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uae rugby division 2 champions 2019

Photo credit to Asia Rugby

UAE With Another Big Win in Thailand

After thumping Guam in the semi finals of the Division 2 Championship, UAE Rugby took on their hosts, Thailand, in a Championship Cup Final showdown to earn head coach, Apollo Perelini and his (some might say strongest to date) UAE side promotion up to the Asia Rugby Division One league next season. They will join the likes of the Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Chinese Taipei. The Division One Championship is due to kick off next week in Taipei City, Taiwan.

Saturday’s match against Thailand looked to be heading for another pasting for the opposition facing an in form UAE squad, as they went in at half time 45 points up on the hosts, but credit to a resilient Thai side, they managed to put 12 points on the scoreboard in the second half and only allow a content UAE side to add another 5 points to complete up a successful campaign back to Division One. Perelini praised his team saying;

“The boys did me proud, even though they put the cue on the rack at half time.”

stephen ferguson uae rugby player

#sureheknowshimself – Stephen Ferguson

It’s been a phenomenal year for Exiles lock forward – Stephen Ferguson, following what started as a pretty rocky start to the season with injury woes, to come through the second half of the season fighting fit again and ending up in the UAE National squad.

Collectively Perelini’s squad have totalled 132 points and conceded just 19 in their Asia Rugby Championship campaign of 2019. Over the two matches, Botes scored 5 tries, Natuna with 4, Naisau and Richards both getting 3, Ferguson with 2 and Anderson, Armitage and Stevenson getting one each. UAE Captain and Harlequins fly-half Luke Stevenson’s kicking rate was impressive, converting 16 of the 20 tries.

UAE now head home for a well deserved break and will be saying farewell to stand-in defensive coach, Louie Tonkin, who heads for pastures new after leading newly crowned West Asia Champions of 2018/19, Bahrain Rugby following a close encounter with Dubai Exiles back in March. Tonkin will be heading to Exeter Chiefs RFC in England to take up a coaching role with the academy.

UAE vs Thailand, 18th May 2019

Tries: Ferguson (2), Natuna (2), Richards (2), Botes, Stevenson

Conversions: Stevenson (5)

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)

UAE rugby team Thailand 2019

UAE Rugby captain Luke Stevenson giving a team talk

 

Perelini Names Starting XV To Face Guam In Asia Rugby Semi Final

Head coach of national UAE Rugby, Apollo Perelini, has named his starting XV ahead of their first ever fixture against Guam in the Asia Rugby Championship 2019. The UAE will kick off their semi final match in Hua Hin, Thailand on the 15th May, and will be looking to progress to the final where they will play either Thailand or pre tournament favourites, Kazakhstan.

Perelini’s men will be looking for promotion back up to Division One following their relegation to Division Two last year when they withdrew from the tournament. They will have the opportunity to gain automatic promotion should they beat Guam and then either Thailand or Kazakhstan in the final which will be played on the 18th may 2019.

Louie Tonkin (left) and Apollo Perelini (right)

Louie Tonkin (left) and Apollo Perelini (right)

A Boost From Bahrain

An already strong looking set of forwards will be boosted with the addition of former Bahrain Rugby Club coach, Louie Tonkin as he joins Perelini as UAE Forwards Coach for the competition. Following the trip in Thailand, Tonkin will be heading to UK Premiership rugby side, Exeter Chiefs’ as Academy Coach, having just ended a superb stint with Bahrain, winning the West Asia Premiership after a thriller of a match against the Exiles.

Captain, Luke Stevenson thinks Tonkin has had a great impact so far;

“Louie is a class coach and has implemented a few new things that I think will be of great benefit to our forwards”

UAE National Rugby Team 2019

Starting Lineup To Face Guam

Forwards: Chris Jones-Griffiths, Gio Fourie, Craig Nutt, Daniel Perry, Isaac Porter, Matt Mills (VC), Hamish Anderson, Jaen Botes.

Backs: Barry Dwyer, Luke Stevenson (C), Sean Carey, Andrew Powell, Sakiusa Naisau, Thinus Steyn, Matthew Richards

Finishers: Lukas Waddington, Murray Reason, Ahmed Moosa, Stephen Ferguson, Sean Stevens, Edward Armitage, Kini Natuna, Majid Al Balooshi

You can view a live stream of the match which will be shown on the Asia Rugby Facebook page at 12:30 UAE Time.

Photo credits: Stephen Ferguson

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)

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.

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)

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The UAE played out their one and only International fixture of the season last night under the bright lights of Rugby Park, Sports City which is home of the Dubai Eagles rugby club, beating a spirited Gibraltar 28-10. They played a decent touring Gibraltar side who have for the past week played various warm up fixtures around the city against the likes of local teams such as Exiles, Eagles and a UAE Barbarians side made up of Premiership players looking to make their way into the national squad next season.

Former dual code international Apollo Perelini and Head Coach of the UAE International side seemed pretty pleased with the performance saying;

“We weren’t bad at all, I thought our boys controlled it ok, but just lacked game time together to really put in a full assault at times.”

Video Credits: Marc Why

The UAE squad have not played any rugby together at all this season. It seems a tad bittersweet for the UAE International squad, as they no doubt have the most talented group of individuals that we’ve seen in a few years here in the Emirates, but next seasons future is uncertain as they have withdrawn from the Asia Rugby Championship this summer – in a move which casts doubt on the very future of the international side.

Lets hope that after last nights strong performance by the UAE, we will be seeing such talent showcased on the fields next season and more home internationals being organised by the Federation.

 


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A Strong Statement From The Barbarians

On a sticky night in Dubai Sports City, a UAE International Barbarian team made up of Premiership players stormed past a Gibraltar Rugby Development side, who struggled to keep pace with the locals. The touring side looked a completely different team in the second half though, as the dug deep in unfamiliar conditions. It was a referees worst nightmare as Eugene Deegan had to deal with both teams plying in al white strips if not for the red socks of Gibraltar to keep him in check.

Video Credits: Marc Why

If it weren’t for poor discipline from the UAE Babas in the second half, the scoreline would have no doubt been much higher, almost hitting a cricket score. There was some great entertaining running rugby to be seen, non other than from local Exiles second row Stephen Ferguson, often seen tearing up the centre of the pitch with opposition players hanging on in vain to bring the big Irishman down. Final score down at Rugby Park 63-0.

Tonight Apollo Perelini’s UAE International 1st XV with play Gibraltar Rugby back at Sports City, kicking off at 19:00. You can view the starting XV team below:

  1. Lucas Waddington
  2. Gio Fourie
  3. Craig Nutt
  4. Chris Masson
  5. Daniel Perry
  6. Esekaia Dranibota
  7. Matthew Mills
  8. Jaen Botes
  9. Ross Sampson
  10. Durandt Gerber (C)
  11. Matthew Richards
  12. Andrew Powell
  13. Sakiusa Naisau
  14. Niko Volavola
  15. Luke Stevenson

    Replacements

  16. Murray Reason
  17. Kristian Stinson
  18. Sean Stevens
  19. David Knight
  20. Josh Ives
  21. Thinus Steyn
  22. Emosi Vecanau

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uae rugby international squad 2018

UAE International Friendly Against Gibraltar Rugby

This Friday evening the UAE National squad will play Gibraltar in an International Friendly at Dubai Sports City, kicking off at 19:00. The starting XV to face the touring side will be announced by head coach Apollo Perelini on Thursday evening but the UAERF have provided us with a squad list ahead of that announcement. Congratulations to all included in the UAE rugby squad.

  • Andrew Powell (Hurricanes)
  • Craig Nutt (Harlequins)
  • Daniel Perry (Hurricanes)
  • David Knight (Hurricanes)
  • DuRandt Gerber (Exiles)
  • Emosi Vecanau (Harlequins)
  • Esekaia Dranibota (Harlequins)
  • Gio Fourie (Exiles)
  • Jaen Botes (Exiles)
  • Josh Ives (Eagles)
  • Kristian Stinson (Exiles)
  • Lucas Waddington (Exiles)
  • Luke Stevenson (Harlequins)
  • Matt Mills (Exiles)
  • Matt Richards (Dragons)
  • Murray Reasons (Saracens)
  • Niko Volavola (Dragons)
  • Phil Brady (Harlequins)
  • Ross Sampson (Dragons)
  • Sakiusa Naisau (Dragons)
  • Sean Stevens (Saracens)
  • Thinus Steyn (Exiles)

UAE Barbarians vs Gibraltar Rugby

On a sticky night in Dubai Sports City, a UAE International Barbarian team made up of Premiership players stormed past a Gibraltar Rugby Development side, who struggled to keep pace with the locals. Final score down at Rugby Park 63-0.

DSC Eagles vs Gibraltar Rugby

Gibraltar Rugby took on the Dubai Eagles down at Rugby Park, Sports City, which kicked off at 19:30. The tourists now have their first win under their belts as they beat the DSC Eagles 20-5 in slightly cooler conditions compared to their previous match under the lights at Sports City.

Dubai Exiles vs Gibraltar Rugby

Gibraltar kicked off their Dubai tour by playing Premiership Champions – Dubai Exiles at local school Nord Anglia. The match finished 33-19 to a strong Exiles side played on the school’s newly installed artificial grass rugby pitch, which was recently opened by ex England and British & Irish Lions legend Roger Uttley. The elite graded grass pitch was opened last month as Roger officially opened the pitch to a crowd of pupils, staff and parents. Exiles player and Head of PE at NAS – David Gairn, helped organise the fixture which was streamed live on Facebook thanks to Exiles media guru Marc Jonathon.

UAE Rugby Sevens U17 Asia Chinese Taipei 2017

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The U17 UAE Rugby Sevens squad have headed out to Taiwan to play in a Youth Olympic Games Qualifier which takes place this weekend (9th-10th September) in the Tainan Municipal Stadium. They face against hosts, Chinese Taipei, followed by Hong Kong, India and finally Malaysia in the pool competition. Hopefully then qualifying for either the Cup or Plate finals which will be held on Sunday.

U17 UAE Rugby Squad Announced

Congratulations to the squad members below, who were announced on Wednesday by Head Coach Apollo Perelini of the UAE Rugby Federation.

  1. Abdallah Rabee Marzouq – Sharjah
  2. Ali Salem Ali Barmen – Al Fujairah
  3. Mayed Mohamed Khamis – Al Fujairah
  4. Mohamed Hasan Lateef Mohamed – Sharjah
  5. Mubarak Saif Mubarak – Al Ain
  6. Nawaf Abdulla Suwaid – Al Ain
  7. Nayef Abdulla Suwaid – Al Ain
  8. Obaid Mohamed Abdalla Alblooshi – Al Fujairah
  9. Rashed Saqer Ibrahim Almarzooqi – Ajman
  10. Salem Saeed Adbulla – Al Ain
  11. Saif Juma Rashed – Al Ain
  12. Saoud Salem Obaid – Al Ain

Under 17 Emirati rugby-training with Apollo Perelini

U17 UAE Rugby Schedule

Saturday 9th September 2017

UAE vs Chinese Taipei
UAE vs Hong Kong
UAE vs India

Sunday 10th September 2017

UAE vs Malaysia
Semi Final
Final

Ben Bolger UAE Rugby Captain


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UAE Rugby Captain Ben Bolger Looks To Top Off A Fantastic Season

As the UAE national rugby squad head off to Malaysia today, embarking on what could be a long and complicated road to the Japan Rugby World cup in 2019, we chat with captain and Harlequins star Ben Bolger.

Bolger looks back on the team’s build up to the Asia Rugby Division One Championship in Ipoh, Malaysia and tells us what the squad have learned from their recent training camps and test matches against the Premiership and Conference Barbarians.

“Both games were great tests for us, and exactly what we needed. We learned a lot about ourselves as a group as we had to come from behind in both games to win them,” before adding, “the character shown by the boys and their dedication to each other has been great.”

The UAE rugby team are are focused on the first task at hand, which will be winning promotion to the top tier of Asia Rugby. Should they top their table in the Division One tournament, where they face hosts Malaysia, followed by Sri Lanka and finally play the Philippines.

 

This tour comes off the back of a fantastic season for Bolger and home club, the Abu Dhabi Harlequins. The Quins have cleaned up this year by winning the UAE Premiership, UAE Conference, West Asia Premiership and Gulf Mens League at the Dubai Sevens.

That means nothing unless we go and deliver”

Asked what winning the Asia Division One Championship will mean to him and the team, Ben said;

“Personally, it will be a fantastic way to finish what has been a great season for me. It has been a journey with these boys that has started at the beginning of the year and the boys commitment has been outstanding. However, we are conscious that means nothing unless we go and deliver.”

Success in Malaysia will earn them promotion back into the top flight of Asia Rugby and see the UAE join South Korea and Hong Kong and an unlikely shot at qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Dare to dream??

By Alex Johnson

rugby coaching courses in Dubai
Where to watch the Japan rugby world cup 2019 in Dubai
Peter Henderson - Director of Rugby at Abu Dhabi Saracens 2019
Ghaith Jalajel - Asia Rugby
mens gulf rugby fixtures announced
Enver Johns - new coach of Dubai Sharks
uae rugby division 2 champions 2019

Photo credit to Asia Rugby

UAE With Another Big Win in Thailand

After thumping Guam in the semi finals of the Division 2 Championship, UAE Rugby took on their hosts, Thailand, in a Championship Cup Final showdown to earn head coach, Apollo Perelini and his (some might say strongest to date) UAE side promotion up to the Asia Rugby Division One league next season. They will join the likes of the Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Chinese Taipei. The Division One Championship is due to kick off next week in Taipei City, Taiwan.

Saturday’s match against Thailand looked to be heading for another pasting for the opposition facing an in form UAE squad, as they went in at half time 45 points up on the hosts, but credit to a resilient Thai side, they managed to put 12 points on the scoreboard in the second half and only allow a content UAE side to add another 5 points to complete up a successful campaign back to Division One. Perelini praised his team saying;

“The boys did me proud, even though they put the cue on the rack at half time.”

stephen ferguson uae rugby player

#sureheknowshimself – Stephen Ferguson

It’s been a phenomenal year for Exiles lock forward – Stephen Ferguson, following what started as a pretty rocky start to the season with injury woes, to come through the second half of the season fighting fit again and ending up in the UAE National squad.

Collectively Perelini’s squad have totalled 132 points and conceded just 19 in their Asia Rugby Championship campaign of 2019. Over the two matches, Botes scored 5 tries, Natuna with 4, Naisau and Richards both getting 3, Ferguson with 2 and Anderson, Armitage and Stevenson getting one each. UAE Captain and Harlequins fly-half Luke Stevenson’s kicking rate was impressive, converting 16 of the 20 tries.

UAE now head home for a well deserved break and will be saying farewell to stand-in defensive coach, Louie Tonkin, who heads for pastures new after leading newly crowned West Asia Champions of 2018/19, Bahrain Rugby following a close encounter with Dubai Exiles back in March. Tonkin will be heading to Exeter Chiefs RFC in England to take up a coaching role with the academy.

UAE vs Thailand, 18th May 2019

Tries: Ferguson (2), Natuna (2), Richards (2), Botes, Stevenson

Conversions: Stevenson (5)

UAE vs Thailand

UAE XV vs Thailand XV

18.05.19
True Stadium, Hua Hin
UAE XV 50 – 12 Thailand XV
Photo Credits: Thailand Rugby Union

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)

UAE rugby team Thailand 2019

UAE Rugby captain Luke Stevenson giving a team talk

 

Perelini Names Starting XV To Face Guam In Asia Rugby Semi Final

Head coach of national UAE Rugby, Apollo Perelini, has named his starting XV ahead of their first ever fixture against Guam in the Asia Rugby Championship 2019. The UAE will kick off their semi final match in Hua Hin, Thailand on the 15th May, and will be looking to progress to the final where they will play either Thailand or pre tournament favourites, Kazakhstan.

Perelini’s men will be looking for promotion back up to Division One following their relegation to Division Two last year when they withdrew from the tournament. They will have the opportunity to gain automatic promotion should they beat Guam and then either Thailand or Kazakhstan in the final which will be played on the 18th may 2019.

Louie Tonkin (left) and Apollo Perelini (right)

Louie Tonkin (left) and Apollo Perelini (right)

A Boost From Bahrain

An already strong looking set of forwards will be boosted with the addition of former Bahrain Rugby Club coach, Louie Tonkin as he joins Perelini as UAE Forwards Coach for the competition. Following the trip in Thailand, Tonkin will be heading to UK Premiership rugby side, Exeter Chiefs’ as Academy Coach, having just ended a superb stint with Bahrain, winning the West Asia Premiership after a thriller of a match against the Exiles.

Captain, Luke Stevenson thinks Tonkin has had a great impact so far;

“Louie is a class coach and has implemented a few new things that I think will be of great benefit to our forwards”

UAE National Rugby Team 2019

Starting Lineup To Face Guam

Forwards: Chris Jones-Griffiths, Gio Fourie, Craig Nutt, Daniel Perry, Isaac Porter, Matt Mills (VC), Hamish Anderson, Jaen Botes.

Backs: Barry Dwyer, Luke Stevenson (C), Sean Carey, Andrew Powell, Sakiusa Naisau, Thinus Steyn, Matthew Richards

Finishers: Lukas Waddington, Murray Reason, Ahmed Moosa, Stephen Ferguson, Sean Stevens, Edward Armitage, Kini Natuna, Majid Al Balooshi

You can view a live stream of the match which will be shown on the Asia Rugby Facebook page at 12:30 UAE Time.

Photo credits: Stephen Ferguson

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)

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.

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)

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The UAE played out their one and only International fixture of the season last night under the bright lights of Rugby Park, Sports City which is home of the Dubai Eagles rugby club, beating a spirited Gibraltar 28-10. They played a decent touring Gibraltar side who have for the past week played various warm up fixtures around the city against the likes of local teams such as Exiles, Eagles and a UAE Barbarians side made up of Premiership players looking to make their way into the national squad next season.

Former dual code international Apollo Perelini and Head Coach of the UAE International side seemed pretty pleased with the performance saying;

“We weren’t bad at all, I thought our boys controlled it ok, but just lacked game time together to really put in a full assault at times.”

Video Credits: Marc Why

The UAE squad have not played any rugby together at all this season. It seems a tad bittersweet for the UAE International squad, as they no doubt have the most talented group of individuals that we’ve seen in a few years here in the Emirates, but next seasons future is uncertain as they have withdrawn from the Asia Rugby Championship this summer – in a move which casts doubt on the very future of the international side.

Lets hope that after last nights strong performance by the UAE, we will be seeing such talent showcased on the fields next season and more home internationals being organised by the Federation.

 


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A Strong Statement From The Barbarians

On a sticky night in Dubai Sports City, a UAE International Barbarian team made up of Premiership players stormed past a Gibraltar Rugby Development side, who struggled to keep pace with the locals. The touring side looked a completely different team in the second half though, as the dug deep in unfamiliar conditions. It was a referees worst nightmare as Eugene Deegan had to deal with both teams plying in al white strips if not for the red socks of Gibraltar to keep him in check.

Video Credits: Marc Why

If it weren’t for poor discipline from the UAE Babas in the second half, the scoreline would have no doubt been much higher, almost hitting a cricket score. There was some great entertaining running rugby to be seen, non other than from local Exiles second row Stephen Ferguson, often seen tearing up the centre of the pitch with opposition players hanging on in vain to bring the big Irishman down. Final score down at Rugby Park 63-0.

Tonight Apollo Perelini’s UAE International 1st XV with play Gibraltar Rugby back at Sports City, kicking off at 19:00. You can view the starting XV team below:

  1. Lucas Waddington
  2. Gio Fourie
  3. Craig Nutt
  4. Chris Masson
  5. Daniel Perry
  6. Esekaia Dranibota
  7. Matthew Mills
  8. Jaen Botes
  9. Ross Sampson
  10. Durandt Gerber (C)
  11. Matthew Richards
  12. Andrew Powell
  13. Sakiusa Naisau
  14. Niko Volavola
  15. Luke Stevenson

    Replacements

  16. Murray Reason
  17. Kristian Stinson
  18. Sean Stevens
  19. David Knight
  20. Josh Ives
  21. Thinus Steyn
  22. Emosi Vecanau

UAE rugby vs Gibraltar rugby

UAE vs Gibraltar

26.04.18
Dubai Sports CIty
UAE 28 – 10 Gibraltar
Referee: Norman Drake
Photo Credits: Alex Johnson


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UAE rugby vs Gibraltar rugby

UAE Barbarians XV vs Gibraltar Devs.

25.04.18
Dubai Sports City
UAE Barbarians 63 – 0 Gibraltar Devs
Referee: Eugene Deegan
Photo Credits: Alex Johnson


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uae rugby international squad 2018

UAE International Friendly Against Gibraltar Rugby

This Friday evening the UAE National squad will play Gibraltar in an International Friendly at Dubai Sports City, kicking off at 19:00. The starting XV to face the touring side will be announced by head coach Apollo Perelini on Thursday evening but the UAERF have provided us with a squad list ahead of that announcement. Congratulations to all included in the UAE rugby squad.

  • Andrew Powell (Hurricanes)
  • Craig Nutt (Harlequins)
  • Daniel Perry (Hurricanes)
  • David Knight (Hurricanes)
  • DuRandt Gerber (Exiles)
  • Emosi Vecanau (Harlequins)
  • Esekaia Dranibota (Harlequins)
  • Gio Fourie (Exiles)
  • Jaen Botes (Exiles)
  • Josh Ives (Eagles)
  • Kristian Stinson (Exiles)
  • Lucas Waddington (Exiles)
  • Luke Stevenson (Harlequins)
  • Matt Mills (Exiles)
  • Matt Richards (Dragons)
  • Murray Reasons (Saracens)
  • Niko Volavola (Dragons)
  • Phil Brady (Harlequins)
  • Ross Sampson (Dragons)
  • Sakiusa Naisau (Dragons)
  • Sean Stevens (Saracens)
  • Thinus Steyn (Exiles)

UAE Barbarians vs Gibraltar Rugby

On a sticky night in Dubai Sports City, a UAE International Barbarian team made up of Premiership players stormed past a Gibraltar Rugby Development side, who struggled to keep pace with the locals. Final score down at Rugby Park 63-0.

DSC Eagles vs Gibraltar Rugby

Gibraltar Rugby took on the Dubai Eagles down at Rugby Park, Sports City, which kicked off at 19:30. The tourists now have their first win under their belts as they beat the DSC Eagles 20-5 in slightly cooler conditions compared to their previous match under the lights at Sports City.

Dubai Exiles vs Gibraltar Rugby

Gibraltar kicked off their Dubai tour by playing Premiership Champions – Dubai Exiles at local school Nord Anglia. The match finished 33-19 to a strong Exiles side played on the school’s newly installed artificial grass rugby pitch, which was recently opened by ex England and British & Irish Lions legend Roger Uttley. The elite graded grass pitch was opened last month as Roger officially opened the pitch to a crowd of pupils, staff and parents. Exiles player and Head of PE at NAS – David Gairn, helped organise the fixture which was streamed live on Facebook thanks to Exiles media guru Marc Jonathon.

UAE Rugby Sevens U17 Asia Chinese Taipei 2017

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The U17 UAE Rugby Sevens squad have headed out to Taiwan to play in a Youth Olympic Games Qualifier which takes place this weekend (9th-10th September) in the Tainan Municipal Stadium. They face against hosts, Chinese Taipei, followed by Hong Kong, India and finally Malaysia in the pool competition. Hopefully then qualifying for either the Cup or Plate finals which will be held on Sunday.

U17 UAE Rugby Squad Announced

Congratulations to the squad members below, who were announced on Wednesday by Head Coach Apollo Perelini of the UAE Rugby Federation.

  1. Abdallah Rabee Marzouq – Sharjah
  2. Ali Salem Ali Barmen – Al Fujairah
  3. Mayed Mohamed Khamis – Al Fujairah
  4. Mohamed Hasan Lateef Mohamed – Sharjah
  5. Mubarak Saif Mubarak – Al Ain
  6. Nawaf Abdulla Suwaid – Al Ain
  7. Nayef Abdulla Suwaid – Al Ain
  8. Obaid Mohamed Abdalla Alblooshi – Al Fujairah
  9. Rashed Saqer Ibrahim Almarzooqi – Ajman
  10. Salem Saeed Adbulla – Al Ain
  11. Saif Juma Rashed – Al Ain
  12. Saoud Salem Obaid – Al Ain

Under 17 Emirati rugby-training with Apollo Perelini

U17 UAE Rugby Schedule

Saturday 9th September 2017

UAE vs Chinese Taipei
UAE vs Hong Kong
UAE vs India

Sunday 10th September 2017

UAE vs Malaysia
Semi Final
Final

Ben Bolger UAE Rugby Captain


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UAE Rugby Captain Ben Bolger Looks To Top Off A Fantastic Season

As the UAE national rugby squad head off to Malaysia today, embarking on what could be a long and complicated road to the Japan Rugby World cup in 2019, we chat with captain and Harlequins star Ben Bolger.

Bolger looks back on the team’s build up to the Asia Rugby Division One Championship in Ipoh, Malaysia and tells us what the squad have learned from their recent training camps and test matches against the Premiership and Conference Barbarians.

“Both games were great tests for us, and exactly what we needed. We learned a lot about ourselves as a group as we had to come from behind in both games to win them,” before adding, “the character shown by the boys and their dedication to each other has been great.”

The UAE rugby team are are focused on the first task at hand, which will be winning promotion to the top tier of Asia Rugby. Should they top their table in the Division One tournament, where they face hosts Malaysia, followed by Sri Lanka and finally play the Philippines.

 

This tour comes off the back of a fantastic season for Bolger and home club, the Abu Dhabi Harlequins. The Quins have cleaned up this year by winning the UAE Premiership, UAE Conference, West Asia Premiership and Gulf Mens League at the Dubai Sevens.

That means nothing unless we go and deliver”

Asked what winning the Asia Division One Championship will mean to him and the team, Ben said;

“Personally, it will be a fantastic way to finish what has been a great season for me. It has been a journey with these boys that has started at the beginning of the year and the boys commitment has been outstanding. However, we are conscious that means nothing unless we go and deliver.”

Success in Malaysia will earn them promotion back into the top flight of Asia Rugby and see the UAE join South Korea and Hong Kong and an unlikely shot at qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Dare to dream??

By Alex Johnson

yalla protein sports nutrition partnership
Niall Lear - Director of rugby at Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Maurice Butler - UAE Referee
sharjah wanderers rfc 2018
rugby club concussion management Dubai

united arab emirates rugby team 2017

Perelini’s eyes firmly fixed on next weeks Asia Rugby Division One championship in Malaysia.

Yalla Rugby were lucky enough to be invited to Apollo Perelini’s last training camp before the upcoming Asia Rugby Division One Championship in Ipoh, Malaysia.

apollo perelini uae rugby coach 2017

The UAE Rugby National squad, are up against Malaysia, Philippines and Sri Lanka with the prospect of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in Japan up for grabs for the table topping team. We ask Perelini how his squad preparations have been coming on;

“It’s taken a little longer to get ready for the championship because of the players club commitments which narrowed down my contact with them, but the last two weeks and two warm up matches against tough Premiership and Conference Barbarian sides have brought the team closer and therefore team structures have been easier to put in place.”

“I’m happy, the team is coming together nicely with the Championship starting next week.” said Perelini.

uae rugby training

Over the past 3 years, the standard of playing rugby in the United Arab Emirates has improved a tremendous amount, with increased interest in the sport from all ages and abilities.

The quality of players and coaching has improved the competition within domestic rugby.”

Perelini said: “The quality of players and coaching has improved the competition within domestic rugby, which makes things easier for me when choosing players to represent the UAE, however we still have a long way to go in some areas.”

With the team setting out, not only to just compete, but actually win next weeks Asia Rugby Division One championship, local UAE rugby clubs could really feel the benefit from a successful campaign in Malaysia.

Perelini believes that the quality of rugby will only increase if they (UAE Rugby) make the top tier of Asia Rugby. He said: “The challenge I guess, will be how we keep these full-time, employed players committed and whether they can improve their skills if they’re not professionals, unlike some countries which are now fully professional.”

Asia Rugby Division One Championship rugby training with Apollo Perelini

Perelini has picked a 28-man squad for the three-match tour in Malaysia, with Jebel Ali Dragons dominating the selection with eight players picked. There are six from Dubai Hurricanes, five each from Abu Dhabi rivals Harlequins and Saracens, two from Dubai Exiles and two UAE Shaheen.

We’d like to wish Apollo and the UAE National rugby team the very best of luck and will keep you all up to date with their progress in the competition, which starts on the 14th May against Malaysia, then on the 17th they face Sri Lanka followed by their final game on the 20th against the Philippines.

By Alex Johnson

UAERF sign MoU with FFR

UAERF Sign MoU With The French Rugby Federation (FFR)

The UAERF have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the French Rugby Federation (FFR) where they hope to establish and implement a strategic partnership aimed at developing 7’s and XV’s players, coaches and match officials.

“Entering into this partnership, at this stage of UAE Rugby’s rapid growth, is very exciting.” said Qais Al Dhalai Secretary General UAERF.

Fédération Française de Rugby uae rugby

“Together, we (UAERF and FFR) have identified various training camps and tournaments for the benefit of our 7’s and XV’s players, as well as various training and officiating opportunities for UAERF’s match officials throughout the term of this partnership. As the recognised sports-hub in the Middle East we are thrilled to be in a position to utilise many of the UAE’s diverse high-class training facilities for these activities, and similarly the well-regarded FFR National Center of Rugby in Marcoussis (France)”. “We are looking forward to finalising these opportunities and to working closely with Bernard and his team.” added Al Dhalai.

That is why we want to work closely with the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation”

“The overall future of our sport will come through its development into new territories. This is crucial if we want to expand its popularity and the number of players to last. This international development has to come through the Middle East.” Bernard Laporte, President Fédération Française de Rugby said. “That is why we want to work closely with the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation; to actively participate in rugby development in this area of the world by giving UAERF players and officials the possibility to benefit from our human and material means to work and improve their performance.”

Officiating today’s MoU signing was Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General UAERF and Bernard Laporte, President of Fédération Française de Rugby.

UAE olympic rugby 7s team


 

UAE Olympic Rugby 7s Dream

Dubai Airports’ three-year long sponsorship of UAE Rugby Federation’s Shaheen all-Emirati Rugby programme is paying huge dividends for the team and the sport by boosting participation levels tenfold, improving fitness levels and fuelling the team’s drive to support the UAE Olympic 7’s dream.

“Dubai Airports’ support of UAE Rugby’s Shaheen programme changed the lives of those who have been involved”

The Shaheen Rugby Development programme started with the support of Dubai Airports in 2014 and is responsible for a key Emirati element of the UAE Rugby Development and Performance Pathway. The programme, which commenced with 20 Emirati players who had no real rugby background, now boasts over 250 players aged 16 or over. Shaheen is the Emirati development squad for the UAE national rugby teams.

“Dubai Airports’ support of UAE Rugby’s Shaheen programme changed the lives of those who have been involved, and have created role models for others to follow,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum – Chairman UAE Rugby.

“It has been a huge success story and not only in terms of the growing number of participants,” said Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General UAE Rugby Federation. “The enthusiasm of the group, love of the game, improving skills and fitness levels are also important success factors. Dubai Airports’ sponsorship and influence not only touches the players, but their family and friends. We estimate since the start of the programme over 420 different individual players which have been involved in the Shaheen programme and over 2,000 Emirati family and friends have also been exposed to the sport as a result.”

Al Dhalai added that players have benefited from weight loss and a more active lifestyle thanks to Shaheen’s structured programme with resources.

UAE Rugby Federation has announced that its Elite Player Programme (EPP) will commence in January 1st 2017. The EPP is a long-term strategy aimed at identifying, increasing and developing future National representative Emirati players with it’s primary focus on the development of 25 talented U18 Emirati players every calendar year.

UAE Rugby Secretary General, Qais Al Dhalai said;

It is a necessity that these players show strong potential, in skills and mental aptitude, to progress to a higher level, with the ultimate aim being UAE National Team representation on the international stage.”

UAE Rugby’s Head Coach and High Performance Manager – Apollo Perelini, said;

In the first year our focus will be the Senior Elite U18’s, year 2 we will widen our reach to Junior Elite U16, and year 3 we will bring in a Junior U14 category.”

Perelini went on to say;

These 3 levels of development will give us a stronger platform to identify and develop our Elite players and provide us with a sustainable future for Emirati players.”

During each year, each group will participate in numerous training camps and focus on age-specific skills and fitness.

The U18’s will be exposed to game and training analysis, skills and game management and position specifics. U16’s will be exposed to the basic aspects of the UAE rugby union, including game awareness, and the U14’s will be exposed to basic fundamental skills of rugby.

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Emirates Airline Renews Sponsorship of UAE Rugby Federation

Emirates Airlines, the exclusive sponsor of the UAE Rugby Federation and sponsor of the Men’s, Women’s and Under 20’s National 7’s and 15’s teams have renewed their commitment to Dubai Rugby for another five years.

Dubai Rugby UAE

Reinforcing its commitment to rugby in the UAE, Emirates Airline has renewed its sponsorship agreement with the UAE Rugby Federation (UAERF).

Through the agreement Emirates will continue as the Federation’s Exclusive / Official Airline sponsor and sponsor of the Men’s, Women’s and Under 20’s National 7’s and 15’s teams.

The agreement will span five years and will see the Emirates logo proudly displayed on players’ shirts across the respective leagues.

We are very proud to have the commitment from Emirates for another five year term

Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General UAE Rugby said “Our National Teams are ambassadors of UAE rugby on the international stage and we are acutely aware of the abilities needed by our representative teams to compete at this higher level.” “We are very proud to have the commitment from Emirates for another five year term, which will assist us in our goal of bettering our standing in Asia Rugby rankings, and to bring to UAE residents the enjoyment of watching more competitive games”.

Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Centre commented: “Emirates boasts a rich rugby heritage with our extensive portfolio of top-class rugby sponsorships, and we strive to reflect the core values of the game and enrich the experiences of rugby fans in the UAE and across the globe. Emirates has been the Official Airline of the UAE Rugby Federation since 2011 and we are proud to see the Men’s XV’s advancing to the Asia Rugby Championship divisions and potentially qualifying for the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup, of which Emirates is also a sponsor.”

UAE Rugby Emirates Airline Men’s XV team recently competed in and won Asia Rugby’s Asia Rugby Championship (ARC) Division 2, which sees the team promoted to Division 1 as well as be eligible to compete in the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying rounds.

Emirates boasts a rich rugby heritage with its extensive portfolio of top-class rugby sponsorships, and the airline strives to reflect the core values of the game and enrich the experiences of rugby fans in the UAE and across the globe. Emirates has been the Official Airline of the UAE Rugby Federation since 2011.

The airline has also been the Title Sponsor of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens for over 20 years and the vibrant tournament has firmly established itself as one of the best on the HSBC Sevens World Series circuit.

While remaining extremely popular with the UAE western expatriate community, rugby has made impressive gains in promoting the game to the Emirati population, evident with the Federation’s recent inaugural Community League and the historic fielding of the first all-Emirati XV’s side.

Speaking on the development of Emiratis into the XV’s format Al Dhalai commented “It is one of our (the Federation) strategic goals to have an all-Emirati UAE National test side by 2021. Emirates renewed sponsorship will assist us with realising this goal”.

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UAE Rugby Federation’s Regional Development Officer, Ben van Rooyen has been appointed Asia Rugby’s ‘Get into Rugby Coordinator’ on a six-month secondment commencing May 1st, 2016.

Van Rooyen’s primary task will be to oversee the implementation of World Rugby’s Get into Rugby (GiR) programme among Asia Rugby union members, working closely with these unions to ensure their GiR action plans are in place and conform to World Rugby guidelines.

He will also oversee the integration of World Rugby’s ‘Impact Beyond’ programme which focuses on activating rugby-influenced activities in the lead-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, to be hosted in Japan.

Introducing rugby to one million new players across the continent

A highly successful programme across the globe, World Rugby’s Get into Rugby has been embraced by the UAERF since the federation’s inception (in 2011) and found the programme to be a valuable tool to grow the game in local communities that required established structures and pathways to grow the game.

Speaking on his new role van Rooyen said:

“It is indeed an honour to serve the greater Asia Rugby community through this role. I see a bright future for rugby in Asia and I am looking forward to working with the various unions (around Asia) to realise the dream of ‘introducing rugby to one million new players across the continent’. Our successes at UAERF have prepared me for this opportunity, and I can only express my deepest appreciation for the visionary leadership and support I have received from the Board and all the members of the UAERF team.”

Asia Rugby Honorary Secretary General and UAE Rugby Secretary General, Qais Al Dhalai commented:

“We are very proud Ben has been recognised for his impact on growing the game at local grass roots level, and subsequently selected by Asia Rugby to take on this important role of introducing the game across Asia. All at the UAERF wish to thank Ben for his untiring, successful efforts in delivering the GiR programme and his commitment to our Player Pathway Programme. We wish Ben the very best and will be watching the progress of Get into Rugby across Asia with great interest.”

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