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Division 2 Rugby clubs withdraw from 2019/20 league

Dubai Knights 3rd XV in action against Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3rd XV

UAE Division 2 Rugby Teams Withdrawn

The second half of the Gulf Rugby season has just kicked off after the winter break where most clubs break away for the Sevens Rugby season. So far it hasn’t been the best start to 2020 for two of the UAE Division 2 Rugby Clubs as we can confirm that two teams have withdrawn from the competition.

The Dubai KnightsEagles and Dubai Shaheen have withdrawn from the competition after struggling to fulfil their fixtures throughout the first half of the season.

Division 2 began the 2019/20 season with ten clubs, all looking to compete amongst each other in what is still viewed as the “social rugby” scene and also previously known as the Community League. Teams play their fixtures every fortnight, so there is less pressure for players to commit to training unlike the upper Division 1 and Premiership leagues which have a much busier schedule throughout the season and the need to perform at a more competitive level week in week out.

Click the button below to view upcoming fixtures from the UAE Division 2 league

Your official guide to Gulf Rugby 2019

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

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

west asia champions 2018-19


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

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

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

Premiership Teams

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

dubai tigers conference rugby champions 2018/19

Division 1

Holders: Dubai Tigers

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

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

Division 1 Teams

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

Dragons UAE Community Champions 2018/19

Division 2

Holders: Jebel Ali Dragons

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

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

Division 2 Teams

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

dubai eagles womens sevens rugby series champions 2018 19

Womens Sevens Series

Holders: Dubai Eagles

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

Womens Teams

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

mens gulf rugby fixtures announced

Jump Right In…

Mens 2019/20 Rugby Fixtures

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

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

West Asia Premiership – Round 1 Preview

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

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

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

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

UAE Division 1 – Round 1 Preview

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

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

UAE Division 2 – Round 1 Preview

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

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

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


uae national rugby squad announcement 2019

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

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

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

stephen ferguson uae rugby player

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

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



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


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

gulf rugby season preview 2018

2018/19 Gulf Rugby Season Preview

The start of the 2018/19 Gulf Rugby season is now upon us and with pre-season in full swing at most of the nation’s rugby clubs, it’s time to look ahead at the action in store for us and see how all of the domestic league competitions are shaping up. The summer has not been without its usual period of change as clubs come to terms with the usual spate of player arrivals and departures. Here’s what we know about how things will line up this season.

Jump Right In

UAE/West Asia Premiership

West Asia Premiership season 2018-19

UAE Premiership season 2018-19

Holders: Jebel Ali Dragons (West Asia) and Dubai Exiles (UAE)

Format: A straight league set up with all sides playing each other home and away over three rounds (Home, Away, Home). The champions of the West Asia Premiership will be decided between the top four teams after all league rounds are complete via playoff semi finals and final. Likewise, the top four UAE based outfits (discarding results against Bahrain) will have a semi final playoff to see who will play on finals day for the right to be crowned UAE Premiership Champions.

Ins and Outs: After a difficult season which saw them finish bottom of the pile with only one win, Abu Dhabi Saracens have decided to be relegated to the Conference league this year as they embark on a rebuilding phase.

UAE/West Asia Premiership Teams

Bahrain, Dragons, Eagles, Exiles, Harlequins Hurricanes

UAE Conference

UAE conference season preview 2018-19

Holders: Dubai Tigers

Format: Pay attention because things are about to get a little complicated in the second tier of Gulf rugby!

The ten UAE Conference sides have been split into two groups who will each play home and away fixtures during the first half of the season. Group A are formed of all UAE Premiership represented clubs and Group B are all other UAE rugby clubs. They will all fall under one league table this year with no split league as seen in previous years.

Part two of the season will see the sides face opposition from outside their group but only once. Points earned are added to their initial group totals. The season then culminates with the top two sides from each group entering the knockout stages with the Conference final scheduled for the end of March 2019.

UAE Conference Teams

Group A:
Harlequins 2s, Eagles 2s, Exiles 2s, Hurricanes 2s, Dragons 2s

Group B:
Amblers, Saracens, Knights, Sharks, Tigers

Ins and Outs: The Conference league was dealt a blow this week with the withdrawal of last season’s runners up and one of the UAE’s oldest rugby clubs, Sharjah Wanderers, citing lack of numbers. They will be replaced by the Dubai Eagles 2s who played their first season of Community rugby last year. Abu Dhabi Saracens 1s have dropped down from the UAE and will only field one team this season.

UAE Community

UAE Community season preview 2018-19

Holders: Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3s

Format: An initial league stage with each side playing each other once, aiming to secure a top two finish and a place at finals day where the champions will be decided.

Ins and Outs: Unsurprisingly for a league that fluctuated in size over the course of last season, the UAE Community rugby competition has seen its fair share of off-season activity. Barrelhouse, a club that is well established on the 7s circuit, make a welcome league debut whilst the Shaheen have also signalled an intent to return to the competition this year. Dubai Tigers’ expanding squad size sees them enter a 2s team for the first time. The Dubai Hurricanes will not field a 3rd team this year so will not participate in Community rugby. Disappointment comes in the shape of the Beaver Nomads, traditionally a team to beat at Community level, being forced to withdraw from this year’s competition.

UAE Community Teams

Amblers 2s, Barrelhouse 1s, Dragons 3s, Harlequins 3s, RAK 1s, Shaheen 1s, Sharks 2s, Tigers 2s

uae womens rugby season preview 2018

Womens Rugby

Holders: Dubai Eagles

Format: We’ll be doing a dedicated Womens Rugby article closer to their first set of fixtures (5th October), but to give you an idea of what to expect this season, there will be eight rounds of rugby where we’ll see Sevens rugby played at Harlequins, Hurricanes, Amblers, Saracens, Sharjah, Tigers and finally Eagles.

This season, there will be an invitational 15-a-side match held on finals day at The Sevens Stadium, alongside the other mens rugby Premiership, Conference and Community league finals which will be held on the 29th March 2019 which should bring the close to the season to an exciting climax this year with all levels featured on the final day.

uae mini youth rugby season preview 2018

Mini & Junior Rugby

This season we will hopefully see the Mini and Youth Rugby results and league tables featured for the first time on the website. We’re really looking forward to bringing you as much of the rugby action as possible here in the Middle East, so be sure to check back on a weekly basis.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Arab Rugby Sevens Jordan 2017

All-Emirati Side Representing UAE At Arab 7’s In Jordan

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UAE Rugby will be represented by an all-Emirati men’s 7-a-side at this coming weekend’s Arab 7’s tournament.

In its third year, the tournament will be played in Jordan over the coming weekend of Friday October 6th, and Saturday October 7th.

“Our board has selected a side of strong, experienced Emirati rugby players, with only one new player making his 7’s debut.” said UAE Rugby Federation Board Member Mohamed Shaker. “We are looking forward to very competitive games, as our Pool consists of very capable teams which we will not underestimate. We are confident our players will put forward a very strong challenge and produce the winning results.”

UAE kick-off their campaign, on Friday, against Iraq at 10:30, followed by Jordan at 14:00, finish day one’s pool games with Libya at 18:30 (times local).

UAE olympic rugby 7s team


UAE Olympic Rugby 7s Dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emirates UAE Rugby Roundup


UAE Rugby Roundup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A look ahead to the next round

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

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

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

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

By Tom Davies

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

UAE Rugby Secretary General, Qais Al Dhalai said;

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

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

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

Perelini went on to say;

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

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

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

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Emirates Airline Renews Sponsorship of UAE Rugby Federation

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

Dubai Rugby UAE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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UAE Rugby Dubai Eden Park Sevens (7’s) Series

The UAE Rugby Federation (UAERF) has announced the dates for this years UAE Rugby Dubai Eden Park Sevens (7’s) Series. The popular tournament will spread over two Fridays; the first round on November 20th at the Dubai Sharks home ground at Dubai Sports, with the final round being played at Al Ain Amblers Rugby Club (Al Ain) on Friday November 27th.

“UAERF is very proud to bring the UAE Rugby Eden Park 7’s two-day tournament to the UAE rugby community for a fourth year, and we are delighted this tournament has become a firm fixture on the domestic calendar. This time of the year sees the rugby mindset shift sharply from the XV’s to the 7’s format and, with most UAE clubs participating in the Gulf Men’s Open division of the highly-popular Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7’s, we are pleased to provide a strong platform for our clubs to prepare.” said Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Federation’s Secretary General. “We expect to see quality 7’s rugby played and wish all clubs an enjoyable two-day tournament.”

Franck Mesnel, founder of Eden Park commented, “Eden Park, and I, are proud of our long standing relationship with the UAE Rugby Federation. We are encouraged by the development of rugby in the GCC region and the commitment shown by the UAERF to transmit the values of the game across a wide spectrum of nationalities and level of skill. We are very pleased to see the Eden Park 7’s series become a popular, permanent fixture in the calendar, and we hope it will continue to contribute to the development of 7’s in the country, both for expatriates and UAE Nationals alike.”

After the Shaheen’s performance at the recent Dubai Airports International Sevens Tournament, Apollo Perelini (Shaheen’s 7’s and XV’s Coach) believes his team will be in a good position to capitalise on the experience and put forward another quality performance at the Eden Park 7’s. “We’ve seen reasonable progress with the local Emirati players over the past few months. And by being exposed to another high-level 7’s tournament, and participating in the Eden Park 7’s, I am confident these players will develop a stronger belief in their skills and gain more trust in their abilities. We’ll be fielding 2 (all-Emirati) Shaheen teams and the aim at series end will be to select a strong Emirati side to contest the Gulf Men’s Open division at the Dubai Rugby 7’s.” “I’m looking forward to seeing how both Shaheen sides perform at the (Eden Park 7’s) tournament.”

Alongside the action on the pitch, both Dubai Sports City and the Al Ain Rugby Club 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 days out. “We encourage, and look forward to all rugby supporters joining us for what will be 2 great days of domestic 7’s rugby” added Mohamed Shaker, UAERF Board Member.

Both days’ fixtures are expected to start mid-morning and spectator entry to each tournament is free.

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Lebanon claim Inaugural UAE Rugby Dubai Airports International 7’s tournament title

A strong Lebanon 7’s team lifted the winner’s trophy in Friday’s UAE Rugby Dubai Airports International 7’s tournament, played at Dubai’s Sevens Stadium.

“Our congratulations go to Lebanon, who were convincing in each of their pool games, and incredibly disciplined in both their semi final (posting a 42-7 win over Qatar) and a thrilling, close final against Shaheen (14-12)’ said newly appointed Arab Rugby Chairman, Qais Al Dhalai. “From UAE Rugby’s perspective we are very proud of the progress made by Shaheen. Their performance throughout the day, and in the final, has shown dividends from their hard work with Apollo (Perelini). We now look forward to Shaheen playing a more competitive game throughout the season.”

UAE Shaheen come runners up in the rugby Airports International 7s tournement

“The way UAE Shaheen came together as a team against a very good side and stayed in the game right down to the end speaks volumes about how much they have improved in recent months.”

Commenting on the tournament, Al Dhalai said, “This tournament was an effort from the newly established the Arab Ruby Federation. We were delighted to host 4 of our 9 member unions (within Arab Rugby) for the inaugural UAE Rugby Dubai Airports International 7’s tournament, and will work closely with each union for more teams to participate at what we envisage will be an annual tournament”. “Our sincere thanks goes to Dubai Airports for their support and sponsorship of both UAE Shaheen and this developmental 7’s tournament.” added Al Dhalai.

“The way UAE Shaheen came together as a team against a very good side and stayed in the game right down to the end speaks volumes about how much they have improved in recent months. We are very proud of the team and the coach for all their hard work and commitment and we believe the UAE Shaheen is well on its way to becoming a side to reckon with.” said Anita Mehra, Vice President of Communications & Business Development at Dubai Airports.

shaheen uae rugby airports international 7s runners up in action

The annual UAE Rugby Dubai Airports International 7’s has been designed for emerging teams to participate and be exposed to an international tournament against teams of the same skill and fitness.

4 teams participated in the inaugural tournament, including Dubai Airports UAE Shaheen, KSA, Lebanon, and the first all-Qatari National team.

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