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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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Hurricanes Ladies - Dubai 7s Gulf Womens Champions 2019

Hurricanes Ladies – Dubai 7s Gulf Womens Champions 2019

Only a few hours after their men’s team retained the Gulf Men’s League title, it was double joy for Dubai Hurricanes as they swept aside Emirates Firebirds 52-0 to add the Gulf Women’s trophy to their burgeoning collection.

Alexandrea Cook was the star of the show, claiming a hat-trick of tries and a total of 32 points in an impressive individual performance for a well drilled Hurricanes outfit. As well as causing a constant threat with her pace, Cook’s kicking also proved a significant factor with Firebirds struggling to secure possession from her well placed restarts.

It was Cook herself who benefitted from hesitation in fielding the opening kick off, leading to an early score under the posts. That set the tone for a first half where tries came at regular intervals – Paula McCarthy’s score on the stroke of half time putting the game beyond reach at 31-0 at the break.

Problems at the restart and the breakdown made it difficult for the Firebirds to keep hold of possession for long periods in the game, their brightest moments coming with a second half attack which set Jasmine Singh free down the touchline only to be dragged down when entering the 22.

The second half also saw the pick of Hurricanes tries with Cook again the beneficiary but the score coming after a number of slick handling combinations in a length of the field move with Sian Williams to the fore. Williams had herself earlier got on the scoresheet, with the additional tries coming from Harriet Witty and Jade Cunningham.

Despite their disappointment at the one-sided nature of the final, the Firebirds will take pride in their determination to compete and tackle until the final whistle, and can reflect on another successful tournament after beating a competitive Abu Dhabi Harlequins side 15-14 in their semi-final to reach a second final in three years.

For the Hurricanes, they will now claim to have usurped Dubai Knights Eagles (who they defeated in their semi-final) as the number one side in the UAE women’s game and will go in to the latter rounds of the Women’s Sevens Series as very much the team to beat.

Dubai Hurricanes: Alexandrea Cook, Bridie Johnson, Danielle Dempsey, Hannah Carey, Harriet Witty, Jade Cunningham, Minal Tailor, Paloma Adorisio-Hughes, Paula McCarthy, Sarah Keating, Shelley Forde, Sian Williams

Emirates Firebirds: Belinda Uyassi-Holloway, Carmen Gea Ortiz, Josephine Taofinuu, Kathryn McClay, Maria Picco Palacio, Marnie Howard, Melisa Lee, Monique van der Bank, Olivia Collins, Sydnee Chang, Nicole Bailey, Jasmine Singh

Dubai Hurricanes - Dubai 7s Gulf Mens Champions 2019

Dubai Hurricanes – Dubai 7s Gulf Mens Champions 2019

Dubai Hurricanes completed a successful defence of their Gulf Mens League Dubai 7s crown, defeating Bahrain 26-10 in a final they largely controlled from start to finish.

Despite having won the pool fixture between the two sides and seen off a strong Abu Dhabi Harlequins outfit in their semi final, Bahrain RFC were never really able to get their power game going and were hampered by a string of handling errors at critical moments.

A second half comeback was fleetingly on the cards after Greg Heath’s try reduced the deficit to 10-21, but dropped passes and the ability of Hurricanes to take the sting out of the revival by slowing down the game meant the outcome was never in serious doubt.

The opening proceedings however, had seen Hurricanes adopt a much faster tempo, moving the ball into the wider channels and allowing their strike runners space to operate. Playing with the confidence of reigning champions they were impressive in their ability to keep control of possession when under pressure and manoeuvre a heavier set of Bahrain forwards around the park.

The ever dangerous Sakiusa Naisau opened the scoring with a superb solo effort from deep within Hurricanes territory, his try then followed by another breakaway score from Tobias Oakley after good work from Blair Cochrane. Lewis Anderson added a third – all three converted by Boris Finck – before a typically powerful surge from Jack Phillips created the space for Kyran Odendaal to give Bahrain hope going in to the break.

With a sense that the job was already half done, Hurricanes were able to take their foot off the gas in the second period, employing a more conservative approach with kicks to the corner and even a rolling maul (much to the delight of their home support). They were ultimately to have the last say after a series of phases camped in the opposition 22 put Ed Lewis over in the corner to complete the scoring.

If their 2018 triumph had seen Hurricanes emerge as something of a surprise package, in retaining their title they have underlined their calibre in the shortened format. Both sides will now switch attention back to the 15 a side West Asia Premiership which resumes in the new year where Dubai Exiles sit unbeaten at the top of the league.

Bahrain: Adam Wallace, Faataualofa Paila, Graham Bishop, Greg Heath, Jack Phillips, James Whittingham, Kyle Nair, Kyran Odendaal, Nika Morehu, Rhys Fitzgerald, Daniel Parete, Vairaro Mahutariki

Dubai Hurricanes: Blair Cochrane, Boris Finck, Ed Lewis, Elliot Speed, Emosi Ratuvecanaua, Harry Heathcote, Lewis Anderson, Pio Tanimatuku, Sakiusa Naisau, Tim Richards, Tobias Oakeley, Tomos Roderick

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

dsc eagles dubai 7s gulf womens champions 2018

Eagles Women retain 7s title after semi-final drama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article by: Huw Harrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article By: Huw Harrow

Dubai 7s 2018

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

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

Exiles Dubai rugby sevens gulf mens league champions 2017

Gulf Men’s League

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

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

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

Rugby Sevens Dubai UAE 2018

Gulf Men’s Open

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

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

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

Womens Gulf Champions 2017-1

Gulf Women’s

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

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

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

rugby 7s

Yalla Rugby Invitational Squad

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

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


  • Kellen Hutchison
  • Alex Johnson

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

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

Article by: Huw Harrow

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)

Al Maha U18 girls rugby sri lanka training camp

UAE Rugby’s all-Emirati U18 Girls team, Al Maha, complete successful Sri Lanka training camp ahead of Asia Tournament

UAE Rugby’s all-Emirati U18 Girls team, Al Maha, recently participated in an intensive 7-day training camp, in Colombo and Kandy, Sri-Lanka, fine-tuning and honing their rugby skills and increasing their fitness levels. The purpose of the camp was to prepare the National (U18) UAE Rugby 7’s team for the upcoming U18 Girls Asia 7’s Tournament, which will be taking place in India, during October 2018.

UAE Rugby’s Head Coach, Apollo Perelini stated;

“The camp was a success, we’re seeing vast improvements in their abilities, and I’m exceptionally pleased with the commitment shown by this group of girls in developing their (rugby) skills and levels of fitness. Our players gained valuable experience and I am confident this (camp) has assisted preparations ahead of their participation in the Asia Rugby U18 Girls Tournament.”

On the final day of the camp, Al Maha were able to put the skills learnt to practice playing a number of friendly games with the Sri-Lankan U18 Girls 7’s squad.

Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Secretary General added;

“We extend our sincere appreciation to the Sri Lanka Rugby Union, where, through their co-operation and assistance this camp was possible.” “We also thank their entire team for welcoming our girls rugby so warmly, and for looking after them while in Sri Lanka.”

Brian O'Driscoll with Yalla Rugby in Dubai

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Brian O’Driscoll was at the Dubai 7s last week acting as an HSBC Rugby Ambassador. When Yalla Rugby caught up with him during the event; he shared with us his impressions of rugby in the UAE, how he is coming to terms with retirement and why British & Irish Lions fans should give Warren Gatland more credit…

The word legend is perhaps overused in sporting terms but there can be few who would begrudge that label of Brian O’Driscoll, a man of 133 caps for Ireland, veteran of four Lions tours and winner of three Heineken Cups at Leinster. As if we’re in any doubt, as we sit down with him on the sidelines of an HSBC pre-tournament press conference, it’s not long before he’s musing about a ‘Rugby Centurions’ function he attended shortly before flying out, reserved for those with 100 or more test caps. Pretty exclusive criteria for a dinner invite.

“The transition is very difficult, even if you do it on your own terms, that immediate nature of one day being part of a team and the next not”

Despite hanging up his boots four years ago, and seemingly establishing himself on the black tie circuit, ‘BOD’ cuts as good a figure now as he did in his playing days. He admits that keeping physically fit has been important in his transition to retirement.

“The transition is very difficult, even if you do it on your own terms, that immediate nature of one day being part of a team and the next not. One thing I would encourage any players finishing up to do, is continue exercising. I took a big break from it for a couple of years and I probably needed to rest my body but I’ve got back in to training and it’s so good for the head – I try to design my day around that where possible.”

BOD and the ‘Death Zone’

Indeed, his eagerness to keep in shape saw the 38 year old agree to join the England 7s squad for their infamous ‘death zone’ training session in the lead up to the opening round of the World 7s Series. He laughs off our jibe about donning the red rose during the session, claiming it “didn’t bother me in the slightest” despite the potential stick from his old playing mates.

Ex-pros often point to such dressing room camaraderie as the part of the game they miss the most but for O’Driscoll, it is something more precise. “It’s more the feeling of adding value to something and trying to find the next thing you are doing and adding the same level of value” he explains with the same self-assured poise that accompanied his on field leadership for so many years.

bod HSBC deeath zone

Having burst on to the world rugby scene with his wonder try for the Lions against Australia in 2001, it was in that famous red jersey that he added as much of that ‘value’ as anywhere else. Reflecting on this summer’s tour to New Zealand he is quick to distance himself from fellow Irishman Sean O’Brien’s comments that Warren Gatland’s management had cost the tourists a 3-0 win.

“I don’t really know the rationale behind it. I think if Sean had his time back he might verbalise it a little differently – there is nothing to be benefitted from saying that sort of thing. It was quite a stretch to think they should have won the series 3-0, it was a good draw from the Lions perspective, not a bad one. New Zealand should be kicking themselves that they threw it away in that third test in the first 10-15 minutes in reality. We’ve only ever won one series over there so to think it should have been 3-0…I’m not so sure about that.”

We put it to him that regardless of the results on the field, bars screening tour matches here in the UAE would have been packed out anyway, such is the popularity of the Lions concept. Yet, outside the ex-pat bubble, questions over its relevance in the professional age persist. He doesn’t think the dissenting voices are any cause for alarm.

“The enormity of it is great, we are as excited about it in the UK & Ireland as you are out here about where the tour is going to go in South Africa in four years time. It is such a unique thing from a player’s perspective to get to play with a group of players you’ll never get to go on a rugby pitch again with and yet you’ve formed these bonds. I don’t think you have bonds like you did in the old days when they went on three month tours but you do form friendships with certain players and you pick up where you left off. You’ve to remember as well that for as much as its great for the Lions because of the business that it is, its also great for the touring country, with the impact it has on their economy through the spend involved in going out and watching it.”

If O’Driscoll is any oracle, McGettigans and co can breathe easily and look forward to another bumper summer in 2021.

Alex Johnson Brian O'Driscoll Huw Harrow

So would a potential move to Dubai and growing the game internationally interest him?

“I don’t think my skin could take the sun out here!” he jokes, but he does see significant potential for growing the game of rugby in the UAE and thinks others may follow in the footsteps of Denis Hurley, the former Ireland and Munster centre, who began coaching at Dubai Exiles this season.

“It’s great to see the appetite for it and having a draw like the Dubai 7s can only enhance the game’s reputation here and of course there’s a big ex-pat rugby community to tap in to. I didn’t know (Hurley) was out here! I had lots of battles against Denis back in the day and I could think of worse things to be doing than coaching in Dubai, if you’re going to coach somewhere, why not here?!”

Article By: Huw Harrow

Dubai Rugby 7s 2017

Dubai Rugby 7’s 2017 Countdown



All you need to know for this years Dubai Rugby Sevens 2017 Weekend

When it comes to taking in the action at the Dubai 7’s this week, its not all about the Flying Fijians or the Blitzbokke.

The UAE’s finest will be in action across the weekend with local bragging rights up for grabs. Here is Yalla Rugby’s guide to when and where you can find the best of the UAE action:

2017 gulf league cup winners harlequins

Gulf Men’s League

The elite competition, primarily for those competing in the West Asia Premiership, this was won last year by Abu Dhabi Harlequins as one leg of their quintuple.

The action will be spread over the course of three days, culminating in a final on the centre stage – pitch 1 – at 12:30pm on Saturday.

With eight teams featuring this year, Thursday promises to be something of a phony war as with each side guaranteed to progress to a quarter final regardless of performance in the round robin group stage.

Last year’s finalists, Harlequins and Dragons have been drawn apart and will fancy themselves to reach the latter stages once again with Bahrain looking to translate their impressive 15s form in to the shorter format. Kuwait and Al Ain will start as underdogs as the two non-West Asia Premiership sides involved – although Al Ain did make it to the semi-final stage last year and as top points scorers in this year’s UAE Conference are known to carry an attacking threat.

dubai 7s rugby

Gulf Men’s Open

The Open tournament is a fantastically cosmopolitan affair this year with sides travelling from as far afield as Syria and Sri Lanka. The holders are slightly closer to home, a Dubai Tigers side who are regulars in the UAE Conference and return to defend their title.

Amongst the challengers, both Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Jebel Ali Dragons will field strong 2s sides both of which held their own at a higher level in the Gulf League tournament last year. Though the beauty of this tournament is the 15s form book going out of the window and seeing invitational sides such as our very own Yalla Kukri emerge to challenge the established names.

The pool stages spread across Thursday and Friday this year with all sides guaranteed a knockout game on a busy Saturday. Group winners and three best runners up will enter the Trophy, remaining runners up, all third placed teams and the best of the groups back markers will compete for the plate while a consolation 16-20 playoff awaits the remainder.

  • Pool A – Dubai Tigers, HPC, Amman Citadel, UAE Shaheen
  • Pool B – Multiplex Bulls, Al Ahli, Damascus Zenobians, Riyadh Falcons
  • Pool C – Dubai Exiles 2s, Arabian Knights, Ceylon Warriors, Muscat
  • Pool DYalla Kukri, Red Sea Sharks, Nomads Amman, Jebel Ali Dragons 2s
  • Pool ESharjah Wanderers, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2s, Dubai Sharks, Riyadh Warriors

sevens rugby Dubai

Gulf Women’s

Twelve teams compose the women’s tournament this year, drawn in to three pools. Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Emirates Firebirds and last year’s winners Dubai Hurricanes all boast two sides.
The women’s rugby does offer a more reliable form guide with three sevens tournaments having taken place so far this season, each won in convincing fashion by Dubai Sport City Eagles who must go in to their debut Dubai Sevens as strong favourites.

The pool stages run from Thursday to Friday with the top eight sides going in to trophy quarter finals on Saturday and bottom place finishers of each pool plus the lowest ranked third place finisher competing in the plate. The finals of both will take place back to back at 15:04 and 15:26 respectively on Pitch 2.

  • Pool A – Dubai Hurricanes 1s, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2s, Al Ain Amblers, Kuwait Scorpions
  • Pool B – Dubai Tigers, Emirates Firebirds 2s, Sharjah Wanderers, Dubai Hurricanes 2s
  • Pool C – Abu Dhabi Harlequins 1s, RAK Rugby, Emirates Firebirds 1s, DSC Eagles

Yalla Rugby team 2016

Yalla Kukri Dubai 7’s Squad

For those who aren’t sure who to support at the Dubai 7’s this year… why not come and support our very own Yalla Kukri squad who will be facing the Red Sea Sharks on Pitch 6 at 17:40, Jebel Ali Dragons 2s on Pitch 5 at 20:20 on the Thursday evening and the Amman Nomads on the Friday at 19:40.

Also hoping to make an impact this year are the inaugural Kukri Cobras, a team of elite rugby 7s players selected through their achievements in the game at the highest level, from the likes of USA Eagles, England Rugby, Australian Rugby and Welsh Rugby. Be sure to check them out and join us in supporting them this year.

Article by: Huw Harrow

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

uaerf u18 girls rugby paris world games 2017

UAE Rugby Federation’s U18 Emirati girls continue their firsts by participating in the third edition of the Paris World Games, commencing Saturday July 8th (2017) in Paris, France.

For the first time, and with a focus on Paris’s 2024 Olympic hosting bid, the games will expand from solely hosting football to include badminton, basketball, handball, volleyball and sevens rugby. It is anticipated that over 700 teams across the five sports will compete over the week-long games.

In preparation of Rugby’s two-day tournament, UAE Rugby’s U18 Emirati girls team will participate in a 4-day training camp at France Rugby’s centre national du rugby, Marcoussis, France.

“This is an incredible milestone for UAE Rugby and for Emirati women in sport.”

UAE Rugby Board Member, Fawzia Faridoon said; “This is an incredible milestone for UAE Rugby and for Emirati women in sport.” “UAE Rugby’s coaching and development staff, our RDO Manager Sami Smara, Girls RDO Amira Ben Fikh Ali and Head Coach Apollo Perelini, have shown absolute commitment in growing the confidence and skills of our burgeoning Under 18 Emirati girls team, and we are thrilled to be participating in the 2017 Paris World Games.”

“UAE Rugby Federation recently entered into a long-term agreement with France Rugby to develop all levels of our player, and we are delighted to be able to use the facilities at their world-renowned National Centre ahead of the games.” added Faridoon.

UAE Rugby Federation Chairman, Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, was on hand at the team’s final Dubai training to wish them well in their campaign.

tom stapley dubai exiles

Tom Stapley – Former Exiles Player Selected For Ireland Rugby Sevens Squad

Tom Stapley, an ex Dubai Exiles player appears to be one step closer to his dream of a career in rugby. Stapley has been selected for Ireland’s extended sevens training squad.

The Exiles centre was sent on trial to Northern Ireland from the UAE last season, and he joined the academy of provincial side Ulster.

The former Jumeirah College schoolboy, who first aspired to a career in football as a goalkeeper before switching his attention to rugby, impressed to the extent he was retained for the season.

Now he has been named in a 32-man squad from which Ireland will select their team for the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series which begins in June.

He is delighted about the opportunity”

“He is delighted about the opportunity,” said Jacques Benade, the Dubai Exiles director of rugby.

“He has to go out, give it 100 per cent, and show what he can do. He was in the same squad last year, and just missed out on coming to the Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament.”

“Hopefully this year he can make it. He is a quality player, and with his size, speed and skill-level, it gives him opportunities to play up front and at the back as well.”

If Stapley does make the final cut for the Ireland sevens side, and the team themselves are successful, it could be the first step on a long road to playing back in Dubai in the format.

Ireland have a significant goal from playing on the European Grand Prix circuit. If they finish as one of the top two teams — excluding England, Scotland, Wales, France and Russia — they will play at next year’s Hong Kong Sevens.

That tournament involves a repechage competition, the winners which will qualify for the World Rugby Sevens Series for the 2018/19 season. Dubai will likely be the opening leg of that series.

By Paul Radley

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.

Yalla Rugby sevens team 2016

The Yalla Rugby inaugural sevens 2016 team enjoyed some great rugby at this years opening Emirates Airlines Rugby Sevens tournament held at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai.

It was the first Yalla Rugby squad to enter the Dubai 7s, as they took to the field wearing their eye catching rugby kit.

For a rugby side to come together for the first time and compete in the Gulf Mens Open competition, we really had our work cut out. As a unit, the Yalla Dubai Sevens rugby squad had never collectively been in the same place at the same time before, due to various commitments from the players in the build up to the Dubai Sevens.

With a couple of older heads in the side, balanced with some youthful skilled players, we felt we could make a decent impact in the Pool A league, hope fully progressing into the finals and winning some silverware.

Pool A League

Our first match was against the Beirut Select side from Lebanon. Starting strong, they quickly chalked up a couple of tries against us, but not without a great fight back from the Yalla boys. We almost stole the game from them in the dying seconds but a dubious forward pass let the ref blow for the end of the match making the final score 19 – 26 to Beirut.

Next up we were against the Red Sea Sharks. Now this was the game where Yalla Rugby really came together. After the disappointment of the first match, our team felt they had a point to prove. With a great display of running rugby we ran in a convincing scoreline of 46-0 winners.

Our final Pool A match was against local side Dubai Exiles 2nd XV. The Exiles beat the Beirut Select 36-19 so were clear favourites. This was a must win game if we wanted to progress into the Trophy finals. With one of our players ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a broken hand, we were a vital substitute down going into this match. Exiles scored first but Yalla fought back fatigue and put 17 points on the board. Final score 17-7 to Yalla Rugby.

Quarter Finals

With the heavy win over the Red Sea Sharks, Yalla topped the table and had secured our place in the Trophy quarter finals against the Amman Nomads. After a hard fought game and plenty of tired and bruised bodies, we just missed out progressing any further in the competition as we lost 10-14 to the Nomads.

We may not have won any silverware this year, but we certainly made an impact and a name for ourselves. We’re incredibly proud of our achievements and will certainly be looking to put a strong side into the Dubai Sevens with a view to bringing home a cup winners medal.

Huge thanks to all the players, sponsors and organisers. Bring on 2017!!!!

By Alex Johnson

UAE girls rugby training with new zealand all black ferns women


UAE Rugby Federation announce schedule for this week’s first ever U18 Girl’s Rugby International Sevens Tournament



The UAE Rugby Federation have today announced the schedule for this week’s first ever UAE U18 Girl’s Rugby International Sevens Tournament which is to be held at local Dubai rugby ground – Sports City.

Within the last few days, the UAE Rugby U18 Girls have been finishing off their training preparations with the New Zealand All Black Ferns. Yalla Rugby were invited along to the interactive training session with the girls which took place at the prestigious – Repton School on Saturday.

The girls were also joined by the Apollo Perelini Rugby Skills Academy U18 Girls squad, the brainchild of founder and former international rugby union and rugby league professional, Apollo Perelini.

Inaugural Rugby U18 Girl’s International Sevens Tournament

Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan will be joined by a historic, first-ever all-Emirati UAE side, who will compete in the 5-round tournament on November 30th and December 1st, at Dubai Sports City (Dubai), kicking off at 13:30.

This tournament is a dream come true for UAE Rugby”

“This tournament is a dream come true for UAE Rugby” said Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General of Asia Rugby and Secretary General of the UAE Rugby Federation. “We are incredibly proud to be fielding an all-Emirati girl’s sevens team, and we are very excited with the possibilities that lay ahead for our girls. We are especially thrilled to have our newly elected Chairman, His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum Al Juma Maktoum, attend the players final training session (on Monday) ahead of Wednesday’s start.”

Al Dhalai went on to say “Also, this is one Asia Rugby’s KPIs, to have structured competitions for men’s and women’s U18 and Taiwan 7’s Men’s (which was held in Aug 2016 with 6 Asian Teams). And now UAE has initiated the equal step to have a women’s U18 7s, we are delighted it’s happening now – in following years they won’t only be sanctioned by Asia Rugby but run and organised by Asia Rugby”

This year’s Dubai Rugby Sevens is especially exciting for UAE Rugby as it will see the final of the UAE Rugby U18 Girl’s Sevens Tournament played on Friday afternoon at the Sevens.

UAE Rugby is very committed to the Olympic value of gender inclusion”

UAE Rugby Board Member Fawzia Mohammed Faridoon added “UAE Rugby is very committed to the Olympic value of gender inclusion. Our board has embraced the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak – wife of the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – and Her Highness Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum ‎- the wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – of empowering UAE’s females in every aspect of life today. Through this vision we have set a very ambitious goal to have a ratio of 40% female players against 60% male players within the next five years.”

Rugby Schedule

Wednesday November 30th U18 Rugby Schedule
113:30R1KazakhstanVHong Kong
314:10R1IndiaVSri Lanka
415:30R2UAEVHong Kong
616:10R2KazakhstanVSri Lanka
817:50R3Hong KongVSri Lanka
Thursday December 1st U18 Rugby Schedule
1013:30R4IndiaVHong Kong
1113:50R4Sri LankaVUzbekistan
1315:30R5Hong KongVUzbekistan
1415:50R5Sri LankaVUAE

dubai rugby sevens 2016



Theres less than a week to go until the Dubai Rugby Sevens 2016

The ‘biggest party on the planet’ will open its doors again on Thursday for a non-stop 3 day rugby fest, with olympic medalists in tow creating a brand new spectacle of entertainment to ensure a thrilling weekend for rugby fans, party-goers and first-timers. With the Dubai 7s being one of the biggest sporting events of the year, you can expect huge numbers (an estimated 100,000) attending with the majority of fans in fancy dress, the 7s is guaranteed to be the 2016 event that you really don’t want to miss!

The Thursday tends to be the quietest day due to there being no international teams playing and is normally considered ‘family day’ and entry is free. Although there really is entertainment for all ages from the Saaba 7s Club Nursery to the Virgin Radio Teen Tent and of course the Heineken tent for the ‘adults’. With free entry for under 12s for the entire weekend, the family offering at the 7s continues to get better and better each year.

Buses will be organised on the Friday and Saturday to take you back to central locations across Dubai which means you can enjoy the day and not have to worry about how you will be getting home!

The international tournament isn’t the only place you will see some famous rugby faces. There is always a whole host of rugby legends attending the event for the invitational tournament as well with the Joining Jack team normally packed with retired professional players of the game and last year saw Owen Farrell running on as water boy!

With the netball tournament included, the Dubai Rugby Sevens will see 324 teams, 937 matches and an incredible 4,866 players all aiming to entertain the fans and hopefully be lifting a trophy by the end of the weekend. Defending champions and olympic gold medalists Fiji will be looking to defend their crown and continue their domination of the world sevens circuit. They will kick-off their tournament against Canada on the Friday.

Be sure to come and say hi to our very own Yalla Kukri Rugby team that are competing in this years Gulf Mens Open Tournament. We’ll have photographers snapping away, so be sure to give them a wave!!

Ticket Prices (general admission) are: Thursday – FREE ADMISSION; Friday, in advance AED 300, on the day AED 400; Saturday, in advance AED 300, on the day AED 400; season tickets (Friday and Saturday), in advance AED 500, on the day AED 600, while children under 12 are admitted for free.

By Tom Davies

7s rugby

Our rugby fitness expert – Max Physick gives some invaluable advice for the ultimate performance at this years Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens


It’s that time of year again. Teams here in Dubai have started their Christmas break from 15s, and the autumn internationals are in full swing with some great rugby being played.

As some teams wind down match day Fridays and up the training over the coming months, competitive focus now shifts to 7s rugby, with the Eden Park tournament and the Dubai Sevens just around the corner.

Most teams in the region will be entering a squad into each competition, with the Dubai Sevens obviously being the bigger and arguably more attractive event to succeed in. Whether you’re part of a serious entry or less so, it is a great opportunity to enjoy a weekend of competition, team-bonding and socialising with some high standard rugby available to play and watch.

With such potential high-level performances comes a great deal of planning & preparation, both on the pitch and in the kitchen, to ensure player & team are ready for the fast-paced, fitness-demanding 14 minutes of lactic acid following the whistle.

As there are only 7 players in each team covering a full-sized pitch, the physical demands of 7s rugby is different to that of 15s. Due to this, you will generally see more of the back row and back line players making up the squads than the big front 5 (however not always the case).

I remember my first outing as a 7s player, bearing in mind that my usual position is hooker, sitting at 80-90kg (depending on my body composition and period of training) and 176cm. My usual tactic is hit first and ask questions later, however I soon learned that this is not the best strategy during 7s. ‘Marking’ players, covering ground and using space and width to your advantage is a much better idea so as to not gas yourself out through contact.

Let’s break this down and talk about energy systems. You have 3 energy systems during exercise that your body will use depending on the intensity and level of exertion.

In order of preferential use:

  1. Phosphocreatine System (PC) – explosive, fueled by ATP
  2. Aerobic System – sustained activity, fueled by fat & oxygen
  3. Anerobic/Alactate System – higher intensities but shorter duration, fueled by sugar as a preferred source

rugby tackle

During collisions and contact situations, you are exerting more resistive/explosive force (as if you were moving weight), in concentric, eccentric and isometric patterns (think lifting, lowering and holding) in response to whatever position you are in with regard to your opposition. For example, if you are clearing over the ball in a breakdown, that will be largely explosive concentric as you are moving forward at pace into resistance, whereas if you are driving against a well matched pack in a scrum and not moving, this would be isometric as you would be contracting against force without going either forward or backwards.

These types of muscle actions, together with sprinting use the PC system, which can sustain output for around 10 seconds before fatigue sets in and your body switches over to a different system – the anaerobic system (which produces lactic acid as a waste product, hence why your legs burn like hell after pushing for extended periods).

Linking back to the original point; 7s is predominantly an aerobic and anaerobic activity, depending on how hard you are working and what your anaerobic threshold is (how much you can handle pre-fatigue). If you were to exert these powerful forces in contact situations, expend your PC system fuel reserves and then move directly into an anaerobic activity where you are running the length of the pitch, you are more than likely going to be sucking wind all the way from Al Ain after only a few minutes with your legs about to explode.

This is why I quickly realised the best defensive strategy was to not go full-pelt into the opposition, but to cover ground and make contact when necessary.

So, all these big words sound great, but how does it apply to me, you may ask?

dubai rugby sevens

You can use a combination of these energy systems during your training & preparation to effectively train your body to switch between energy systems and increase your overall fitness levels. You can combine all 3 into one session, or you can program single energy system sessions across the week; in experience however, you’d be better suited to combination sessions due to being more match specific. That doesn’t go to say that strength & conditioning takes a backseat however; lifting weights to build strength & mass is still important, but this type of conditioning work should also be included.

Match specificity is key here, as i’m sure you’re aware after experiencing the difference between pre-season and the first competitive fixture – it just doesn’t compare. You can be Mo Farah on the road and Bolt on the track, but when combined on the pitch with a Pocock character being an absolute nuisance at the breakdown, the demands just go to another level.

Let’s put these into work then, in an example of a combined training session below. Bear in mind that this is only an example and should be tailored to the individual/team demands where necessary.

Warm Up – 5-10 mins

Mobility, release and dynamic stretching, combined with light aerobic activity to raise heart rate and get the blood pumping.

PC System Work – 10-15 mins

Short sprint bouts of up 5-10 seconds and/or plyometrics

Note – this should always be done at the start of the session.

Anaerobic System Work – 20-30 mins continuous

Sled drags, prowler pushes, tire flips etc., (partner resisted sprints if you don’t have access to this kit), immediately followed by distance run efforts (around 80% max effort) with short recovery.

Note – The idea here is to induce lactic acid build up and push through the barrier to the best of your ability. This then (theoretically) improves your lactate threshold (how much you can tolerate before exhaustion)

Aerobic System Work – 20-30 mins

This could be basic running drills such as pitch suicides/shuttle runs or just set distance efforts, again using short rest times to keep your lungs burning, though not too short to compromise performance due to jelly legs.

Combination Work

Now you can also put all of these together into a torturous circuit instead of a singular structure to really maximise your training returns, keeping the demands more match specific.

  • Sled Drag / Prowler Push for distance
  • Jog Return Recovery
  • Maximal Sprint
  • Tire Flips for distance
  • Jog Return Recovery
  • Partner Wrestle/Grapple
  • Jog Return Recovery
  • Best Effort Lap of the Pitch

Repeat this 3-5 times, throw up and pass out.

As you can see, the training from 7’s to 15’s is not too dissimilar in terms of using your 3 energy systems. It would be wise however to focus a lot more on running (aerobic & anaerobic) fitness as this is much more appropriate to the demands of sevens rugby. For example, during a 15’s match when a player makes a line break, he/she will more often than not sprint like hell (PC system followed by anaerobic – short lived) to the try line to secure the points. Compare this to 7s when there is a break, the player will get past the gain line / clear the opposition at a sprint or fast run (PC, anaerobic) and then slow down to a jog (aerobic) across the line to conserve their fuel.

So, if you’re feeling up to it, plug this into your weekly training / gym sessions over the next few weeks and see how it affects you. Even if you’re not competing in the upcoming 7s tournaments, it will be great fitness and will only benefit your health and body composition.

By Max Physick

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