UAE Premiership Rugby Tags


Guide To UAE Rugby Competitions

Confused about all of the Cups, Trophies and Championships going on at the moment? Who’s won what and whats still up for grabs? We’ll attempt to clear things up for you here.

[Reading time: about 4 hours, no seriously… this is quality toilet reading time!!!] or just use the links below to skip to the bits that you’re interested in.

UAE Premiership League 2017/18

The UAE Premiership is the top tier league consisting of domestic rugby clubs; Dragons, Eagles, Exiles, Harlequins, Hurricanes and Saracens. Each team plays each other twice throughout the season in a league format with 4 points being awarded for a win, a bonus point awarded for scoring 4 or more tries and an additional bonus point for losing the match by 7 points or less.

Once each team has played each other twice, the top two teams then qualify for a grand final match (13th April 2018) to see who will be crowned UAERF Premiership Champions.

UAE Premiership Cup 2017/18

The UAE Premiership Cup, is a knockout competition between all six rugby clubs in the Premier League. The top two teams get a bye, whilst the other four have knockout stages to whittle it down to two semi finals. The two winners then face off in the Premiership Cup final. This year, Harlequins beat Exiles in the final to lift the UAE Premiership Cup.

West Asia Premiership League 2017/18

The West Asia Premier League is the top tier league which consists of all six of the UAE Premiership teams and includes Bahrain and Doha (this year Doha were forced out of the competition due to international politics). Each team plays each other twice, BUT the matches played between local UAE teams count as UAE Premiership League fixtures. So basically, the West Asia Premier League and the UAE Premier League are the same thing as far as local UAE teams are concerned. Still with us?? Try to stick with it!!

This year (2017/18), Jebel Ali Dragons were crowned West Asia Premier League Champions because they were top of the league after all fixtures had been played.

West Asia Cup 2017/18

The West Asia Cup is a separate knockout competition between the top four finishing teams in the league. Two semi finals are played. This year (2017/18) the 1st placed team (Dragons) played 4th placed team (Exiles), while 2nd placed team (Harlequins) played 3rd placed team (Bahrain*). Both Exiles and Bahrain won their games so face each other in the final to see who will lift the West Asia Cup.


* The West Asia Premiership Rules and Regulations state that if at the conclusion of the pool stage, two teams are equal on competition points, then: The team that won the match between the two teams shall be deemed to have finished higher in the competition table.


West Asia Trophy 2917/18

The West Asia Trophy is again a separate knockout competition for the bottom 3 finishers in the West Asia Premier League. This year (2017/18) they were Hurricanes, Eagles and Saracens. Because Hurricanes finished in 5th position, they automatically qualify for the Trophy final, leaving Eagles and Saracens to fight it out for the remaining spot to face the Canes in the final. Last week, the Eagles beat Saracens, so they will play the Hurricanes in the West Asia Trophy competition.

UAE Conference League 2017/18

The Conference League competition is the second tier league consisting of nine local rugby clubs with in the UAE; Amblers, Dragons, Exiles, Harlequins, Hurricanes, Knights, Sharks, Tigers and Wanderers.

With all nine teams starting off in the one Conference League at the beginning of the season, they play each other once before the winter break. The table then splits into two, becoming a Top 5 League and Bottom 4 League. This season (2017/18) the tables did not reset to zero, but kept their tally of points and games played. Then each team plays each other once to decide who qualifies for the playoffs to reach the Conference Top 5 Final. The top four teams in the T5 play semi final knockout games. This year we have 1st placed Tigers playing 4th placed Harlequins and 2nd placed Wanderers playing 3rd placed Exiles. Th winners of these games will face off in the grand final (13th April 2018) to decide who will be overall UAE Conference Winners.

The UAE Conference Bottom 4 League again plays out in similar fashion to the Top 5 league, where each team plays each other once. Due to there being only four teams in this mini league, the top two placed teams play each other in a grand final (13th April 2018) to decide who will be the UAE Conference B4 Champions.

UAE Community League 2017/18

If only all of the other leagues were as simple as this one! The UAE Community League is the biggest and most competitive league in our opinion. Played out as a social third tier competition, the Community League consists of 12 teams (now 10 due to Sharks and Shaheen with drawing their teams); Amblers, Dragons, Eagles, Harlequins x 2, Hurricanes, Knights, Nomads, RAK Rugby and Saracens.

Each Community League fixture is played every other week with each team playing each other once. After all fixtures are completed, the 1st and second placed teams qualify to play each other in a grand final (13th April 2018) o decide who can take the title of UAE Community League Champions.

So… hopefully that has cleared a few things up. See it’s a clear as mud!!!

Here’s a simple summary…

UAE Premiership League Title (To be decided between Exiles vs Harlequins)
West Asia Premiership League Title (Won by Dragons)
West Asia Cup (To be decided between Bahrain vs Exiles)
West Asia Trophy (To be decided between Hurricanes vs Eagles)
UAE Conference T5 Title (To be decided between Exiles, Harlequins, Tigers and Wanderers)
UAE Conference B4 Title (To be decided between Amblers vs Dragons)
UAE Community League Title (To be decided between Dragons, Harlequins and Nomads)

uae rugby finals 2017

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UAE Rugby Returns To Business As Usual This Weekend

With the UAE Rugby season resuming this weekend after the mid-season break, Yalla Rugby takes a look at the highlights to look out for in this round of action.

Premiership Rugby

No doubt the pick of the matches comes in the West Asia Premiership with Bahrain travelling to Dubai to take on the Jebel Ali Dragons in a top of the table clash. The two sides are currently separated by points difference only and a win here for either side would lay down a major marker. Elsewhere DSC Eagles face arguably their toughest assignment yet, travelling to the capital to face unbeaten Abu Dhabi Harlequins while Dubai Exiles will be looking to move up the table with a home fixture against winless Abu Dhabi Saracens.

Community Rugby

The absence of Conference fixtures means it could be an interesting weekend in the Community League should some clubs elect to give a few members of their Conference squads a run out. Either way, this boost to squad availability coupled with new year enthusiasm should hopefully ensure successful completion of most of this week’s scheduled fixtures with the league having suffered with postponements towards the end of 2017. The pick of the action looks to be taking place at the top of the table where the famed strength in depth of the Harlequins 3s face off against the Hurricanes 3s who are struggling for points this season. The Jebel Ali Dragons 3s who are currently 2nd in the league, travel to Al Ain to play the Amblers 2s, with hopes of a bonus point win to narrow the 5 point gap between league leaders – Beaver Nomads. In form RAK Rugby are heading to Abu Dhabi to play Saracens 2s who have finally sorted out a deal to stay at Al Ghazal Golf Club.

Conference Rugby

No fixtures this weekend but the league has split in to top and bottom halves respectively. These sides will now play in respective mini-leagues before the top two meet in the season finales.

Top 5

Bottom 4

Article by: Huw Harrow

Harlequins UAE Premiership champions 2017

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Whats New With The UAE Premiership League?

  • Dubai Sports City Eagles enter the league for the first time
  • Doha will not compete in the West Asia Premiership for non-rugby reasons

Dubai Exiles UAE Premiership rugby 2017

Can anyone knock Abu Dhabi Harlequins off their perch?

On the face of it, it’s a big ask. The Quins swept all before them last season completing an unprecedented quintuple of trophies including both the UAE and West Asia Premiership titles. With the core of this side remaining together this season, the capital city side certainly begin as the team to beat. What may offer their rivals a glimmer of hope is that the off-season has not been without its challenges for the Harlequins with reported loss of lucrative sponsorship deals impacting recruitment and preparation. None has a bigger point to prove than the UAE’s oldest club, Dubai Exiles who endured a disappointing 50th anniversary campaign last year, surrendering their Premiership crown with barely a whimper. Steady recruitment over the summer, including the addition of Ireland and Munster capped Denis Hurley as Assistant Coach should see Exiles mount a stronger challenge across the board this season.

Dubai Eagles rugby club

How will the UAE’s newest club faire in their debut season?

The formation of Dubai Sports City Eagles has been the major talking point of the summer and all eyes will be on the debutants after their somewhat controversial immediate insertion in to the top level of UAE rugby. If a pre-season 59-5 drubbing at the hands of Jebel Ali Dragons is anything to go by, they still have plenty of work to do to mould a side capable of competing on this stage. However, strong off field foundations are in place and the prospect of playing elite rugby at Dubai Sports City is likely to prove attractive to prospective new players. The club hierarchy may not expect to challenge for silverware this season but the pressure will be on coach Pat Benson to show that the Eagles belong at UAE rugby’s top table.

Article by: Huw Harrow

uae rugby grand finals 2016 17

Inaugural UAE Rugby Grand Finals Day to be played On Friday April 7th

UAE Rugby will host their inaugural Grand Finals Day on Friday, April 7th, at Dubai Sports City’s Rugby Park in Dubai.

In a first for the Federation, the UAERF Grand Finals are the culmination of UAE Rugby’s Community, Conference and Premiership league fixtures played over the 2016/2017 rugby season.

“We are extremely pleased to bring the inaugural UAE Rugby Grand Finals Day to our rugby-loving community. Each year we are thrilled with the level of rugby we witness across our domestic league, and the finals have always drawn enthusiastic supporters. We are confident that bringing all three leagues together into one day will enhance the excitement and raise the profile of the league’s top-ranked teams.” said Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Secretary General.

Finals games kick off at 1pm with Abu Dhabi Harlequins competing against Jebel Ali Dragons in the third-tier Community League, followed at 3pm with two deciding games from the second-tier Conference League; Bottom 5 between Heartbeat Tigers and Dubai Sharks and Top 6 between Al Ain Amblers and Abu Dhabi Harlequins. At 5pm, the Federation’s elite Premiership League will play-out between Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Jebel Ali Dragons.

Alongside this rugby-fest will be mouth-watering food and beverage options as well as fantastic giveaways and prizes. Entry to join in the Finals Day fun, and watch quality domestic rugby, is free.

Why not re-live all of the 2016/17 UAE Rugby season by viewing our Match Day Photo Gallery.

uae rugby results 2016


Matches in all three leagues of UAE rugby took place this weekend. In the Premiership the Dragons 1st XV continued their unbeaten run with an entertaining 42-30 win over the Exiles 1st XV with a high scoring affair that saw some great tries ran in. The only other UAE Premiership match was the Hurricanes 1st XV narrow 18-16 win over a much improved Saracens 1st XV side, who will be disappointed not to have come away with the win.

The UAE Conference had a great weekend with some excellent performances and close games. The Dragons 2nd XV ground out a tough 15-5 win against a brave Wasps 1st XV side pushing undefeated Dragons hard for the full match. The Knights 1st XV were looking for their first win of the season against the Exiles 2nd XV. Unfortunately for them the Exiles had other ideas with a comfortable 27-3 win.

The Sharks 1st XV managed a hard fought 25-24 win against the Hurricanes 2nd XV, who bombarded the Sharks’ try line for the last 20 minutes of the match and scored what could have been the decisive try, only to see the conversion hit the post. Only a fool would write the Amblers 2’s off, having withdrawn from the Premiership, expect a good number of players to be bolstering the 2nd XV team in the Conference this season. This showed as they put 48 points on the defending champions – Sharjah Wanderers 1st XV, in a 48-25 win. The last match of the weekend saw the Tigers 1st XV taking on the Harlequins 2nd XV. A valiant effort from the Tigers saw them lose by just 12 points, final score 22-10.

Only 2 matches in the UAE Community in this round, the Harlequins 3rd XV stunned defending champions the Beaver Nomads 1st XV with an excellent performance, winning the match 30-17. The other match saw the Sharks 3rd XV against the Wasps 2nd XV, with the fixture recorded as a forfeit for the second time this season for the Sharks, so the Wasps will happily take the 20-0 win.

A Look To Next Round

In the UAE Premiership, expect an excellent match-up when the Dragons 1st XV take on the Harlequins 1st XV on Thursday night. The other match should see either the Saracens 1st XV or Exiles 1st XV getting their first win of the season as they play each other on Friday.

The pick of the matches in the UAE Conference has to be the still undefeated Dragons 2nd XV hosting the Sharks 1st XV, who are coming into the match on the back of 4 wins. A Wasps 1st XV win is almost a necessity this weekend if they want to keep their top 6 hopes alive this season and they face an extremely stern test in the shape of the Harlequins 2nd XV.

We’re also back in action with the UAE Community League this Friday. The Dragons 3rd XV host the Sharks 2nd and the Amblers 3rd XV take on the ever improving RAK Rocks 1st XV.

Lets hope the Rocks aren’t still playing with Sand in their boots, as they seem to show their strength playing on a sand rugby pitch.

By Tom Davies

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uae introduce rugby player transfer window


For all those lovers of the good old days of games like Championship Manager, where you would carve your skills as the next potential Sir Alex Ferguson or Sir Bobby Robson, we have some good news for you.

No it’s not the latest release of the game.

It’s a little something closer to home in the Middle East. Our very own UAERF Rugby Player Transfer Window.

Currently the UAE Rugby Federation states that;

  • No player may hold effective registration with more than one rugby club at any time.
  • A player may only apply to change the club for whom they are registered at the end of the current season along with specific consent of the UAERF.
  • A player who changes clubs from the one that they are currently registered to, may not compete in the same competition for their new club without the specific consent of the UAERF.

So here’s the game changer…

Players’ Transfer Window

There have recently been quite a number of rugby player transfer requests so the UAE Rugby Federation have decided to introduce the “Players’ Transfer Window” or “PTW” for short.

There will be 2 such windows of opportunity throughout the season:

  • Between the 20th December and the 5th January
  • Between the 1st August and the 15th August

Exciting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Those rugby players wishing to transfer, must supply a letter of no objection from their current rugby club, addressed to the UAERF Secretary General to be able to begin their transfer request to another club.

The UAERF regulations will be amended accordingly and any transfer requests outside of these windows will not be considered. All other regulations regarding effective registration will remain as normal.

Is this the start of a new era of professional rugby in the United Arab Emirates? Only time will tell.

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amblers-withdraw-west-asia-premiership-rugbyBreaking News: The Al Ain Amblers have withdrawn from the West Asia and Premiership rugby championship.

After a committee discussion the UAERF have been notified by Al Ain Amblers of their request to withdraw from the West Asia Premiership/UAE Premiership due to insufficient numbers and safety of the remaining players to be able to compete at the UAEConference level.

Any UAE Premiership games that have already been played or are due to be played by the Al Ain Amblers 1st XV will now be recorded as 0 – 0 draw. Other teams that are due to play the Amblers 1st XV on the fixtures list will now have a bye weekend.

The Amblers have confirmed they will honour their 1st XV fixture this weekend against Jebel Ali Dragons 1st XV, however no score will be recorded in the tables and will be seen as a friendly match. The Jebel Ali Dragons are under no obligation to fulfil this fixture.

This should make the UAE Conference league very interesting as the majority of the 1st XV players will now bulk up the 2nd XV.

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Emirates UAE Rugby Roundup


UAE Rugby Roundup

All three UAE rugby leagues are now into their regular season once again with both the Premiership and the Community tournaments back on the pitch.

Starting with the West Asia Premiership, the Saracens kicked off their season with a 20-0 win against the Amblers due to the match being ruled as a forfeit by the Amblers breaching UAERF Competition Regulations. Jayden Bell and Sunia Laladidi were both not eligible to play during this match. As stated in UAERF Regulation 19 – all fully completed dispensation forms must be submitted 15 days prior to the scheduled fixture. The Amblers will hope that the penalty point received doesn’t come back to haunt them near the end of the season.

The other match was an exciting 35-13 win for the Harlequins 1st XV against the Hurricanes 1st XV. The Quins really put their hand up as genuine title contenders against a strong Canes side.

In the UAE Conference league the Wanderers 1st XV secured a hard fought 23-14 win against a determined Heartbeat Tigers 1st XV side. They can take great pride in pushing the defending champions hard, finishing just 9 points behind. The Dubai Sharks 1st XV produced a gutsy performance, beating a battling Wasps 1st XV team by a solitary point 14-13 with the Sharks putting everything they had into the match and leaving nothing on the pitch at the sound of the final whistle.

Harlequins 2nd XV eased to an impressive 57-10 win against a struggling Amblers 2nd XV side. The Hurricanes 2nd XV suffered a disappointing 7-36 loss against an extremely impressive Dragons 2nd XV outfit, having finished one place above the Dragons last season, the Hurricanes will be disappointed with the heavy loss. The final match of the Conference was a dominating 59-0 win to the Exiles 2nd XV against the Saracens 2nd XV, the biggest scoring margin of the round leaves the Saracens with a lot to work on before the next round of UAE rugby.

The Community league kicked off with a Thursday night match for the defending champions – Beaver Nomads 1st XV against the Sharks 2nd XV. A physical encounter ended with the Nomads running out as 48-12 winners. The Amblers 3rd XV entertained the Harlequins 3rd XV on Friday with the Quins producing a fine performance to win 43-22.

Shaheen 1st XV produced the performance of the Community league by beating the Sharks 3rd XV 34-5. With just one season of 15s rugby union under their belt it shows that Shaheen have serious potential under head coach Apollo Perelini and will only get better as the season goes on. The final match of the Community league saw the RAK Rocks 1st XV entertain the Dragons 3rd XV in the “sandbox”, the name given to the Rocks newly refurbished all sand pitch. An extremely tiring game was won by the impressive Dragons unit 61-12.

A look ahead to the next round

There will be some great rugby on offer this coming weekend in the West Asia Premiership and Conference.

The match to watch in the WA Premiership has to be the defending champions, the Exiles 1st XV taking on the Harlequins 1st XV, who produced a fine performance last week.

In the Conference the Dubai Wasps will be looking to bounce back from their loss in round 2 and hopefully come away with a win against current champions Sharjah Wanderers 1st XV, to get their season back on track.

The Community league have a weekend off before returning to action on the 7th of October.

By Tom Davies

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uae conference rugby round up Tom Davies

After a quiet few months off, the UAE conference tournament is back for what looks to be an exciting season of rugby. The opening weekend saw some great matches take place across the UAE.

Defending champions Sharjah Wanderers began their campaign with a comfortable 34-7 win over the Dubai Sharks, showing their intent for back-to-back Conference triumphs.

The Arabian Knights lost a hard fought battle with the Wasps 15-29. The Knights seemed to win the battle of the forwards for the majority of the match but in the end discipline let them down and the Wasps made them pay for their mistakes.

The Dragons 2nd XV cruised to an impressive 58-3 win over the Al Ain Amblers 2nd XV, announcing that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.

The final match saw the Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2nd XV go head to head with the Dubai Exiles 2nd XV. With both sides having finished in the top half of the table last season neither team wanted to drop points on the opening weekend. The result went the way of the Exiles who ran away with it to win 41-5.

A look ahead to this weekends UAE Rugby

The action continues this weekend coming with round 2 of the UAE Conference taking place, the pick of the matches is the Hurricanes 2nd XV taking on the Dragons 2nd XV, both teams have ambitions to finish in the top half of the table and the Dragons will definitely want to continue the great start they have made to the season.

Thats not all thats taking place this weekend with the beginning of both the UAE Premiership and Community League. The Premiership sees The Amblers entertaining the Abu Dhabi Saracens and the Dubai Hurricanes taking on the Abu Dhabi Harlequins. The match to watch in the Community League has the be the Beaver Nomads against the Sharks 2nd XV, the Nomads will be looking to defend their title this season and will hope to start it off with a win.

By Tom Davies

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YallaRugby had the honour of being invited to the a televised press conference held in The Ramada Hotel, in the presence of The UAE Rugby Secretary General – Qais Al Dhalai and Rashid Amiri, the Director General of Dubai Sports Channel with the following exciting news for that all UAE rugby fans will want to hear.

Weekly Broadcast

It’s time to dust off those combs and bring your A-Game to the rugby pitch as the
UAE Rugby Federation (UAERF) and Dubai Sports Channel (DSC) have finalised a two-year agreement that will see a UAE Rugby Show produced and broadcast weekly, during the UAE Rugby season, on Dubai Media Incorporated’s Dubai Sports Channel.

Scheduled for its first airing in February, the 30-minute show will offer highlights from the previous 2-weeks UAE Rugby Premiership, Conference and Community leagues, as well as regular spots focusing on Emirates Airline National Team performances, Emirati development (Dubai Airports Shaheen, and UAE Rugby’s Player Pathway Programme – co principal partners HSBC and Land Rover), a UAE-based club and player focus, referees updates, UAERF sponsor showcase, as well as other UAE Rugby related features.

This is another exciting first for UAE Rugby. We are thrilled to partner with Dubai Sports and bring to life the UAE Rugby Show where all expatriate and Emirati elements of the sport will be showcased” said Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby’s Secretary General.

Our rugby community, from both the expatriate and the Emirati, is rich in interesting stories and we are exceptionally happy to have quality resources in which to create informative features. We are confident that the weekly show will be well received and supported by all and become an integral part of the wider UAE Rugby community’s week”. “We look forward to developing the show as we move through this season, and into the next” he added.

Rashid Amiri, Director General of Dubai Sports Channel commented, “Our team at Dubai Sports Channel is committed to producing a quality, interesting show that will connect local and expatriate viewers with relevant rugby content (and) will boost the efforts and profile of UAE Rugby across our platform. Also, we strongly believe the UAE Rugby show will provide Dubai Sports Channel with a landmark local-sports show to bolster our existing sports portfolio.

The UAE Rugby Show will be broadcast in English and will offer Arabic subtitles, with it’s first airing on February the 1st 2016.

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UAE Rugby Premiership 2015/16

For the new 2015/16 UAE rugby season, both the UAE Rugby Premiership and the Gulf Top Six will change.

The UAE Premiership will change from a round-robin format where teams would play each other once and the top two teams play each other in a grand final, to;- teams playing both home and away fixtures and the team at the top of the table being crowned champions of the UAE Rugby Premiership 2015/16.
Gulf Top 6 (West Asia Championship)

The Gulf Top Six (GT6) will have a drastic change with another three teams being added to the competition and will now be the West Asia Championship. In recent years, the top four teams from the UAE Rugby Premiership would qualify for the GT6. This season the qualification process has been scrapped. The revamped West Asia Championship will consist of the following Teams from around the Gulf: Muscat, Bahrain, Doha, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Jebel Ali Dragons, Dubai Exiles, Dubai Hurricanes and the newly promoted Al Ain Amblers. All teams will play each other once with the team at the top of the table being crowned West Asia Championship Winners.

The West Asia Championship will no longer conclude the UAE domestic season. This season the UAE Rugby Premiership will be played either side of it, with rounds one to seven to be played from September 25th until November 6th 2015. The West Asia Rugby Championship will be played from January 8th until March 18th, with the final three rounds of the UAE Rugby Premiership played from March 25th until April 8th 2016.

UAE Rugby Conference

The UAE Rugby Conference will continue with the same structure as before with eleven teams. There will be eleven rounds of action before teams split into Top 6 and Bottom 5 playoffs with both Top 6 and bottom 5 finals due to be played on March 25th 2016.

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