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winners of Dubai rugby sevens 2019

So thats the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens over with for another year

The 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens were taken to a whole new level with the Emirates A380 Airbus flying over The Sevens Stadium, not once but twice, giving spectators a beautiful and close view of the plane! One of the biggest events of the weekend was of course, the performance of international pop-singer Kylie Minogue in concert with her fans singing and dancing on pitch 2 and in the Rugby Village along with a Freddy Mercury tribute artist, Police band and cheerleaders performed during the breaks and entertained the crowds.

The winning teams (listed below) will certainly remember this years sevens tournament, with an impressive total of 96 Gulf teams competing in seven different tournaments over the three day event at The Sevens Stadium, we bring you up to date with who’s won what and who gets bragging rights for the next twelve months!

Gulf Mens League


Gulf Mens League Winners 2019

Gulf Mens League Winners 2019

Trophy Winners – Dubai Hurricanes

Gulf Women

Gulf Women Trophy Winners 2019

Gulf Women Trophy Winners 2019

Trophy Winners – Dubai Hurricanes


Gulf Women Plate Winners 2019

Gulf Women Plate Winners 2019

Plate Winners – Al Ain Amblers

Gulf Mens Open

gulf mens open trophy winners 2019

Gulf Mens Open Trophy Winners 2019

Trophy Winners – Sri Lions


Gulf Mens Open Plate Winners 2019

Gulf Mens Open Plate Winners 2019

Plate Winners – Multiplex Bulls

Gulf Mens Social

gulf mens social trophy winners 2019

Gulf Mens Social Trophy Winners 2019

Trophy Winners – Dubai Celts


Gulf Mens Social Plate Winners 2019

Gulf Mens Social Plate Winners 2019

Plate Winners – Dubai Lankans

Gulf Vets

Gulf Vets Trophy Winners 2019

Gulf Vets Trophy Winners 2019

Trophy Winners – Jebel Ali Dragons


Gulf Vets Plate Winners 2019

Gulf Vets Plate Winners 2019

Plate Winners – Abu Dhabi French EFR

Gulf Under 19 Girls

Gulf Under 19 Girls Trophy-winners-2019

Gulf Under 19 Girls Trophy-winners-2019

Trophy Winners – Dubai Exiles

Gulf Under 19 Boys

Gulf Under 19 Boys Trophy Winners 2019

Gulf Under 19 Boys Trophy Winners 2019

Trophy Winners – Dubai College


Gulf Under 19 Boys Plate Winners 2019

Gulf Under 19 Boys Plate Winners 2019

Plate Winners – Abu Dhabi Harlequins

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Dubai Rugby Sevens Gulf Rugby Guide 2019

Here’s your Gulf Rugby guide to the 2019 Dubai Rugby Sevens, which kicks off this coming Thursday 5th December

When the summer heat has dissipated, the Christmas songs are blasting and Toffee Nut Lattes are being served, you know it’s that special time of year again – the Dubai Rugby Sevens weekend is upon us!

Celebrating its 50th Year, the Dubai Rugby 7’s 2019 will no doubt be a huge spectacle. A reduction of rugby teams this year however, will be noticeable as Pitch 2 rolls out the red carpet to make way for Pop Queen – Kylie Minogue. As ever, we’ll stay focussed on the domestic rugby and provide you with all you need to know about what’s happening in the main Gulf Competitions for 2019:

Dubai Hurricanes - Gulf Mens Champions

Dubai Hurricanes – Gulf Mens Champions

Gulf Men’s League

The main tournament for domestic rugby followers, featuring the familiar names from the West Asia Premiership and won last year by tournament underdogs – Dubai Hurricanes when they beat Abu Dhabi Harlequins for first Dubai 7s title in over a decade. As with the nature of the Dubai7s, it’s always a tough call to predict a rugby club winning this tournament as it’s always so open. Any team could win this on the day! With the promotion of the Dubai Tigers up to the Premiership, they will feature in this years Gulf Mens League competition for the first time, but will also field a side in both Pool A and Pool B.

The teams 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 12:44pm in front of the main crowd on Pitch 1.

Pool A: Dubai Hurricanes, Bahrain RFC, Dubai Exiles, Dubai Tigers 2
Pool B: Jebel Ali Dragons, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Dubai KnightsEagles, Dubai Tigers 1

Gulf Womens Champions 2018 - Dubai Eagles

Gulf Womens Champions 2018 – Dubai Eagles

Gulf Women

Over the past three years, the women’s rugby game in both UAE and the wider region has grown emphatically. Previous champions DSC Eagles (now known as Dubai KnightsEagles) have won the tournament in the 2017 and 2018 competitions and the Dubai Hurricanes won the inaugural trophy back in 2016.  Of late in the domestic Sevens Series league, both clubs have been the dominant force in the women’s game and should prove to be a mouth watering fixture should they meet in the knockout stages of the competition, that is, unless one of the ever competitive teams below conjure up a surprise defeat to either side.

The teams are split in to four pools, the top two in each proceeding to the Trophy knockout stages and the bottom two entering the Plate. Womens Finals take place on Saturday with the Trophy to be contested at 16:20 on Pitch 2.

Pool A: Dubai KnightsEagles, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 1, Emirates Firebirds Pink, MusCATs
Pool B: Al Ain Amblers, AUC Wolves, Emirates Firebirds Blue, Amman Citadel
Pool C: Dubai Hurricanes, Sharjah Wanderers, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2
Pool D: Transforma Panthers, RAK Rides, Kuwait Scorpions, Dubai Tigers RFC

Gulf Mens Open winners 2018 - Roberts Constructions

Gulf Mens Open winners 2018 – Roberts Constructions

Gulf Men’s Open

A colourful mixture of sides from across West Asia will be making the trip to Dubai with 18 teams in total playing in four Pools that make up the Gulf mens Open this year. Last year won by Roberts Constructions, in a thriller against Sharjah Wanderers, just edging them to victory with a 15-12 win.

The pool stages once again spread across both days with two rounds on Thursday and a single round on Friday with knockout stages culminating 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. The Trophy final is scheduled for 15:40 on Pitch 2, immediately following the Plate which will be held on Pitch 6.

Pool A: Roberts Constructions, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2nd XV, Saudi Rugby, Sri Lions
Pool B: Abu Dhabi Saracens, Amman Citadel, Multiplex Bulls, Muscat RFC
Pool C: Al Ain Amblers, Ceylon Warriors, Riyadh Falcons, Dubai Sharks
Pool D: Kuwait Scorpions, Jebel Ali Dragons 2nd XV, Bahrain Firbolgs, UAE Shaheen

Dubai Celts - Gulf Mens Social Winners 2018

Dubai Celts – Gulf Mens Social Winners 2018

Gulf Men’s Social

Barrelhouse, Harlequins 3rd XV and RAK Rugby, all level on points in the domestic Division 2 league will be looking to use their recent good form in the fifteens game to their advantage in the Sevens game. Last year it was RAK Rugby who made it to the final, just pipping Barrelhouse in the quarters to unfortunately succumb to a strong Dubai Celts side 24-15 on a packed out Pitch 2.

Pool A: Dubai Celts, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3rd XV, Ceylon, Jazan Nomads
Pool B: Rak Rugby, Dubai Lankans, Dhofar Nomads, AUC Wolves 2
Pool C: Mediclinic Barrelhouse Warriors, Red Sea Rugby, PDO Pirates, The Buss Pirates
Pool D: Emirates Flying Muppets, AUC Wolves 1, DAK Demons, SAFA Community School

Jebel Ali Dragons - Gulf Vets Winners 2018

Jebel Ali Dragons – Gulf Vets Winners 2018

Gulf Vets

The 10’s tournament focuses on over 35’s (veterans of rugby). Last year the Jebel Ali Dragons Vets lifted the Trophy for the second consecutive year as they scorched a 22-7 victory over Joining Jacks. This year sees sixteen teams (reduced from twenty three), battle out Pool rounds before being placed into Trophy and Plate knockout tournaments. Will the Dragons be on the hunt to make it three in a row for the Gulf Vets Trophy? The following teams will be looking to stop that from happening:

Pool A: Jebel Ali Dragons Vets, Ceylon Warriors, Riyadh Scorpions, Abu Dhabi French EFR
Pool B: Joining Jack, Rocktape Barrelhouse Vandals, Sharjah Wanderers, Bahrain Golden Oldies
Pool C: Musaffah Billy Goats, Abu Dhabi Harlequins Vets, Daddy Canes, Khobar Eagles
Pool D: Al Ain Amblers Vets, Dubai Hurricanes, Warrior Frogs, Dubai Sharks

Dubai Exiles - U19 Girls Winners 2018

Dubai Exiles – U19 Girls Winners 2018

Gulf Girls Under 19’s

In the Gulf U19 Girls competition, the previous two years have been dominated by the Dubai Exiles. They also made it to the final of the 2016 competition only to lose to a strong BSAK side. Last year the Exiles put an average of 35 points on each opposition and only conceded a total of 17 points throughout the whole weekend so will certainly be going into this year as one of the favorites.

Pool A: Dubai Exiles, Abu Dhabi French EFR, Al Ain Amblers, Al Maha
Pool B: Dubai KnightsEagles, British School Al Khubairat, Dubai English Speaking College, Dubai Hurricanes

Dubai College - U19 boys 2018 winners

Dubai College – U19 boys 2018 winners

Gulf Boys Under 19’s

The dominant Under 19 Youth Rugby Team to beat over the past two years at the Dubai Rugby Sevens has been Dubai College. In the 2018 Gulf Boys competition, the final was played out between a Dubai Collage A and B side as they saw off rivals BSAK and DESC to guarantee silverware for the local Dubai School based next to Al Sufouh. Always a superb showcase of up and coming talent from the Gulf region, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to watch some of the future stars of World Rugby cut their teeth in at the ceiling level of grass roots rugby.

In similar fashion to the mens rugby, there will be four Pools leading to Trophy and a Plate knockout stages. Below are the how the preliminary pool rounds will be decided:

Pool A: Dubai College, Deira International School, Al Ain Amblers, Warriors
Pool B: Dubai English Speaking College, Repton Royals, Jumeirah College, GEMS World Academy Dubai
Pool C: British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Dubai Hurricanes, Al Yasimina Academy
Pool D: Dubai Exiles, Jumeirah English Speaking School Blues, The English College, Bahrain Colts

Oliver Johnson Choosday Chat

Oliver Johnson – UAE National Rugby player

We have a Choosday Chat with Jebel Ali Dragons Centre, Oliver Johnson

FACT FILE

Age: 29
Born: Winchester, England
Club: Dragons Rugby Club
Position: Centre
Height: 188cm
Weight: 99.5kg

“I used to be able to play ‘Coronation Street’ on the Saxophone”

Do you have any nicknames?

I get called OJ a lot.

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

I went to a school that was very rugby orientated and on top of that, my dad also had a big influence on me, getting me out of bed every Sunday morning and driving me to training for a local club.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I like to either be playing sport, going to the gym, getting a good coffee in me, or being flat out on the sofa watching a movie!

Do you have any phobias?

No, but watching ‘Flight’ whilst on a trip back to UK wasn’t a good idea.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Probably a comedian…. Ricky Gervais, Peter Kay or Joe Rogan.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

I always wanted to check off a triathlon and dare I say it… an iron man. However to date, most I have swam is two lengths of my buildings pool, the most I have ridden is one loop of Al Qudra cycle track and the most I have ran is a half marathon… let alone doing them back to back!

If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

Some kind of ball for entertainment and a guitar. I don’t know how to play, but a good place to learn!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I used to be able to play ‘Coronation Street’ on the Saxophone and can still play ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay on the piano.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

Florence Nightingale.

What are the best things about the Dragons?

As with all clubs (i’ve had a few), its always great to meet and play alongside new team-mates, but with the Dragons I have been lucky enough to play alongside a school friend who I played rugby with 16 years ago.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Mr Miyagis last Friday evening.

What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?

If it was the chocolate bar, read the joke and eat it. If it was an actual penguin, I would take him back to the zoo. One of the KnightsEagles actually told me a story about during one of his school trips, one of the lads stole a penguin from the zoo and had it on the bus on the way back home (true story!).

Which Mr. Men character would you be?

Either Mr. Nosey (as I’ve got a good beak on me), or Mr. Greedy.

If you could go back in time to any moment in history, where/when would it be?

I could definitely pick a few great rugby matches I have been involved with! But I think I would go back to one of the boys Ski Trips. I got back from Japan early this year and had a great time catching up with a mate from NZ, loads of Chu-Ais, naked Onsens, what more could you ask for!

Oliver Johnson has recently returned from action in the Asia Rugby Sevens Series where the United Arab Emirates rugby squad competed in three consecutive Rugby Sevens tournaments in Korea, China and Sri Lanka.

gulf rugby summer transfer list 2019

Now that the dust has settled on the opening weekend of Gulf Rugby action, we can reflect on the summer transfers that have taken place between the clubs. Who’s been leaving and who’s been joining?

The Ins and Outs of Gulf Rugby Summer Transfer Window 2019

It’s been a clear win for Dubai Tigers this season as they scooped a total of 14 new signings to boost their club numbers, with the majority of those players coming from the newly merged KnightsEagles rugby club in Dubai. This will no doubt be off the back of the Tigers gaining promotion to Premiership rugby at the end of last season.

Here’s a breakdown of numbers from rugby clubs active in the summer transfer window;

Barrelhouse Rugby ClubBarrelhouse

Transferred In: 1
Transferred Out: 0

Jebel Ali Dragons Rugby ClubDragons

Transferred In: 5
Transferred Out: 1

Dubai Exiles Rugby ClubExiles

Transferred In: 2
Transferred Out: 4

Abu Dhabi Harlequins Rugby ClubHarlequins

Transferred In: 0
Transferred Out: 3

Dubai Hurricanes Rugby ClubHurricanes

Transferred In: 1
Transferred Out: 3

KnightsEagles

Transferred In: 1
Transferred Out: 16

Abu Dhabi Saracens Rugby ClubSaracens

Transferred In: 3
Transferred Out: 0

Dubai Tigers Rugby ClubTigers

Transferred In: 14
Transferred Out: 0

Full Summer Transfer List

There was a total of twenty seven senior rugby players transferring to new clubs during the summer window. This is a rise from last year’s transfer list which hit twenty five. This summer saw an extended window up until the 31st September In alphabetical order they are listed below:

  1. Emma Ash – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  2. Riaan Barnard – from Hurricanes to Barrelhouse
  3. Briana Billings – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  4. Fadi Diab – from Dragons to Tigers
  5. Jarrod Eglen – from Hurricanes to Exiles
  6. Robyn Etherington – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  7. David Gibson – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  8. Trae Gosling – from KnightsEagles to Dragons
  9. Petillat Gwennael – from Harlequins to Saracens
  10. Oliver Johnson – from KnightsEagles to Dragons
  11. Gareth Jones – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  12. Jason Kettle – from Hurricanes to KnightsEagles
  13. Eliabeth McGowen – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  14. Kau Milanez – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  15. Charlene Moore from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  16. Kini Natuna – from Harlequins to Exiles
  17. Adreanne Normandeau – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  18. Rebecca Octave – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  19. Daniel Owen – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  20. Reuben Potaka – from KnightsEagles to Tigers
  21. Allan Short – from KnightsEagles to Hurricanes
  22. Rikus Swart – from Harlequins to Saracens
  23. Edward Venter – from Exiles to Dragons
  24. Gareth Venter – from Exiles to Dragons
  25. Hendrik Venter – from Exiles to Dragons
  26. Johannes Watermayer – from Exiles to Saracens
  27. Nathen Wilson – from KnightsEagles to Tigers

Source: UAERF.

Local Rugby Clubs

Are you looking for a local rugby club to play for? We have a full list, including three of our Premium listed Rugby Clubs: Amblers, Barrelhouse and Saracens.

Your official guide to Gulf Rugby 2019

Here’s Your Official Guide To Gulf Rugby In 2019/20

As the 2019/20 Gulf Rugby season kicks off, we take a look ahead to whats in store for rugby fans and how all of the regional league competitions are shaping up. This summer has not been without changes though so read on to find out whats new…

west asia champions 2018-19

Premiership

Holders: Bahrain (West Asia) and Harlequins (UAE)

Format: A straight league set up with all sides playing each other home and away over fourteen rounds. The champions of the West Asia Premiership will be decided between the top two teams after all league rounds are complete. Likewise, the top two UAE based outfits (discarding results against Bahrain) will play on finals day for the right to be crowned UAE Premiership Champions.

Ins and Outs: This season we see Dubai Tigers enter the top tier of Gulf Rugby after a gaining promotion at the end of last season. We see a new team, who recently merged as the KnightsEagles hoping to compete with boosted numbers this year.

Premiership Teams

Bahrain, Dragons, Exiles, Harlequins, Hurricanes, KnightsEagles, Tigers

dubai tigers conference rugby champions 2018/19

Division 1

Holders: Dubai Tigers

Format: First-off, you will see we’ve had a name change. Previously known as the UAE Conference League, the second tier of Gulf Rugby will now be referred to as Division 1. The 2019/20 season will see nine rounds of rugby played and the top four finishing teams after the final round will go into a knockout semi-final playoff to determine who play in on Finals Day 2020.

Ins and Outs: The Sharjah Wanderers are back in the mix after a one year hiatus. As mentioned above, newly merged KnightsEagles will be fielding their 2nd XV to complete the ten Division 1 rugby teams in the UAE.

Division 1 Teams

Amblers, Dragons, Exiles, Harlequins, Hurricanes, KnightsEagles, Saracens, Sharks, Tigers, Wanderers

Dragons UAE Community Champions 2018/19

Division 2

Holders: Jebel Ali Dragons

Format: Again, another name change. You will see what was once the Community League, now referred to as Division 2. The 2019/20 season will also see nine rounds of rugby played but will culminate with the top two teams in the league table going on to Finals Day to see who will be crowned Champions of Division 2.

Ins and Outs: Huge news for Oman Rugby as we welcome Muscat RFC into the third tier of Gulf Rugby. It’s been a longtime coming and we wish them all the best in their inaugural season as they join the social rugby scene. Saracens will be fielding a 2nd XV this season as the benefit from a boost in numbers over the summer.

Division 2 Teams

Amblers, Barrelhouse, Dragons, Harlequins, KnightsEagles, Muscat, Rak, Saracens, Shaheen, Sharks

dubai eagles womens sevens rugby series champions 2018 19

Womens Sevens Series

Holders: Dubai Eagles

Format: The Womens Rugby Sevens Series is the top tier league of ladies rugby in the Emirates with nine rugby clubs participating in the league. There will be eight rounds of rugby hosted by each club throughout the season. The Dubai Tigers and Firebirds rugby clubs will host a joint round.

Womens Teams

Amblers, Firebirds, Hurricanes, Harlequins, KnightsEagles, Rak, Saracens, Tigers, Wanderers

mens gulf rugby fixtures announced

Jump Right In…

Mens 2019/20 Rugby Fixtures

It’s been a long hot summer for all rugby clubs this year as pre-season training comes to an end and the focus switches to the first round of Gulf Rugby.

Due to the season kicking off slightly later this season, we won’t see any action until the beginning of October, so each team will have a good few weeks of extra training under their belts before they begin their 2019/20 rugby campaign.

West Asia Premiership – Round 1 Preview

October the 4th will see the West Asia Premiership kick off with the newly merged Dubai KnightsEagles taking on the Dubai Hurricanes down at Dubai Sports City.

Newly promoted Dubai Tigers will be thrown straight into the deep end of West Asia rugby with their first league fixture against the 2018/19 Champions – Bahrain at Dubai College.

The final game of Round 1 sees a repeat of last years UAE Premiership final between Jebel Ali Dragons and Abu Dhabi Harlequins. The Quins will be looking to continue their good form, having only lost one game in the Premiership last season as they went on to win the league.

Dubai Exiles will have an extra week of prep time as they sit this round out with a bye.

UAE Division 1 – Round 1 Preview

Previously known as the UAE Conference League, the UAE Division 1 will also kick off on the 4th October.

The above mentioned merged KnightsEagles 2s will get things underway with their first match against last years’s finalists – Al Ain Amblers. Dragons 2s take on Harlequins 2s, Dubai Sharks face off against the Hurricanes 2s, Tigers 2s will play the Saracens and for the final fixture of Round 1 we welcome back the Sharjah Wanderers after a 1 year hiatus from domestic rugby, as they take on the Dubai Exiles 2s.

UAE Division 2 – Round 1 Preview

This year we also see a name change for the previously known UAE Community League, now called the UAE Division 2 which kicks off on the 4th October.

The Sharks 2s play Amblers 2s, Saracens 2s host RAK Rugby up in Abu Dhabi, Harlequins 3s take on current Community Final winners Dragons 3s, Shaheen face KnightsEagles 3s and we welcome for the first time Muscat Rugby Club as the play last years unbeaten league toppers, Barrelhouse.

We’re still five weeks out before the season officially kicks off, so expect some time changes to what is already pencilled in for the fixtures.

 

UAE Rugby Club of The Year

And the winner of the 2019 Club of the Year is…

Your votes have been counted and we can finally announce who is your 2019, Yalla Rugby ‘Club of The Year’. Congratulations to all four teams who made it to this year’s nominations. It’s been a close contest and we’ve had plenty of players, fans and friends of each of the clubs casting their vote since we announced the nominations of Club of The year last week.

It’s with great pleasure that we can announce the winner of the 2019 Yalla Rugby ‘Club of The Year’ is…

Dragons RFC - 2019 Club of The Year

Dragon’s chairman, Stuart Quinn’s response to winning the award was;

“It’s great to have been voted for and to take home ‘Team of The Year’. The Jebel Ali Dragons is a club for all people and I think we tick all of the boxes when it comes to Expat Rugby. It’s a family first setup, a huge support network for people and a fantastic rugby club to be involved in. Honours were spread around the clubs this year, which is great to see. From 1st XV to 2nd XV to 3rd XV to Vets, to Mini/Youth. I think the current Dragons setup is how it should be done to maximize enjoyment. With a team across all three leagues in a semi final or above is always a great barometer for how we sit as a rugby club in the Gulf. We’re looking forward to growing next year again.”

Poll Results

Congratulations to the Dragons on behalf Yalla Rugby!!

gulf rugby club of the year 2019

It’s been a long old season again with plenty of quality rugby played at all levels of the game from mini/junior and women’s rugby, right the way through to the senior men. We’ve now been in the ‘off season’ for just over a month and many of you are already climbing the wall with the rugby withdrawal symptoms.

Fear not, because before you all get stuck into pre-season training again, there’s still one final chapter of this season to be written for one rugby club. It’s time to decide who is the Yalla Rugby Club of the Year 2019. Last year RAK Rugby Club won the inaugural award after some fierce voting from fans from all parts the globe, (which managed to crash the Yalla website for a short while).

Jump right in:

So, about the award…

What is the Yalla Rugby Club of the Year award?

Within most rugby clubs there’s always end of season awards that are handed out, which is fantastic for players and members of the clubs. BUT, we like to celebrate Gulf Rugby as a whole with some of the most outstanding achievements to have taken place throughout the season. You – the readers and followers of Yalla Rugby, can vote for the rugby club that you think deserves to win this year.

How can a club be shortlisted?

We select four clubs from all areas of rugby which we feel have contributed and succeeded the most throughout the season and let you, the public decide who should win by casting your vote. Nominations are based on success at all levels of the game as well as contributions to the broader rugby community.

  • Mens Rugby
  • Womens Rugby
  • Mini/Junior Rugby
  • Community Involvement

The four nominees are then pitted against each other and put to a vote to see who is worthy winner of this prestigious award.

Who’s been nominated for the 2018/19 award?

The nominated rugby clubs are listed below. Commiserations to the rugby clubs that have not made this years nominations. It was a hard decision between a couple of other very worthy contenders. Voting is now open and will close at 22:00 on the 25th June 2019:

This poll has ended. To view the results click below

We’ve compiled all of this year’s Conference Rugby stats to show club performances throughout the 2018/19 season.

UAE play Thailand rugby Asia rugby cup

UAE Thrash Guam in the Semi Final of Asia Rugby Championship

The UAE International rugby side have their sites firmly set on a return to Division One of Asia Rugby, having plowed their way past Guam in a first of two fixtures in Thailand, beating them in convincing style 82-7. To gain automatic promotion to Division One, they will need to beat Thailand on Saturday 18th May in the Cup Final of the Division Two Championship.

With a reformed side, built up of UAE Premiership rugby clubs, Eagles, Exiles, Dragons, Harlequins and Hurricanes, head coach Apollo Perelini will be looking to climb the ranks of World Rugby.

Ranked 70th in the World Rugby leaderboard, the UAE played 69th place – Guam in the semi final in Hua Hin, on Wednesday and put a flurry of points past them with Dubai Exiles backrow Jaen Botes and Dubai Hurricanes centre Sakiusa Naisau both getting their a hat-trick of tries.

Tries: Jaen Botes (4), Sakiusa Naisau (3), Kini Natuna (2), Hamish Anderson, Ed Armitage, Matt Richards.

Conversions: Luke Stevenson (11)

We’ve compiled all of this year’s Premiership Rugby stats to show club performances throughout the 2018/19 season.

uae national rugby squad announcement 2019

Perelini Announces His 27 Man UAE Rugby Squad Ahead Of Thailand Championships In May

High Performance Manager and Coach of the UAE National Rugby team Apollo Perelini has announced his squad to train for this years Division 2 Asia Rugby Championships which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand. The UAE Squad will play their first game on the 15th May against Guam at the multi-purpose Chalerm Phrakiat Bang Bon Stadium in Bangkok. Other opponents in their Division 2 Pool table will be Thailand and Kazakhstan, with the final being played on the 18th May.

Perelini announced his 27 man squad to the players on the eve of the UAE Premiership Final which saw the Abu Dhabi Harlequins regain their crown as Champions of UAE Rugby 2019. The UAE Rugby squad includes 8 players from Harlequins, 7 players from Exiles, 3 from Hurricanes, 3 from Eagles, 3 from Shaheen and 3 players from Dragons.  Training sessions will happen over the coming weeks in preparation for the departure to Thailand on the 12th May.

stephen ferguson uae rugby player

Dubai Exiles lock forward Stephen Ferguson will be looking to make his UAE National team debut having just missed out last year due to the residency threshold. Ferguson said,

“To be selected in the UAE squad has been an absolute dream. I came here over 3 years ago to play rugby for the Dubai Exiles under Coach Jaques Benade and it never entered my mind that I’d still be here now and in the UAE National XV squad. The standard of the players in the squad list is unreal and it’s getting better every year. There’s still lots of hard work to do over the coming 6 weeks to put a claim in to get in the tour squad. And it’s one you really have to relish. I’m really pleased to be selected and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks. Time to knuckle down and put in some hard yards.”

Harlequins
Exiles
Hurricanes
Eagles
Shaheen
Dragons

Backs

  • Emosi Vecanua (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Luke Stevenson (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Andrew Powell (Dubai Hurricanes)
  • Sakiusa Naisau (Dubai Hurricanes)
  • Niko Volavola (Jebel Ali Dragons)
  • Kini Natuna (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Matthew Richards (Jebel Ali Dragons)
  • Thinus Steyn (Dubai Exiles)
  • Sean Carey (Dubai Eagles)
  • Edward Armitage (Dubai Exiles)
  • Majid Al Balooshi (Dubai Shaheen)
  • Mohamed Suleiman (Dubai Shaheen)

Forwards

  • Chris Jones-Griffiths (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Craig Nutt (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Lucas Waddington (Dubai Exiles)
  • Murray Reason (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Gio Fourie (Dubai Exiles)
  • Ahmed Moosa (Dubai Shaheen)
  • Daniel Perry (Jebel Ali Dragons)
  • Isaac Porter (Dubai Eagles)
  • Esekaia Dranibota (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Mohamed Hassan (Dubai Eagles)
  • Matt Mills (Dubai Exiles)
  • Sean Stevens (Abu Dhabi Harlequins)
  • Jaen Botes (Dubai Exiles)
  • Hamish Anderson (Dubai Hurricanes)
  • Stephen Ferguson (Dubai Exiles)

abu dhabi harlequins premiership rugby champions 2018/19

Harlequins regain UAE Premiership Title

Abu Dhabi Harlequins regain the UAE Premiership Title as they overcame a fired up Jebel Ali Dragons side from Dubai. It was a similar result to the 2017/18 UAE Premiership Final where Harlequins defeated the Dragons in a year which saw them lift the trophy for the second time in the space of three seasons.

Dragons, pushed them all the way, keeping the scoreboard closely tied up to the final 10minutes at 27-27. The side from the capital won 37-27 at The Sevens to confirm their status as the number one side in UAE Rugby.

Final score 37-27 to the Abu Dhabi Harlequins.

Highlights of the UAE Premiership Final 2018/19

You can watch highlights of the match by clicking the video above.

The domestic season draws to a close this weekend with the now traditional end of season UAE Finals day which will see champions crowned in both the UAE Premiership and Conference. The action takes place at The Sevens this year, having previously been held at Dubai Sports City with events getting underway with an exhibition Veterans match at 13:00. As ever Yalla Rugby will be your place to go for updates on the season’s climax, if we witness anything like the dramatic conclusion to the West Asia Premiership final out in Bahrain, UAE rugby fans will be in for a treat.

uae premiership rugby final 2019

UAE Premiership Final

UAE Premiership Final – Abu Dhabi Harlequins v Jebel Ali Dragons (KO 16:00)
Semi Finals:
Abu Dhabi Harlequins 43-27 Dubai Hurricanes;
Dubai Exiles 24-28 Jebel Ali Dragons

With this year’s West Asia Rugby crown having been claimed by Bahrain, for the big names of UAE Rugby, this year’s UAE Premiership carries extra significance as the remaining chance for major silverware. The Dragons sprang something of a surprise in seeing off Exiles, runners up in the West Asia Final to qualify for this showpiece against an Abu Dhabi side who finished 17pts clear at the top of the UAE regular season standings and must go in as favourites. The capital city outfit also won all three of the regular season meetings between the two, although there were only four points difference in the most recent clash at Jebel Ali. Having claimed a historic ‘quintuple’ of domestic trophies in 2017, Quins have surprisingly not won a major final since then, falling to lacklustre defeats at both this year’s Dubai Sevens and last year’s UAE Premiership. This weekend looks an opportunity to reclaim their position as the top side in the country but will be wary of a Dragons side who will relish the opportunity to express themselves on the big stage.

uae rugby conference final 2019

UAE Conference Final

UAE Conference Final – Dubai Tigers v Al Ain Amblers (KO: 14:00)
Semi Finals:
Dubai Tigers 57-17 Jebel Ali Dragons 2s,
Dubai Hurricanes 2s 22-31 Al Ain Amblers

Reigning champions Tigers have swept all before them this year and this final will not only put their Conference title, but also the prospect of an unbeaten season on the line. The last time Tigers failed to win a game in 80mins was indeed in last season’s final, where a draw with Sharjah Wanderers was settled by an extra time golden try. Can Al Ain push them all the way here? The formbook suggests that they have every chance. The most recent meeting between the sides went Tigers’ way by a narrow three point margin, and they have the confidence of coming through what were a series of cup-finals of their own just to qualify for the knockouts ahead of Abu Dhabi Saracens. Two straight hard fought wins over a strong Dubai Hurricanes 2s team will ensure they go in battle hardened and Tigers must be wary of complacency if they are to end what has been a remarkable season with the trophy they will feel they deserve.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Vote For Your West Asia Premiership Winner 2018
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Gulf Rugby - Round 13

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

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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

gulf rugby roundup

This week’s Gulf rugby roundup, from our resident wordsmith – Huw Harrow.

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Dragons 2s - Team of The Week

Team of the Week – Jebel Ali Dragons 2s

Results might not be going the way of Jebel Ali’s 1s outfit as they look to defend their West Asia Premiership crown, but there is clearly significant strength in depth at the club with their 2s and 3s boasting a record for P9 W9 across the Conference and Community divisions. At 2s level the start to the season has been particularly impressive, racking up six wins on the bounce (five with a bonus point) and continued their winning ways this weekend comfortably seeing off Harlequins 2s 36-12 in what looked a banana skin fixture away at Zayed Sports City. Six points clear at the top of their group, the performances of this second string may bring about some interesting selection discussions for Mike Phillips in weeks to come.

eagles vs bahrain

West Asia Premiership

We wrote last week that there is clearly a good bit of momentum building in Bahrain this season and a crushing 88-7 win over Dubai Eagles this weekend will have done little to stop that. Yes the Eagles may be without a win so far this season, but they have not been blown away to that extent in any of their fixtures, especially not at home. Given the emphatic nature of that result it was key for Abu Dhabi Harlequins to respond and keep up in the title hunt, which they did via a convincing 38-20 home win over Jebel Ali Dragons. That defeat sees Dragons slip to second bottom in the table after Dubai Hurricanes produced another impressive result to overcome Dubai Exiles at the Sevens and find themselves in the lofty position of third as a result. Exiles have now lost three in a row after a promising start and face a daunting trip away to Bahrain next weekend.

tigers rugby

Conference

All things pretty much went to form in the Conference fixtures although there were a couple of nail biters with Dubai Tigers and Hurricanes 2s being pushed all the way. Canes held on for a 36-34 win to complete a double for the club over Exiles this weekend while reigning champions Tigers keep finding a way to win this season, edging out Abu Dhabi Saracens by a single late score at Al Ghazal. There were more routine victories for Al Ain Amblers in a typically high scoring encounter with Dubai Sharks and Dragons 2s away at Harlequins.

barrelhouse rugby players

Community

Barrelhouse remain unbeaten after another convincing win over Amblers 2s but the plaudits must go to Tigers 2s for their first competitive win (excluding forfeits), 17-12 over last season’s champions Harlequins 3s. Otherwise it was a quiet weekend of Community rugby due to to the fixture between RAK and Dragons being postponed and the Shaheen forfeiting their game against Sharks 2s.

DSC Eagles ladies Rugby

Womens Sevens Series

It was business as usual in week three of the Women’s Sevens League as DSC Eagles took home their third straight win and still remain unbeaten. They don’t seem to be showing much sign of slowing down either, recording 192 points across their fixtures this weekend, the highest total of any round so far. Dubai Hurricanes and Al Ain Amblers once again provided the closest challenge finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively at the tournament hosted in Al Ain. Judging by the after party photos, the Amblers ladies certainly know how to throw an event – we’ll be hoping to join them when they next host the Womens Sevens Series.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Alex Lee from Jebel Ali Dragons RFC

Jebel Ali Dragons Scrum Half Alex Lee talks dislocations, potato sack fashion and life with the Dragons in Dubai

FACT FILE

Age: 31
Born: Hong Kong (But I’m not Chinese despite my last name!!!)
Club: Jebel Ali Dragons
Position: Scrum Half
Height: 178cm… Down hill, with the wind behind me.
Weight: 83kg

“The club and all the boys in it have absolutely helped me. Whether they know it or not!”

Do you have any nicknames?

Just Al. Short for Alex but also because it’s my initials.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Gym, paddle boarding, drink coffee, people watching, McGettigans, Barasti, Rock Bottoms and Netflix. I’ve just finished ‘The Sinner’ the other day. Although Jessica Biel is easy on the eye it’s pretty disturbing. Good though!

Do you have any phobias?

Seeing joint dislocations usually makes me feel sick.

What do you miss most about England?

Even after 5 years there’s something not right about going to work on a Sunday. I miss a good roast and a pint in a decent pub!

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

Jimmy Saville. Jim’ll fix it and get us out.

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

I can’t remember initially but watching the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, Neil Back, Mike Catt, Martin Johnson and a young Jonny Wilkinson etc back in 1998 definitely inspired me. I remember going down to Twickenham that year, which is a long way from Fleetwood, to watch England v Australia and remember the atmosphere being unreal.

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

Paul Hart. He’s an absolute stalwart, evergreen. He tried to retire this season but he’s just done 80mins in the front row for the 1s XV last weekend. Massive shout out to his wife for letting us have him back!

Who has the worst Dress sense?

Probably our Chairman, Quinney. Despite the constant abuse he likes to regularly don a t-shirt that can only be described as a potato sack. Although saying that there was a pair of purple loafers left at training one night but no one claimed them funnily enough.

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

Usually something chilled like Ben Howard in the car on the way, then Artic Monkey’s in the changing rooms.

Who’s the tightest?

I’ve been told by Matty Henry’s girlfriend he’s pretty tight…

How’s life in Dubai?

People have this preconception of Dubai being very extravagant etc but it’s very much what you make of it. Expat rugby attracts people from so many different backgrounds that you may not otherwise meet out here and our club is very much a family, as cliche as that sounds. So being part of the Dragons makes life out here good. I also work with the UAE Military so this has taken me all over the UAE. Places that people otherwise wouldn’t go to and meeting some very interesting people.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Wanderlust. We’d just lost to ‘Canes the night before so needed to forget that!

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yeh rugby. I’m actually really good but keep it really well hidden.

What are the best things about Dragons?

As I mentioned before about us being a mix of people from different backgrounds, it has to be the people. Otherwise there’s no club. We have a great culture that has definitely evolved over the 5 seasons I’ve been involved.

Being an expat can be tough at times and when life throws some pretty sh*t things at you, it can be even harder. There’s a big awareness of mental health at the minute which I think is great, and I can honestly say that when I lost everything back home, the club and all the boys in it have absolutely helped me. Whether they know it or not. Having a culture that is inclusive of life off the pitch is so important and we’ve got that in abundance. You can guarantee there’s always buy-in whether it’s conditioning work in pre season or a Christmas brunch. There’s a lot of new faces this season and they have definitely become a great part of that. The kit Tsunami provide for us is pretty cool as well! Stops Quinney wearing his potato top for a day anyway!

Mr Lee… it’s been an absolute pleasure. [YR]

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.

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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

Jebel Ali Dragons have announced that Mike Phillips will be the new Director of Rugby for the 2018/19 season

Caped 94 times for Wales and 5 times for the British and Irish Lions, Phillips brings a wealth of knowledge to the current West Asia Champions. Working alongside last years coaching team of Andrew Buist and Jonny Macdonald, Phillips will be looking to build on a club that is set to raise the bar higher once again.

As a player that has only just retired from top flight leagues, he brings the most recent and relevant rugby knowledge to Jebel Ali.

Mike Phillips moved to Dubai in 2017 to set up his rugby academy that is growing month by month. Currently with the summer months here you can get involved with his academy down at the World Trade Centre.

“We as a club have decided that our continuing strategy of investing in the very best coaching options available to us is the only way to succeed and achieve sustainability. We believe Mike will take the platform set by the previous DOR (Henry Paul) and raise the quality once again. The standard of rugby is leaping forward in the region and we think that it’s our responsibility to ensure the coaching is always ahead of that. We have a product that we offer to over 120 senior players. We need to make sure it’s the best product in West Asia and the UAE”

Said Stuart Quinn – Chairman of the Dragons

The Jebel Ali Dragons had a successful 2017/18 campaign, winning the West Asia Premiership, winners of Eden Park 7s in both vets and social levels as well as being the Dubai 7s Mens Gulf Open finalists narrowly losing to the Exiles.

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