UAE Expat Rugby News

Gulf Rugby Week 1-2 Round Up

gulf rugby roundup

We welcome back our resident wordsmith, Huw Harrow as he brings us a combo sized rugby roundup of action from Week 1 & 2.

Jump right in…

barrelhouse rugby club

Team of the Week – Powerhouse Barrelhouse

With news of clubs being forced to leave the circuit a common theme in recent seasons, the arrival of Barrelhouse on the scene is a reason to be cheerful. This weekend marked the club’s competitive UAE XVs debut, and they announced themselves in some style with a 56-10 win over Dubai Tigers 2s. A performance built around old-fashioned forward dominance overwhelmed their visitors at Jebel Ali, in what was also a landmark fixture for the Tigers as their first competitive outing for their second string. Nonetheless a result that will make the established order in the Community league sit up and take notice.

Bahrain vs Eagles


Bahrain have been the big winners over the first two weeks of Premiership action and are the only side to maintain an unbeaten record after opening the season with an impressive away victory over Abu Dhabi Harlequins and seeing off the DSC Eagles this weekend. The Eagles look set to face a challenging second season in the top flight having been edged out 13-20 on home soil by Dubai Hurricanes in their season opener, a match that on paper they would have targeted for a victory. In the clash of last season’s West Asia and UAE Champions, Jebel Ali Dragons were winners over Dubai Exiles, only for the Dragons to be in turned down on home turf against a resurgent Harlequins by a surprising scoreline of 22-46. Early indications suggest this promises to be an intriguing season.

saracens vs tigers


The UAE Conference starts off split into two groups this year (read our season preview for more) and early standings offer a very different picture in each group. Group A, featuring Premiership 2s outfits has both Hurricanes and Dragons two from two, with Harlequins, Eagles and Exiles yet to record a competitive win. Meanwhile in Group B there is nothing to choose between the Dubai Tigers, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Dubai Sharks and Al Ain Amblers with all having registered one win apiece. Holders Tigers began their defence with a hard fought 27-17 win over Saracens.

amblers vs sharks


The UAE Community league also got underway this weekend and aside from Barrelhouse’s eye catching result, there were also big wins for Amblers 2s and Dragons 3s over Sharks 2s and Shaheen respectively. It is good to see the Shaheen back in action and despite a heavy opening defeat against last season’s beaten finalists, they will hope for better fortune in weeks to come. The tie of the round was played out at Zayed Sports City with reigning champions Harlequins 3s pushed all the way by RAK in recording a 31-26 win.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Yalla Rugby Sign New Partnership With Gulf Rugby Management

Alex johnson - Yalla Rugby Founder

Yalla Rugby are delighted to announce that we have been selected as the official media and results partner for Gulf Rugby for the 2018/19 season. Gulf Rugby Management is a new organisation that is part of Emirates Airline – responsible for managing all competitive Mens, Women’s, Schools and Mini & Youth competitions in the UAE.

Operating out of The Sevens Stadium the Gulf Rugby Management team have been looking at ways to manage the publication of results, choosing Yalla Rugby as the obvious choice to be the official media partner. Under the new partnership, Gulf Rugby Management and Yalla Rugby will be hoping to increase the already huge interest in rugby union here in the UAE.

Yalla Rugby will be first to publish all official match fixtures and results and league table standings for the season. Founder of Yalla Rugby, Alex Johnson said;

“I’m really looking forward to the season ahead. I think the additional exposure that Yalla Rugby and Gulf Rugby Management will bring will be great for rugby here in the Middle East.”


Ghaith Jalajel with Alex Johnson and Stephen McCafferty from Gulf Rugby Management

Ghaith Jalajel with Alex Johnson and Stephen McCafferty from Gulf Rugby Management

Jim Fitzsimons, Manager of Gulf Rugby Management said;

“It was clear from our early conversations with Alex that his commitment and dedication to providing a first class service on the reporting of results and coverage of UAE rugby matches was just what we wanted. We are delighted to be working with him to help get timely publication of results and fixtures, including all Mini & Youth fixtures’.

It is sure to be a busy season again for rugby in the UAE and the Gulf. For all the latest news and results don’t forget to follow Yalla Rugby and check in every Friday night for the first look at the weekend results and every Sunday for confirmed results and table standings.

Choosday Chat With UAE Referee Jaco de Wit


Jaco de Wit - UAE Rugby Referee

Referee Jaco de Wit talks Sushi, Golf and the Big C with us.


Age: 27
Born: Prince Albert, South Africa
Level: World Rugby Level 3

“Keeping up with play and his holiday diet… now that’s impressive!”

How’s life in Dubai?

Life is busy, but Dubai is such a great place and full of opportunities.

What’s the best thing about being a UAE referee?

The best thing is being part of improving UAE rugby as a whole and the Dubai 7s is always a special occasion for me.

Do you have any phobias?

Apparently nomophobia (being without my mobile).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I love playing golf and playing on Fifa.

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

Any international prop… let’s talk scrum time!!

Do you have any nicknames?

Yeah, I get Jakes a lot.

What’s your favourite type of food?

Bring me Salmon Sashimi… I could have Sushi everyday.

If you could be one of the other UAERF referees, who would it be and why?

Norman Drake, keeping up with play and his holiday diet… now that’s impressive!

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

I’d like to be successful in whatever I do and along the way hopefully inspire people to be the best that they can be.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m not too bad at hitting little white balls with an iron stick.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Caramel’s Saturday Brunch. Good wine and the food was not too bad!

What do you miss most about South Africa?

I really miss the farm that I grew up on and Karoo lamb chops.

Do you have any tattoos?

Not yet!

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Tiger Woods, he can tell me all about comebacks. Cristiano Ronaldo, he can share his knowledge of hard work and Jessica Alba, because you have to have some beauty at the table.

Cheers, Jaco. Jaco de Wit is a cancer survivor which unfortunately ended his playing days.

“I obviously had a love for rugby and picking up the whistle was the perfect way of being part of this amazing sport”.

Jaco is one of the UAE Rugby Referees and earlier this year he represented the UAE on the global stage at the Singapore 7s! If you would like to become a UAE rugby ref, then click the button below.

Your Gulf Rugby 2018/19 Season Preview

gulf rugby season preview 2018

2018/19 Gulf Rugby Season Preview

The start of the 2018/19 Gulf Rugby season is now upon us and with pre-season in full swing at most of the nation’s rugby clubs, it’s time to look ahead at the action in store for us and see how all of the domestic league competitions are shaping up. The summer has not been without its usual period of change as clubs come to terms with the usual spate of player arrivals and departures. Here’s what we know about how things will line up this season.

Jump Right In

UAE/West Asia Premiership

West Asia Premiership season 2018-19

UAE Premiership season 2018-19

Holders: Jebel Ali Dragons (West Asia) and Dubai Exiles (UAE)

Format: A straight league set up with all sides playing each other home and away over three rounds (Home, Away, Home). The champions of the West Asia Premiership will be decided between the top four teams after all league rounds are complete via playoff semi finals and final. Likewise, the top four UAE based outfits (discarding results against Bahrain) will have a semi final playoff to see who will play on finals day for the right to be crowned UAE Premiership Champions.

Ins and Outs: After a difficult season which saw them finish bottom of the pile with only one win, Abu Dhabi Saracens have decided to be relegated to the Conference league this year as they embark on a rebuilding phase.

UAE/West Asia Premiership Teams

Bahrain, Dragons, Eagles, Exiles, Harlequins Hurricanes

UAE Conference

UAE conference season preview 2018-19

Holders: Dubai Tigers

Format: Pay attention because things are about to get a little complicated in the second tier of Gulf rugby!

The ten UAE Conference sides have been split into two groups who will each play home and away fixtures during the first half of the season. Group A are formed of all UAE Premiership represented clubs and Group B are all other UAE rugby clubs. They will all fall under one league table this year with no split league as seen in previous years.

Part two of the season will see the sides face opposition from outside their group but only once. Points earned are added to their initial group totals. The season then culminates with the top two sides from each group entering the knockout stages with the Conference final scheduled for the end of March 2019.

UAE Conference Teams

Group A:
Harlequins 2s, Eagles 2s, Exiles 2s, Hurricanes 2s, Dragons 2s

Group B:
Amblers, Saracens, Knights, Sharks, Tigers

Ins and Outs: The Conference league was dealt a blow this week with the withdrawal of last season’s runners up and one of the UAE’s oldest rugby clubs, Sharjah Wanderers, citing lack of numbers. They will be replaced by the Dubai Eagles 2s who played their first season of Community rugby last year. Abu Dhabi Saracens 1s have dropped down from the UAE and will only field one team this season.

UAE Community

UAE Community season preview 2018-19

Holders: Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3s

Format: An initial league stage with each side playing each other once, aiming to secure a top two finish and a place at finals day where the champions will be decided.

Ins and Outs: Unsurprisingly for a league that fluctuated in size over the course of last season, the UAE Community rugby competition has seen its fair share of off-season activity. Barrelhouse, a club that is well established on the 7s circuit, make a welcome league debut whilst the Shaheen have also signalled an intent to return to the competition this year. Dubai Tigers’ expanding squad size sees them enter a 2s team for the first time. The Dubai Hurricanes will not field a 3rd team this year so will not participate in Community rugby. Disappointment comes in the shape of the Beaver Nomads, traditionally a team to beat at Community level, being forced to withdraw from this year’s competition.

UAE Community Teams

Amblers 2s, Barrelhouse 1s, Dragons 3s, Harlequins 3s, RAK 1s, Shaheen 1s, Sharks 2s, Tigers 2s

uae womens rugby season preview 2018

Womens Rugby

Holders: Dubai Eagles

Format: We’ll be doing a dedicated Womens Rugby article closer to their first set of fixtures (5th October), but to give you an idea of what to expect this season, there will be eight rounds of rugby where we’ll see Sevens rugby played at Harlequins, Hurricanes, Amblers, Saracens, Sharjah, Tigers and finally Eagles.

This season, there will be an invitational 15-a-side match held on finals day at The Sevens Stadium, alongside the other mens rugby Premiership, Conference and Community league finals which will be held on the 29th March 2019 which should bring the close to the season to an exciting climax this year with all levels featured on the final day.

uae mini youth rugby season preview 2018

Mini & Junior Rugby

This season we will hopefully see the Mini and Youth Rugby results and league tables featured for the first time on the website. We’re really looking forward to bringing you as much of the rugby action as possible here in the Middle East, so be sure to check back on a weekly basis.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Choosday Chat With Exiles Centre Alice Luckhurst

Alice Luckhurst Dubai exiles u18s gurls

Dubai Exiles U18’s Centre Alice Luckhurst talks travel, tongue skills and the All Black Ferns


Age: 16
Born: Dubai, UAE
Club: Dubai Exiles
Position: Centre
Height: 169cm

“They lifted our players onto their shoulders for photos, it was really cool.”

What’s been your proudest moment playing rugby in Dubai?

Winning every tournament in the season when I played touch U15’s rugby for the Dubai Exiles.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

In my spare time I like to see friends, go to the beach and do some Wakeboarding and hit the gym.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

When we trained with the Black Ferns (All Blacks Ladies 7s team) rugby squad before last years Dubai 7s, they lifted our players onto their shoulders for photos, it was really cool!

Do you have any phobias?

Crunching! I hate hearing people eat, especially crisps.

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

I’d love to be able to fly, so I could beat all the traffic!

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

It would be Sami Dronfield. She’s an all round amazing player. Skilful, fast powerful, strong and talented!

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

To graduate, get a degree and to travel the world!

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes, I can fold my tongue into 3. Most people curl their tongue at the front but I can do the sides as well!

Who does the cooking at home?

Mum and Dad usually but my brothers and I enjoy cooking too, especially sushi.

What do you miss most about England?

Family mainly, but I don’t miss that much as I was born here so I see Dubai as my home.

Who’s the best dancer in the Exiles team.

Sophie Millward, she’s got all the moves.

What are the best things about playing for the Exiles?

The best thing about being a member of the Exiles RFC is the social events that happen throughout the year and everyone gets on well with each other. It’s fun and not too serious.

Concussion Baseline Testing – WHY?

concussion management in rugby

Concussion In Young Rugby Players

Ok, so it’s the start of the new rugby season here in the UAE. That means bodies are ready for some hi impact cuddles and the inevitable knock to the head!

Concussion remains a condition that in many cases continues to go undetected. Join us on the 17th September at Dubai College for an important FREE educational talk on managing concussion in young players. This talk is a must-attend event for Parents, Coaches, First-Aiders or anyone involved in a sport where there is a risk of Concussion. Be sure to sign up early as seats are limited.

With a quick search on Google, the pros to why you should get a Baseline Test for Rugby makes for interesting reading. If the Baseline Test is done, it helps healthcare professionals make comparisons to your own Baseline to guide them through post injury management and safe return to sport.

concussion baseline testing

So, have you been affected by a concussion? Are you aware of the recovery process?

How about you come along to an education Event at Dubai College on Monday night 17 September from 18:00-20:00 and find out how you can get a baseline test. It will be split into two sessions, each 1 hour long.

Even if you attend just to have an enlightening conversation with everyone and ensure that all athletes are well prepared for a safe rugby season!

“The Wanderer’s (WON’T) Return”

Sharjah Wanderers withdraw from expat rugby conference league

Sharjah Wanderers Withdraw From Expat Conference Rugby

The 2015/16 UAE Conference winners, Sharjah Wanderers will not be playing Expat Conference rugby this season. In a statement made on social media by the rugby club, they have announced that their men’s 1st XV squad will not be putting a team together this season.

The ‘Wandies’ have had to withdraw from rugby this year. The only representing club of the Emirate of Sharjah has always been the team to beat in the Conference league. Winners of the title in 2015/16, semi finalists in 2016/17 and finalists in 2017/18, just missing out to a sudden death try against the Dubai Tigers on finals day down at Dubai Sports City. Wanderers Chairman, Shane Breen pointed to a decline in player numbers with the squad no longer able to compete at the level required for Conference rugby. Breen said,

“At the end of last season we lost over half of our squad, mostly due to guys relocating or taking some time away from rugby.”

Sharjah Wanderers champions 2015

The Wanderers are not alone in their struggle this pre season as we have also witnessed the likes of Saracens dropping from the Premiership and the Beaver Nomads withdrawing from Community level rugby.

“This definitely isn’t the last you’ll see of the Wandies men’s team who’ll still be competing in the Dubai Sevens and other social competitions throughout the year.”

They have assured us though that they will be back next season (2019/20) and will be participating in this years Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens competition which will be held at The Sevens Stadium on the 29th November.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish the Wanderers all the best in their comeback and feel they will be a miss in local rugby this year.

Choosday Chat With Sharks Hooker Armel van Erck

Dubai Sharks hooker Armel van Erck

Dubai Sharks hooker Armel van Erck talks mind reading, broken noses and secret tattoos


Age: 40
Born: Brussels, Belgium
Club: Dubai Sharks
Position: Hooker
Height: 174cm
Weight: 98kg

“He tried to tackle a bloke with his nose, which ended up getting broken.”

Do you have any nicknames?

I have many… Shorty, Fatty, and Belgie seem to be the most frequent ones used in the changing room!

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Coaching kids’ rugby, cycling, and spending time with my boy, which is the best thing in the world.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

A few years ago, our fullback – Robbo, tried to tackle a bloke with his nose, which ended up getting broken in the process. There is even a picture showing him in mid air with only his nose touching the guy’s heel. [YR – Look what we found!]

broken nose tackle dubai sharks

Do you have any phobias?

I have an irrepressible fear of heights, which is going to make many people chuckle…

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

I’d love to be able to read people’s minds!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can cook up a pretty good dinner!

Who has the worst dress sense at the Dubai Sharks?

Definitely Philip Smurthwaite (Smurf).

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

Probably Dan Griffiths, just to see how life is as a short, fat, angry bloke.

Who does the cooking at home?

Easy. Me. I’m the best at cooking in the house.

What do you miss most about Belgium

The forests and the lakes around where I live, the incredible Belgian food, and obviously, my family.

Do you have any tattoos?

Yes. Enough said. [YR – Must be the French flag!!]

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Barack Obama, Sandra Bullock and Sebastian Chabal.

How’s life in Dubai?

Life in Dubai is great! Rugby plays a big part in making life so good here! I’ve made lots of great friendships over the past 13 years that I’ve spent here too.

Womens Rugby Union Soaring In Popularity

womens rugby al ain amblers

Womens Rugby Union in Al Ain And The Rest Of The UAE Soaring In Popularity

Inspired by their favourite international players, ladies rugby is soaring in popularity in the UAE

One team leading the charge are Al Ain Amblers Ladies, who stormed to a B League title in early March following an emphatic win over Dubai Eagles Ladies and now enter the new season with a brand new sponsorship deal from Audi UAE.

“We had a great last season with some fantastic results,” says their coach, Martha Dyer, “We have a great set of girls who can’t wait to make our mark on the new season and proud that Audi are supporting them.”

Women’s rugby is one of Al Ain Rugby Club’s fastest-growing sports, with over 30 women starting the season this year, twice as many as in 2016 and a thriving girls’ mini/youth rugby section.

Vice Chair for the Amblers and seasoned player – Emma Tapuai said: “One of rugby’s attractions is that it’s something new that enables women to break a traditionally patriarchal stereotype, as well as benefiting physically, mentally and socially at the same time.”

The Amblers ladies wishes the best of luck to all the women’s rugby teams participating in the Women’s Gulf Leagues this season and looks forward to another year of promoting women’s rugby in the UAE.

Article By: Hannah Hall

Choosday Chat With Canes Hooker Max Physick

Max Physick Dubai hurricanes hooker

Dubai Hurricanes hooker Max Physick talks teleportation, life on Mars and budgy smugglers


Age: 27
Born: Bangor, North Wales
Club: Dubai Hurricanes
Position: Hooker/Flanker
Height: 178cm
Weight: 90kg

“No guilty pleasures, if they’re not guilty.”

Do you have any nicknames?

Not really one specifically but I do get called a few different things like; Maximus, Maxibon, Ant McPartlin.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Usually picking things up and putting them down again, though I do like to get out skating and paddle boarding.

Do you have any phobias?

Looking at my Emirates NBD messages after a session.

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

Teleportation for sure. Instant global travel and swift Barasti Beach Bar exits.

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

Harry Hughes because he’s gas…🙄

What’s your guilty pleasure?

No guilty pleasures, if they’re not guilty.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Opening a bottle with pretty much anything.

Who’s the best dancer in the Canes squad?

Josh Elliott. The man’s a weapon on the dance floor.

Who’s in charge of the team music?

Weissenborn usually. It could probably do with a shift change though!

Who’s the tightest?

Tightest? Definitely not Liam Stead, get him drunk and he’ll pay for your night for you. Cheers pal.

What are the best things about the being part of the Dubai Hurricanes?

They’re a sound group of lads to be around, but most important of all…..custom budgy smugglers.

How’s life in Dubai?

Dubai’s great. It has so much to offer in such a beautiful part of the world. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here in the UAE so far. The only downside I would have to say, is living on the surface of Mars for 6 months of the year.

More About The Physick

With a surname that you couldn’t have made up with the profession he’s in, Max is a personal trainer at Embody Fitness, Dubai. He sometimes graces the web pages of Yalla Rugby with his training articles guiding us in the right direction to the sacred six pack journey that we all seek. You can often see him taking dodgy photos of his heath food too. Thanks Max!

Wihan Grobler Appointed New Head Coach of Amblers

Wihan Grobler Al Ain Amblers Rugby Head Coach

Ambler’s Head Coach – Grobler Excited Season Ahead

The Al Ain Amblers have a new head coach in South African expat – Wihan Grobler. The fitness instructor from Cape Town is very excited about the 2018-2019 season.

“At Al Ain Amblers, it’s not just a game, we’re brothers coming together to prepare”.

Grobler has been involved in coaching and physical conditioning for years in his hometown and played an active role for the Amblers in the Conference League last year after moving to the UAE.

“The boys seemed to buy into his plans and our first week of training showed their keenness to learn”

Director of Rugby at the Amblers, Rocco De Bruyn said; “I am very pleased and happy with his vision and positivity for the season ahead. The boys seemed to buy into his plans and our first week of training showed their keenness to learn and apply his plan of action. Supporting Grobler will be Sean Emmett, George Taunga and Jakes Terblanche who will form the rest of the men’s rugby coaching panel at the club.

The Amblers finished in the Bottom 4 of the UAE Conference League last season and went on to win the B5 final against Jebel Ali Dragons, beating them 24 points to 16. It was only at the beginning of the 2017/18 season that they took the decision to withdraw their 1st XV from UAE Premiership rugby, which forced them to regroup and refocus in the Conference league. In a very similar move to that of the Amblers, the Abu Dhabi Saracens were recently forced to withdraw their 1st XV from top flight expat rugby.

UAE Expat Rugby Player Transfers Over The Summer

uae rugby club transfers summer 2018

Over the summer there have been some player movements from various clubs. Below is the list of who’s in and who’s out. Current UAE Expat Rugby Conference winners Dubai Tigers appear to have scooped the majority of the summer transfers with 6 newcomers, followed by the Dubai Eagles who will be looking to bolster their squad for their second season of UAE Rugby following their debut last season finishing 5th place in the UAE Premiership. The most notable figures are the Jebel Ali Dragons who have had 5 players leave over the summer. The UAERF summer transfer window is from 1st June – 31st July but has had a temporary extension until 15th August.

Transfers By Clubs

Rugby ClubPlayers OutPlayers In

UAE Summer Transfers 2018

Alan ShortDubai HurricanesDubai Eagles
Arnuad TachiBeaver NomadsDubai Tigers
Bradley StuartJebel Ali DragonsDubai Tigers
Caleb AndersonDubai HurricanesDubai Eagles
Charl LippertAl Ain AmblersDubai Exiles
Daniel MainDubai EaglesDubai Tigers
Epeli DavetousluJebel Ali DragonsAbu Dhabi Harlequins
Fabian RivallandDubai ExilesDubai Tigers
Gregory DominiqueDubai ExilesDubai Tigers
Isaac PorterSharjah WanderersDubai Eagles
James MulhairDubai HurricanesDubai Eagles
Josue Essome MakongoJebel Ali DragonsDubai Exiles
Karl KcGowanBeaver NomadsDubai Tigers
Moses SoitaAbu Dhabi HarlequinsAl Ain Amblers
Phillip Le RouxDubai HurricanesDubai Exiles
Pio ImmaJebel Ali DragonsDubai Hurricanes
Sakiusa NaisuJebel Ali DragonsDubai Hurricanes

Asian Games 2018 – All Emirati UAE National Sevens Squad

UAE national sevens asian games 2018

Apollo Perelini’s UAE 7’s squad set off this morning to compete in the Asian Games competition also known as Jakarta-Palembang 2018, which is a pan-Asian multi-sport event being held from 18 August to 2 September 2018 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang which is hosting the Games for the first time since 1962.

The all Emirati squad will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the National Sevens squad that made their rugby sevens debut at the Queenstown Stadium in Singapore for the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2018 which saw the expat featured squad beat the two best sides at the tournament (apart from themselves) – the hosts and Thailand – to become champions in the second tier of sevens.

The Asian games will be kicking off on the 30th August where Perelini’s squad will hopefully progress to the knockout stages of the competition. They will be competing their pool games against the likes of Korea, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and will be looking to get their first game off to a good start against a strong Sri Lanka squad.

Asian Games 2018 – UAE National Sevens Squad

  • Saeed Ibrahim Abdulla Saad
  • Ahmed Mohammed Alareefi
  • Majid Mohammed Albalooshi
  • Walid Salem Albalooshi
  • Younes Ahmed Alblooshi
  • Saeed Abdulla Alkatheeri
  • Mohammed Khalifa Almarar
  • Rashed Saqer Almarzooqi
  • Hassan Ali Alnoobi
  • Mohammed Sulaiman Alnuaimi
  • Ali Matar Alsereidi
  • Mohamed Saeed Alshamsi
  • Ahmad Moosa Alshehi
  • Hamad Rashed Alshkeili
  • Yousuf Lashkri Mohammad
  • Abdalla Rabee Rabee Salmin

Asian Games Pool C Rugby Sevens Fixtures For UAE

  • Sri Lanka vs UAE
  • UAE vs Afghanistan
  • Korea vs UAE

Favourites to win the Rugby Sevens at the Asian Games 2018 will be Japan who will be looking to impress before the Nations 15’s Rugby Union side compete in next years 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Saracens Withdraw From UAE Premiership Rugby

Saracens withdraw from UAE Premiership

In a month that has already witnessed one casualty for the new 2018/19 rugby season with Beaver Nomads withdrawal from competitive rugby, it now appears that the Abu Dhabi Saracens rugby club will be withdrawing from Premiership rugby for the forthcoming UAE rugby season.

After what looked like a promising pre season start to their 2018/19 rugby campaign, the Abu Dhabi based club will only field one team this coming season. The 2014/15 Gulf Champions will only be entering this years’ UAE Expat Conference League citing the current economic climate within the UAE and a drop in player numbers as a deciding factor. In a statement received from the Saracens, the Committee have decided to endorse a plan to continue rebuilding their foundations. This plan revolves around providing the best opportunities for the players to enjoy their rugby, to still compete at a good level and see more successes from their hard work.

“It serves us no long term gain to extend beyond the absolute limits of our means.”

Director of Rugby Peter Henderson stated at the committee meeting, “While we launched an unprecedented pre-season campaign for the players’ strength and conditioning as well as a media campaign, we must not lose sight of our goals as a rugby club and the values we believe in. It serves us no long term gain to extend beyond the absolute limits of our means. The stresses to the players who would be required to step up a grade should injury or unavailability of other players dictate, as well as the financial cost to the club to travel to the West Asia rugby matches needed to be considered. Entering one team into the Conference League offers us unprecedented depth in our ranks, does not extend our Club finances beyond our means, and gives the players real expectations of success on the pitch. We need to be responsible, realistic and maintain the passion every Sarries player and supporter deserves.”

“We are revitalised as never before”

“We are revitalised as never before”, added Director of Rugby Peter Henderson. “The knocks have not stopped coming this season either. The club and committee has been pushed already these recent weeks but we’ve pulled through and as united as ever. Rugby Clubs exist for Rugby Players. It is the players who Saracens will always support to the best of our ability and do whatever we can to give them the opportunity for success on and off the pitch”.

As well as Senior Mens rugby, Saracens have a growing and strengthening Ladies rugby team. In the regular season they train every Monday and Wednesday nights from 19:00 until 20:30. Any interested players or social members can contact the Saracens for more information.

Choosday Chat With UAE Referee Tony Duminy

Tony Duminy UAE rugby referee

UAE Referee Tony Duminy talks nicknames, braais and condensed milk


Age: 37
Born: Uitenhage, South Africa
Level: World Rugby Level 3, Asia Rugby B-Panel & #1 on UAE Premiership Panel.

“I quickly apologised and changed it to a yellow card”

Do you have any nicknames?

I’ve obtained quite a few over the years. You can always tell where someone knows me from simply by which nickname they’re using: TD, TonyD, Smiley, T-Dog, T-Bone and Pastor.

What are your bugbears?

I dislike rude people (and idiots!).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Mostly I get up to entertaining my daughter, but I enjoy playing golf, fishing and cooking up a good braai! (YR: For those not in the know, braai or braaivleis is South African for a picnic or barbecue where meat is grilled over an open fire)

Tony Duminy

What’s been the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

It’s a long list really, but it ranges from players’ expressions when they’ve been stitched up by a team-mate when they’ve been given a hospital pass to the wry smile they give me when they realise they’ve been caught out “bending the laws”, but last year… a premiership fly half made his way to the line out where he wanted to query/complain to the ref (who he knew rather well). This started to create a scene, so the ref simply asked him “are you here to lift?” It broke the ice, everyone laughed and they got on with the game. (YR: Brilliant!)

Whats been your most embarrassing moment during a game?

Once I mistakenly pulled out the red card for repeated infringements, not understanding why the player was so distraught, until the opposition captain said “Reds a bit harsh Mr Ref”. Realising my mistake, I quickly apologised and changed it to a yellow card.

If you could be one of the other UAE Refs, who would it be?

Norman Drake, He’s forever on holiday!

What would you like to achieve outside of refereeing rugby matches?

I’d like to be a good husband and father.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Condense Milk or Caramel Treat. (YR: No strawberries???)

Do you have any hidden talents?

I used to play the guitar pretty well.

What do you miss most about South Africa?

Phuza Thursday, College (schoolboy) rugby derby days, the post match fines and meetings at Buffs and Old Selbonians.

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

Teleportation, I spend so much time driving at the moment that it would make life a lot easier if I could just click my fingers and be where I needed to be in an instant, instead of just being stuck in the Dubai traffic.

Who has the worst Dress sense out of the refs?

Oh I’d be the last one to judge on that!

Who do you like to listen to, to get you ready for a big match?

Most commonly Coldplay and Tiësto but I like to change it up a lot.

Beavers Withdraw From Community League Rugby

Beavers Rugby Dubai

Beaver Nomads Withdraw From Community League

For the second consecutive season, we will be saying farewell to a UAE rugby club. A year to the day, the Dubai Wasps rugby club called it a day and now it’s the unfortunate turn for the Beaver Nomads who will be ending their chapter of competitive rugby.

Rugby clubs are expensive business and rarely turnover a profit. It is the pure love of the sport that we share that keeps teams turning up each week.

Unfortunately for the Beavers, who have been known for their sociable antics around Dubai, have seen key players depart the region for their respective countries. Not only that, but the club have lost their major sponsors in MMI and Claw BBQ, which has now forced the club into the red and unable to meet the Trade License qualifications of playing competitive Community rugby required by the UAERF.

Harry Lonergan Beaver Nomads Rugby Club Dubai

It most certainly doesn’t mean it’s the end of the Beavers. We will be entering a team into both the Dubai Rugby Sevens and the Eden Park 7’s. The Beavers have prided themselves on being a non-profit set up, allowing us to keep membership affordable. It’s unfortunate that the enforcement of a costly trade license requirement means we are unable to continue.

says club Chairman Harry Lonergan. He also added, “We are committed to re joining for the 2019/20 season and would like to wish both the league management and other teams good luck for the season ahead.”

It was the only back in 2015/16 that the Beaver Nomads won the inarguable UAE Community League title and have finished close 3rd place in the following seasons. There is no doubt, that the Beavers have been a force to be reckoned with in the 15’s game and will still be a team to keep an eye on during the 7’s season. We wish them all the best and hope to see them again in the domestic league in the future.

Choosday Chat With Quins Fly Half Luke Stevenson

Luke Stevenson Harlequins rugby player

Abu Dhabi Harlequins fly half Luke Stevenson talks real ales, Vince McMahon and down time.


Age: 27
Born: Chester, United Kingdom
Club: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Position: Fly Half
Height: 182cm
Weight: 90kg
UAE 15’s Caps: 3
UAE 7’s Caps: 5

“He thinks he’s Brad Pitt but wears a suit like Vince McMahon”

Who do you like to listen to to get you ready for a big match?

Whatever Murray Reason pulls out the bag, but if he’s not there then either some Oasis or Stereophonics.

What do you miss most about the UK?

I really miss the simple stuff like real ale and proper pubs… and a decent club house!

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

It would have to be Phil Abraham, for having the most seductive voice on the continent.

Who has the worst Dress sense?

Definitely Andrew Powell (Kiwi), he thinks he’s Brad Pitt but wears a suit like Vince McMahon (below) from back in the 90’s.

Vince McMahon

Do you have any hidden talents?

None :(

Do you have any phobias?

Heights, I’m not a fan. I did a bungee jump when I was in New Zealand and have never looked so pathetic.

Who are the jokers at the Harlequins?

Malcolm Greenslade, when he’s not searching eBay for a new Fishing Rod. he turns up occasionally, but when he does he’s painfully good value.

Do you have any nicknames?

None that I know of.

Which team-mate would you most definitely not like to be stranded in the desert with?

Jonathan Stannard – It’s just too painful to see him struggle with no signal for Tinder.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Phil Abraham’s voice.

What’s been the most embarrassing moment on the rugby pitch?

There isn’t one particular moment that I can think of but pretty much anytime I miss an ‘easy’ kick (unfortunately there’s been a few).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I’m trying to chop my way around the local golf course more at the moment, it’s not going well.

Arabian Knights Charge Into 2018/19 UAE Rugby Season

Arabian Knights RFC training at Fitrepublik Dubai

While players across the UAE start their pre-season conditioning, the work behind the scenes for the new season preparations begins much earlier for club management. Local Dubai side, the Arabian Knights RFC leadership team have been hard at work throughout the offseason to showcase the club’s strength in what will be it’s 10th Anniversary year. Founded in 2008, the club is 600 members strong and offers rugby coaching for kids from the age of 5 to over senior rugby at 35+.

After a season of disruption to the seniors’ setup last year, it is the Men’s rugby teams that has experienced a revival during the offseason in preparation for a competitive charge into 2018/19. Welcoming Ric Lambert to the 1st team coaching setup, concluding an agreement with Sports City-based FitRepublik, and appointing a Club Captain to strengthen the team’s leadership and infrastructure, the team is setting their sights firmly to the top half of the Conference table this coming season.

“Having someone of Ric’s experience on board has already been telling in our preparations”

“Having someone of Ric’s experience on board has already been telling in our preparations,” says chairperson, Louise Palmer. “Under the guidance of coaches Wayne Terry and now Ric, we have a core team of young, exciting talent and looking to build on the season ahead. We can’t wait to get going.”

While cardio work for the players began back in June, a sea of distinctive orange vests descended on Sports City’s FitRepublik for their first group session of strength and conditioning on Monday night, with the players taking full advantage of the club’s investment in making available world class facilities and trainers to their members and newcomers.

Arabian Knights 1st vs Dubai Hurricanes 2nd

“In the club’s 10th year, we’re all set to do the club and ourselves proud,” says Charlie Willis, team captain and Number 8. “While clubs endure player turnover every year, mostly to relocation, the interest from fresh blood for the 2018/19 season has been very encouraging,” he added.

The Arabian Knights Mens and Vets teams are based at Kings School Al Barsha during the regular season. For preseason, they gather every Friday morning at 07:30 for an open beach session at Kite Beach, or twice a week at FitRepublik for the remainder of August.

Expat Rugby Clubs In Dubai – Best Advice For Finding One

4 tips to find UAE expat Rugby Clubs In Dubai

So you’re an Expat ready to find a local rugby club in Dubai, or other Emirates of the UAE?

Here at Yalla Rugby we know first hand about finding a rugby club in Dubai. Becoming an expat and moving abroad to a foreign land can at first be a pretty daunting experience. You’re choosing to start a new life in a country unfamiliar to you, and whilst extremely rewarding, it can take a while to settle in and find your feet.

Once you are settled however, it’s then time for you to find a sense of normality and to start living your life the way you want it to be lived. Rugby for example, is a universally spoken language that people all across the globe can understand. Playing rugby in Dubai not only gives you some beneficial exercise, it’s also challenging, and it teaches you discipline and various other life skills in the process.

UAE Expat Rugby

If you’re new to expat life in Dubai, enjoying living in the fantastic climes of the United Arab Emirates, you’ll know right away that rugby clubs in UAE are spread out everywhere, as it’s an incredibly popular sport in this part of the world. If you yourself happen to be an avid rugby fan, looking to play expat rugby in Dubai, you’ll need to be on the lookout for a club to play for. Finding a rugby club in an unfamiliar part of the world however, can be tricky, which is why we’ve compiled this handy article on how to find the ideal rugby team and club to support, so you can get those rugby boots back on!

Dubai expat Rugby Clubs UAE

Finding An Expat Rugby Club In Dubai

The UAE Rugby Federation is the national governing body here in the United Arab Emirates. There are many different rugby clubs in Dubai, as well as numerous rugby teams and organisations with deep-rooted connections to the rugby world, so the clubs and teams are certainly out there, you just need to know how to find them. Check out our list of expat rugby clubs for a look at a list of local UAE rugby clubs. Looking at lists of this nature is ideal as we’ll give you a brief history of each club and the all important contact details for you to get in touch with to enquire about joining.

uae rugby clubs infographic 2016 - 2017


What Should I Expect When Playing Rugby In The UAE?

If you’ve moved to the UAE from a much cooler part of the world, one of the first things that you will immediately notice is just how incredibly hot it is in the United Arab Emirates. For that reason, before you commit to any Dubai rugby club or team, first you will need to know what to expect. For example, playing rugby matches, and training for rugby, outdoors in intense heat is not to be taken lightly. Playing rugby and training in extreme heat is very difficult and very taxing, so it’s vital that you stay well hydrated at all times. Not only will you have to contend with the physical challenges thrown at you on the rugby pitch, you also have the burning hot sun to deal with. Even evening games are sometimes very hot and sweaty. As well as that, there is the language barrier to contend with.

Ask Around For Advice

Another great tip for anybody looking to play UAE Expat rugby in Dubai, is to ask around for any recommendations/suggestions on clubs that may be looking for new players. Gyms are great places to begin your search as there is a big bodybuilding culture in the UAE, and if there’s one thing that rugby players are known for, it’s their huge size, strength, and their love of pumping iron in preparation of games.

So with that new knowledge in mind, we wish you the best of luck when choosing a rugby club in Dubai and the UAE!!!

UAE National Sevens Squad On Route To Asia Rugby 7s Debut Singapore

UAE 7s players training for the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2018

This weekend the UAE National Sevens squad make their rugby sevens debut at the Queenstown Stadium in Singapore for the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2018 which sees thirteen teams fight it out for the opportunity to gain promotion to the Asia Rugby Sevens Series in 2019.

In their Pool B, the UAE Sevens Squad will face up against Jordon, Nepal and Indonesia.

Congratulations to all selected (see full squad list below). All matches will be streamed live on the Asia Rugby Facebook page.

Niko Volavola representing the Yalla Rugby select 2018

A special mention goes out to Niko VolaVola, who plays for the Jebel Ali Dragons and also featured in our Yalla Rugby Select squad for the Barrelhouse 10s tournament which took place early in the year.

UAE National Sevens Squad Selection 2018

  1. Andrew Powell
  2. Emosi Vecanua
  3. Hassan Al Noobi
  4. Jaen Botes
  5. Kinivilame Natuna
  6. Luke Stevenson
  7. Niko VolaVola
  8. Saeed Al Maheiri
  9. Sean Carey
  10. Sirilo Laladidi
  11. Vito Tuivione
  12. Walid Al Balooshi

UAE National 7s Fixture List For The Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2018

  • UAE vs Nepal (Kick off at UAE time 06:28 on 4th August)
  • UAE vs Indonesia (Kick off at UAE time 09:24 on 4th August)
  • UAE vs Jordan (Kick off at UAE time 12:42 on 4th August)