggers
Pool B: RAK Rides, Beirut Aconites, Emirates Firebirds, Sharjah Wanderers
Pool C: Dubai Hurricanes, Emirates Firebirds 2s, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Transforma Panthers
Pool D: Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Al Ain Amblers, AUC Wolves, Dubai Hawks

rugby 7s

Yalla Rugby Invitational Squad

We’re delighted to announce the Yalla Rugby Invitation Squad for this years Dubai Rugby Sevens 2018.
Players

  1. Rob Forster
  2. Danny Thomas
  3. Phil Vyas
  4. Daniel Crumplin
  5. James Mulhair
  6. Paul Waters
  7. Sean Gillies
  8. Jehan Sohail
  9. Joe Corcoran
  10. Johnny Corcoran
  11. Mansoor Alzaabi
  12. Hassan Anabtawi

Management

  • Kellen Hutchison
  • Alex Johnson

Again we will compete in the Gulf Mens Open competition looking to make it third time lucky for some silverware having come close in previous years. Why not get behind our squad and show your support. Below you can see our schedule over the weekend:

DateTimePitchOpposition
29th18:20Pitch 5Muscat
29th20:20Pitch 5Knights
30th20:20Pitch 5Bahrain

Article by: Huw Harrow

Win Tickets To An Evening With Brian O’Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll MeGettigans JLT Dubai

It’s a great opportunity to meet and greet O’Driscoll at McGettigans JLT, Dubai.  The event will include an afternoon of stories and insights from Brian, meet and greet with photo opportunity for all guests, Comedian Compere Mr Jerry Earl, and audience Q&A session, sports memorabilia and prize giveaways.

How do I enter the competition?

Simply like our Yalla Rugby Facebook page (if you don’t already!) and leave us a quick recommendation by clicking the button below. We will be notified of your recommendation and you will automatically be entered into the prize draw which will see the lucky winner announced on Thursday 22nd November.

Time left until prize draw entry closes:

0Hours0Minutes0Seconds

mcgettigans

Jamie Clarke From The Tigers Has A Choosday Chat

Jamie Clarke Dubai tigers

Dubai Tigers Flanker Jamie Clarke has a quick Choosday Chat

FACT FILE

Age: 33
Born: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Club: Dubai Tigers
Position: Flanker
Height: 180cm
Weight: 88kg

“I saw his wallet for the first time at the weekend, but only because his subs were due”

Do you have any nicknames?

It’s boring really, I just get JC, Clarkey or J.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of spare time. If I do and there are some waves in Dubai I’ll be out on the water, other than that I like to get outdoors as much as I can. I do try and get out of Dubai and travel as much as possible though.

Do you have any phobias?

Yeah, I hate snakes.

What do you miss most about New Zealand?

The outdoors along with the surf, the Kiwi food, the beer and of course, my family.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Probably Richard Branson, at least I could learn a thing or two whilst I was in there!

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

It’s a way of life back home in NZ. Most New Zealanders play rugby, it’s part of our culture and life growing up!

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

None of them because they are all pests…. haha Mandy Garry he’s got the best tan in the team!

Who has the worst Dress sense?

It would have to be Fitzy, because most of the time he doesn’t have any clothes on.

Who’s the tightest?

Noel, aka Leon Dashwood. I saw his wallet for the first time at the weekend, but only because his subs were due in at The Tigers!

How’s life in Dubai?

I can’t complain about life in Dubai, it’s been 12 years in the Middle East so pretty settled here right now and I recon I’ll be around the UAE for a bit longer!

What was the last brunch you went on?

Oktoberfest down at the Hyatt. A decent set up there.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Non that the general public need to know about!

What are the best things about Tigers?

It’s a great club, and an environment where rugby is the reason we show up week in week out, but there is also an understanding that family and work come first because that’s why people are here and it seems to be working well for us.

Who do you listen to to get pumped for a match?

Not much of a music man pre match to be fair, if it all, I’ll blast some sounds from back home, Six60, Fiji, Herbs, Katchafire.

Dubai Rugby 7s 2018 Messages From Famous faces

We’re lucky enough to have received some good luck messages ahead of this years Dubai Rugby 7s which will be taking place at the end of the month. This year we have again entered a team into the Gulf Mens Open tournament, having previously finished quarter finalists and semi finalists respectively.

Who will you be supporting at this years Dubai Rugby Sevens? There’s only one team you need to follow… according to some of our legendary fans!!! Click the videos below to hear what they have to say.

Maro Itoje

British & Irish Lions, England and Saracens Forward

Danny Care

England and Harlequins Scrum Half

Billy Vunipola

British & Irish Lions, England and Saracens Prop Forward

Joe Marler

British & Irish Lions, England and Harlequins Prop Forward

George Ford

England and Leicester Tigers Fly Half