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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 Kukri sevens team 2016


The Yalla Kukri 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 collaboration between Yalla Rugby and Kukri Sports ME (and hopefully not the last), 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 Kukri Sevens 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 Kukri 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 Kukri.

Quarter Finals

With the heavy win over the Red Sea Sharks, Yalla Kukri 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


Yalla Kukri Rugby Sevens Trails 2016


Yalla Kukri Trials Day

Yalla Rugby have teamed up with Kukri Sports Middle East for this years Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament which kicks off in just under 3 weeks time.

Our inaugural team which will be known as Yalla Kukri, are extremely excited to be part of this years tournament which is on track to see the biggest ever turnout. Competing in the Gulf Mens Open competition sees us up against teams such as Beirut Select, Red Sea Sharks and Dubai Exiles 2’s in the pool matches before hopefully progressing to the finals.

There are still openings available for players to take part in the first ever Yalla Kukri Rugby team. Trials will be held this Saturday at 16:30 located at Nord Anglia International School (location below).

We welcome all players looking to play in this years Dubai Sevens, to join us for a trials session at the school.

Player who are selected to play in this exclusive squad will be guaranteed free entry into the competition, full training kit, match day kit and commemorative rucksack and some well earned refreshments throughout the weekend!

Please note: Players must be 18 and over and hold a UAE Residents Visa.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our principal sponsors – Project Partners and Confident Dental & Skin Care Clinic for their support, without whom this would not have been possible.

Anyone interested in joining, please contact either Alex Johnson on +971 56 979 4438 or Gwillym Poole on+971 50 409 0728.

Training Location

Nord Anglia International School
Centrally located in Al Barsha, 5 minutes from Sheikh Zayed road and directly off Hessa Street.

J9 Legends vets champions 2016 Dubai Sevens winners



J9 Legends, defending International Vets Champions, prepare to repeat stellar winning performance in 2016’s Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby’s Sevens.

With the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens fast approaching defending International Vets Champions, J9 Legends, drive is two-fold; to successfully defend their title and to drive high J9 Foundation‘s goal to raise awareness of Motor Neuron Disease (MND).

Waisale Serevi widely considered as the best 7’s player of all time will once again steer this illustrious team, which collectively boasts an impressive 156 International caps, into their 4th campaign. The J9 Legends jersey has been worn by players such as Thinus Delport (South Africa), Nasoni Roko (Fiji), Villiami Vaki (Tonga), Waisale Serevi (Fiji), Carlos Spencer (New Zealand), Stephen Larkham (Australia) and Colin Charvis (Wales), to name a mere few.

In the build-up to the Dubai Rugby 7’s weekend, the J9 World Legends extend a challenge to all rugby fans to pit their rugby knowledge against the Legends themselves at the ‘Big Rugby Quiz night’, where several questions have been identified by Joost himself. The quiz night and BBQ will be held at the Novotel World Trade Center, Dubai, Wednesday November 30th at 6.00pm.

Founded in 2011, the J9 Foundation was established by South African Rugby great, Joost Van Der Westhuizen, after he was diagnosed with the disease (in 2011). The foundation’s mandate is to create and drive awareness of the disease as well as provide much-needed support to sufferers and their families.

For the 2016 campaign, the J9 Foundation has partnered with the Al Jalila Foundation. The Al Jalila foundation is a global philanthropic organisation focused on medical education and research. It was founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai in April 2013. Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, set to open in 2017 in Dubai Healthcare City, is expected to be a beacon for regionally-relevant medical innovation, produced by home-grown biomedical researchers.

To reserve your place (or places) in the Big Rugby Quiz visit, or email Frances Archer at

Dubai Sharks to Host 2016 Eden Park Sevens Tournement


UAE Rugby has today announced the 2016 edition of the UAE Rugby Eden Park Sevens (7’s) which will be a 1-day tournament hosted by the Dubai Sharks, at their home ground in Dubai Sports City, on Friday November 18th.

Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Federation’s Secretary General said:

“UAE Rugby is very proud to bring, for a fifth year, the UAE Rugby Eden Park 7’s through a 1-day tournament.”

“This time of the year sees the rugby community focus heavily on the 7’s format of our game and with the majority of clubs participating, once again, in the Gulf Men’s Open division of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7’s, we are acutely cognisant of the Federation’s requirement and ability to provide the opportunity for our UAE-based clubs to adequately prepare.”

He went on to say:

“We thank the Sharks for hosting the tournament for a second year, and we wish all clubs the best on the day.”

Franck Mesnel, founder Eden Park commented:

“We are delighted the Eden Park 7’s has such a solid following, both Expatriates and UAE Nationals, from across the UAE. Eden Park, and I, remain very proud of the relationship formed with the UAE Rugby Federation and we remain encouraged by the development of the game across the Gulf Regions through various new Sevens’s initiatives implemented in the past year focusing on, and supporting the growth of indigenous talent.”

Supporting the action on the pitch, Dubai Sports City will host various fun, interactive competitions which will be open to all members of the family and where some fantastic Eden Park prizes can be won. Extensive food and beverage offerings will also be available adding to what will be two enjoyable day out. “We are expecting quality 7’s rugby to be played on the 18th, and encourage all rugby supporters to join us and support their club for what will be a great day of domestic 7’s rugby” added Ibrahim Buhamer, UAERF Board Member.

The day’s fixtures are expected to start early-morning and spectator entry to the tournament is free.

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Land Rover joins HSBC as co-Principal Partner of UAE Rugby’s Emirati grass roots Player Pathway Programme

Launched in 2012 the Player Pathway Programme brings the game of rugby to over 6,800 Emirati children across 30 National schools

UAE Rugby’s Player Pathway Programme is set for an exciting 2016 with HSBC announcing they are to renew their support for a further 3 years, while Land Rover is unveiled as the programme’s co-principal partner (in a multi-year agreement). Today’s unveiling signals a continuation of support from HSBC and the addition of Land Rover to bolster UAE Rugby’s unique all-Emirati grass-roots rugby development programme.

Launched in 2012 the UAE Rugby Player Pathway Programme (PPP) has enjoyed three successful years of bringing the game of rugby (following the World Rugby’s ‘Get into Rugby’ programme), overseen by three regional development officers, to over 30 National schools reaching over 6,800 Emirati children across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai. Through the support of Land Rover and HSBC, UAE Rugby now have the opportunity to continue growing the programme in these Emirates while expanding into Northern Emirates where there is a significant opportunity for growth.

Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General UAE Rugby said, ”We are very grateful to HSBC for the support and commitment they have shown for the past three years and, collectively, we have been rewarded through the efforts of the programme by seeing a number of PPP players progress to the next development level – the Shaheen (an all-Emirati 7’s) Development Programme – and we are thrilled HSBC have renewed for another three-year term. We are extremely excited that Land Rover have chosen to align with UAE Rugby’s Emirati grass roots programme, as their combined support with HSBC allows us to grow the programme in existing Emirates and take the programme into the Northern Emirates and work toward our 2017 goal of 9,000 Emirati children actively playing rugby at school level, and subsequently increase the number of Emirati players moving through our development levels. I’m also very thankful to the Ministry of Education who has supported the PPP over the last three years and is committed to further enhance the programme with additional accesses to new variety of state schools for boys and girls across the UAE.“ added Al Dhalai.

Land Rover has been at the heart of rugby, from the grassroots to the elite, for over two decades. We share the same passion, resolve and integrity that sits within the core of the game.

Commenting on Land Rover’s partnership with UAE Rugby, Chris Wilde, Brand Director for Jaguar Land Rover MENA said: “Land Rover has been at the heart of rugby, from the grassroots to the elite, for over two decades. We share the same passion, resolve and integrity that sits within the core of the game.”

He continued: “Our support of rugby in the region, with the Dubai Rugby 7s will now be further enhanced through our partnership with the UAE Rugby Federation. We are incredibly proud of our local involvement in this magnificent sport and our goal of supporting the growth of the game at grassroots, particularly among the Emirati population, by enhancing the enormous pride in this wonderful nation through our MYLAND initiative.”

David Kotheimer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, UAE said: “This is a game-changing opportunity for aspiring young players in the UAE and as a global banking and financial services organisation, we pride ourselves on opening up a world of opportunities for people. Through our sponsorships like the UAE Rugby’s Player Pathway Programme, we also create a positive legacy by investing in youth development and grassroots programmes.”

“Rugby’s most important season is kicking-off this weekend in Dubai with the world’s top men’s and women’s players taking centre stage in the opening round of the new-look HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series; this is the perfect moment to show our commitment to the long term future of the local game.”

Supporting the in-school programme, the UAE Rugby Player Pathway Programme conducts up to ten annual PPP rugby festivals, with the highlight being the National Schools tournament with eight Emirati schools competing, which is played on the Saturday of the annual Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7’s.

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