frequently asked questions about Gulf Rugby

frequently asked questions about Gulf Rugby

Are you interested in playing rugby in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere else in the United Arab Emirates? If the answer’s YES, then stick around as we’ve got all your questions answered below. If there is a question you need answering about playing rugby in Dubai then give us a shout and we’ll answer it for you.

All You Need To Know About Playing Rugby In The UAE

Q: How old do you have to be to play rugby in Dubai?

There is no age limit for playing rugby in Dubai.You can pick a rugby ball up a join one of the many training sessions held around the country, but to play in any senior competitive rugby match you will need to be over 18 years of age. Rugby Union training classes start from as young as two years of age. Players well in to their fifties are still making the odd appearance in social rugby club fixtures too.

Q: Do you play rugby on sand pitches in the desert?

Rugby in the Gulf has come on a long way over the past ten years. All of the matches played in any of the domestic leagues for men, women and children are played on grass pitches these days with some being of exceptional quality surfaces. The last remaining sand rugby pitch was the home ground for the then RAK Goats (now RAK Rugby).

Q: Do rugby players get paid to play rugby in the UAE?

No, at the moment there are no rugby clubs offering financial contracts to play rugby in the UAE. The level of rugby here is still very much played as an amateur sport.

Q: How can I find a rugby club in Dubai?

Dubai is the main city for rugby in the UAE and has nine rugby clubs all playing competitive rugby at various levels. You can find a rugby club in Dubai here. You can choose from the following rugby clubs that are situated within Dubai: Barrelhouse, Dragons, Exiles, Hurricanes, KnightsEagles, Shaheen, Sharks, Tigers, Warriors.

Q: How can I find a rugby club in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi, although the capital of the UAE only has three official rugby clubs that compete in the domestic Gulf leagues. You can find a rugby club in Abu Dhabi here or choose from the following: Al Ain Amblers, Harlequins, Saracens.

Q: How can I find a rugby club in Sharjah?

There is only one rugby club situated in the Emirate of Sharjah and they are the Sharjah Wanderers RFC. One of the oldest rugby clubs n the region.

Q: How can I find a rugby club in Ras Al Khaimah?

There is only one rugby club situated in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and they are RAK Rugby club, also once known as the Rak Goats.

Q: How much does it cost to play rugby in the UAE?

To play rugby for any of the local rugby clubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah or Ras Al Khaimah you will need to pay club fees and have full medical insurance. Club fees vary with some clubs including medical insurance within their package. Fees last for one season at a time and are renewed every new season.

Q: Can I play for a team if I am visiting the United Arab Emirates?

You can only play rugby in the UAE you need to be have a residents visa and have an Emirates ID or have an application in progress. Without the official ID and appropriate visa, you will not be eligible to play rugby in the UAE. Tourist visa’s are not accepted.

Q: Who is in charge of Gulf Rugby?

The UAE Rugby Federation (UAERF) are the governing body for all rugby within the UAE and are one of the Member Unions of World Rugby. The UAERF contract Gulf Rugby Management (GRM) to oversee the day to day running of all the rugby leagues and competitions that are played within the UAE. GRM are situated over at The Sevens Stadium where the Dubai Sevens Rugby event takes place each year.

Q: Where can I go to watch a rugby match?

There are very few rugby clubs in the region that have their own official grounds and club house. Rugby matches in Dubai are played at one of the following venues: Jebel Ali Centre Of Excellence, Dubai Sports City, Dubai College and finally, The Sevens Stadium. If you want to attend a rugby match in Abu Dhabi, you can visit, Zayed Sports City Stadium, Al Ghazal Golf Club and the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club. To watch a rugby fixture in Sharjah, you can go to Sharjah Wanderers Sports Club. Finally to watch a rugby match in Ras Al Khaimah you can visit Al Hamra Golf Club.

Q: Can you drink alcohol at a rugby match in the UAE?

Within the confines of certain locations around the UAE you can drink alcohol during a rugby match. The following locations have alcohol being served during a game: Dubai Sports City Rugby Park, The Sevens Stadium, Al Ain Rugby Club, Al Ghazal Golf Club, Zayed Sports City, Sharjah Wanderers Sports Club, Jebel Ali Center of Excellence and Al Hamra Golf Club.

Dubai Rugby Sevens Gulf Rugby Guide 2019

Here’s your Gulf Rugby guide to the 2019 Dubai Rugby Sevens, which kicks off this coming Thursday 5th December

When the summer heat has dissipated, the Christmas songs are blasting and Toffee Nut Lattes are being served, you know it’s that special time of year again – the Dubai Rugby Sevens weekend is upon us!

Celebrating its 50th Year, the Dubai Rugby 7’s 2019 will no doubt be a huge spectacle. A reduction of rugby teams this year however, will be noticeable as Pitch 2 rolls out the red carpet to make way for Pop Queen – Kylie Minogue. As ever, we’ll stay focussed on the domestic rugby and provide you with all you need to know about what’s happening in the main Gulf Competitions for 2019:

Dubai Hurricanes - Gulf Mens Champions

Dubai Hurricanes – Gulf Mens Champions

Gulf Men’s League

The main tournament for domestic rugby followers, featuring the familiar names from the West Asia Premiership and won last year by tournament underdogs – Dubai Hurricanes when they beat Abu Dhabi Harlequins for first Dubai 7s title in over a decade. As with the nature of the Dubai7s, it’s always a tough call to predict a rugby club winning this tournament as it’s always so open. Any team could win this on the day! With the promotion of the Dubai Tigers up to the Premiership, they will feature in this years Gulf Mens League competition for the first time, but will also field a side in both Pool A and Pool B.

The teams will complete a pool stage round robin over the opening two days, looking to gain favourable seedings for the knockout stages, which culminate with the Final on 12:44pm in front of the main crowd on Pitch 1.

Pool A: Dubai Hurricanes, Bahrain RFC, Dubai Exiles, Dubai Tigers 2
Pool B: Jebel Ali Dragons, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Dubai KnightsEagles, Dubai Tigers 1

Gulf Womens Champions 2018 - Dubai Eagles

Gulf Womens Champions 2018 – Dubai Eagles

Gulf Women

Over the past three years, the women’s rugby game in both UAE and the wider region has grown emphatically. Previous champions DSC Eagles (now known as Dubai KnightsEagles) have won the tournament in the 2017 and 2018 competitions and the Dubai Hurricanes won the inaugural trophy back in 2016.  Of late in the domestic Sevens Series league, both clubs have been the dominant force in the women’s game and should prove to be a mouth watering fixture should they meet in the knockout stages of the competition, that is, unless one of the ever competitive teams below conjure up a surprise defeat to either side.

The teams are split in to four pools, the top two in each proceeding to the Trophy knockout stages and the bottom two entering the Plate. Womens Finals take place on Saturday with the Trophy to be contested at 16:20 on Pitch 2.

Pool A: Dubai KnightsEagles, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 1, Emirates Firebirds Pink, MusCATs
Pool B: Al Ain Amblers, AUC Wolves, Emirates Firebirds Blue, Amman Citadel
Pool C: Dubai Hurricanes, Sharjah Wanderers, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2
Pool D: Transforma Panthers, RAK Rides, Kuwait Scorpions, Dubai Tigers RFC

Gulf Mens Open winners 2018 - Roberts Constructions

Gulf Mens Open winners 2018 – Roberts Constructions

Gulf Men’s Open

A colourful mixture of sides from across West Asia will be making the trip to Dubai with 18 teams in total playing in four Pools that make up the Gulf mens Open this year. Last year won by Roberts Constructions, in a thriller against Sharjah Wanderers, just edging them to victory with a 15-12 win.

The pool stages once again spread across both days with two rounds on Thursday and a single round on Friday with knockout stages culminating on a busy Saturday. Group winners and three best runners up will enter the Trophy, remaining runners up, all third placed teams and the best of the groups back markers will compete for the plate. The Trophy final is scheduled for 15:40 on Pitch 2, immediately following the Plate which will be held on Pitch 6.

Pool A: Roberts Constructions, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2nd XV, Saudi Rugby, Sri Lions
Pool B: Abu Dhabi Saracens, Amman Citadel, Multiplex Bulls, Muscat RFC
Pool C: Al Ain Amblers, Ceylon Warriors, Riyadh Falcons, Dubai Sharks
Pool D: Kuwait Scorpions, Jebel Ali Dragons 2nd XV, Bahrain Firbolgs, UAE Shaheen

Dubai Celts - Gulf Mens Social Winners 2018

Dubai Celts – Gulf Mens Social Winners 2018

Gulf Men’s Social

Barrelhouse, Harlequins 3rd XV and RAK Rugby, all level on points in the domestic Division 2 league will be looking to use their recent good form in the fifteens game to their advantage in the Sevens game. Last year it was RAK Rugby who made it to the final, just pipping Barrelhouse in the quarters to unfortunately succumb to a strong Dubai Celts side 24-15 on a packed out Pitch 2.

Pool A: Dubai Celts, Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3rd XV, Ceylon, Jazan Nomads
Pool B: Rak Rugby, Dubai Lankans, Dhofar Nomads, AUC Wolves 2
Pool C: Mediclinic Barrelhouse Warriors, Red Sea Rugby, PDO Pirates, The Buss Pirates
Pool D: Emirates Flying Muppets, AUC Wolves 1, DAK Demons, SAFA Community School

Jebel Ali Dragons - Gulf Vets Winners 2018

Jebel Ali Dragons – Gulf Vets Winners 2018

Gulf Vets

The 10’s tournament focuses on over 35’s (veterans of rugby). Last year the Jebel Ali Dragons Vets lifted the Trophy for the second consecutive year as they scorched a 22-7 victory over Joining Jacks. This year sees sixteen teams (reduced from twenty three), battle out Pool rounds before being placed into Trophy and Plate knockout tournaments. Will the Dragons be on the hunt to make it three in a row for the Gulf Vets Trophy? The following teams will be looking to stop that from happening:

Pool A: Jebel Ali Dragons Vets, Ceylon Warriors, Riyadh Scorpions, Abu Dhabi French EFR
Pool B: Joining Jack, Rocktape Barrelhouse Vandals, Sharjah Wanderers, Bahrain Golden Oldies
Pool C: Musaffah Billy Goats, Abu Dhabi Harlequins Vets, Daddy Canes, Khobar Eagles
Pool D: Al Ain Amblers Vets, Dubai Hurricanes, Warrior Frogs, Dubai Sharks

Dubai Exiles - U19 Girls Winners 2018

Dubai Exiles – U19 Girls Winners 2018

Gulf Girls Under 19’s

In the Gulf U19 Girls competition, the previous two years have been dominated by the Dubai Exiles. They also made it to the final of the 2016 competition only to lose to a strong BSAK side. Last year the Exiles put an average of 35 points on each opposition and only conceded a total of 17 points throughout the whole weekend so will certainly be going into this year as one of the favorites.

Pool A: Dubai Exiles, Abu Dhabi French EFR, Al Ain Amblers, Al Maha
Pool B: Dubai KnightsEagles, British School Al Khubairat, Dubai English Speaking College, Dubai Hurricanes

Dubai College - U19 boys 2018 winners

Dubai College – U19 boys 2018 winners

Gulf Boys Under 19’s

The dominant Under 19 Youth Rugby Team to beat over the past two years at the Dubai Rugby Sevens has been Dubai College. In the 2018 Gulf Boys competition, the final was played out between a Dubai Collage A and B side as they saw off rivals BSAK and DESC to guarantee silverware for the local Dubai School based next to Al Sufouh. Always a superb showcase of up and coming talent from the Gulf region, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to watch some of the future stars of World Rugby cut their teeth in at the ceiling level of grass roots rugby.

In similar fashion to the mens rugby, there will be four Pools leading to Trophy and a Plate knockout stages. Below are the how the preliminary pool rounds will be decided:

Pool A: Dubai College, Deira International School, Al Ain Amblers, Warriors
Pool B: Dubai English Speaking College, Repton Royals, Jumeirah College, GEMS World Academy Dubai
Pool C: British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Dubai Hurricanes, Al Yasimina Academy
Pool D: Dubai Exiles, Jumeirah English Speaking School Blues, The English College, Bahrain Colts

Alex johnson - Yalla Rugby Founder

Yalla Rugby are delighted to announce that we have been selected as the official media and results partner for Gulf Rugby for the 2018/19 season. Gulf Rugby Management is a new organisation that is part of Emirates Airline – responsible for managing all competitive Mens, Women’s, Schools and Mini & Youth competitions in the UAE.

Operating out of The Sevens Stadium the Gulf Rugby Management team have been looking at ways to manage the publication of results, choosing Yalla Rugby as the obvious choice to be the official media partner. Under the new partnership, Gulf Rugby Management and Yalla Rugby will be hoping to increase the already huge interest in rugby union here in the UAE.

Yalla Rugby will be first to publish all official match fixtures and results and league table standings for the season. Founder of Yalla Rugby, Alex Johnson said;

“I’m really looking forward to the season ahead. I think the additional exposure that Yalla Rugby and Gulf Rugby Management will bring will be great for rugby here in the Middle East.”


Ghaith Jalajel with Alex Johnson and Stephen McCafferty from Gulf Rugby Management

Ghaith Jalajel with Alex Johnson and Stephen McCafferty from Gulf Rugby Management

Jim Fitzsimons, Manager of Gulf Rugby Management said;

“It was clear from our early conversations with Alex that his commitment and dedication to providing a first class service on the reporting of results and coverage of UAE rugby matches was just what we wanted. We are delighted to be working with him to help get timely publication of results and fixtures, including all Mini & Youth fixtures’.

It is sure to be a busy season again for rugby in the UAE and the Gulf. For all the latest news and results don’t forget to follow Yalla Rugby and check in every Friday night for the first look at the weekend results and every Sunday for confirmed results and table standings.

4 tips to find UAE expat Rugby Clubs In Dubai

So you’re an Expat ready to find a local rugby club in Dubai, or other Emirates of the UAE?

Here at Yalla Rugby we know first hand about finding a rugby club in Dubai. Becoming an expat and moving abroad to a foreign land can at first be a pretty daunting experience. You’re choosing to start a new life in a country unfamiliar to you, and whilst extremely rewarding, it can take a while to settle in and find your feet.

Once you are settled however, it’s then time for you to find a sense of normality and to start living your life the way you want it to be lived. Rugby for example, is a universally spoken language that people all across the globe can understand. Playing rugby in Dubai not only gives you some beneficial exercise, it’s also challenging, and it teaches you discipline and various other life skills in the process.

UAE Expat Rugby

If you’re new to expat life in Dubai, enjoying living in the fantastic climes of the United Arab Emirates, you’ll know right away that rugby clubs in UAE are spread out everywhere, as it’s an incredibly popular sport in this part of the world. If you yourself happen to be an avid rugby fan, looking to play expat rugby in Dubai, you’ll need to be on the lookout for a club to play for. Finding a rugby club in an unfamiliar part of the world however, can be tricky, which is why we’ve compiled this handy article on how to find the ideal rugby team and club to support, so you can get those rugby boots back on!

Dubai expat Rugby Clubs UAE

Finding An Expat Rugby Club In Dubai

The UAE Rugby Federation is the national governing body here in the United Arab Emirates. There are many different rugby clubs in Dubai, as well as numerous rugby teams and organisations with deep-rooted connections to the rugby world, so the clubs and teams are certainly out there, you just need to know how to find them. Check out our list of expat rugby clubs for a look at a list of local UAE rugby clubs. Looking at lists of this nature is ideal as we’ll give you a brief history of each club and the all important contact details for you to get in touch with to enquire about joining.

uae rugby clubs infographic 2016 - 2017


What Should I Expect When Playing Rugby In The UAE?

If you’ve moved to the UAE from a much cooler part of the world, one of the first things that you will immediately notice is just how incredibly hot it is in the United Arab Emirates. For that reason, before you commit to any Dubai rugby club or team, first you will need to know what to expect. For example, playing rugby matches, and training for rugby, outdoors in intense heat is not to be taken lightly. Playing rugby and training in extreme heat is very difficult and very taxing, so it’s vital that you stay well hydrated at all times. Not only will you have to contend with the physical challenges thrown at you on the rugby pitch, you also have the burning hot sun to deal with. Even evening games are sometimes very hot and sweaty. As well as that, there is the language barrier to contend with.

Ask Around For Advice

Another great tip for anybody looking to play UAE Expat rugby in Dubai, is to ask around for any recommendations/suggestions on clubs that may be looking for new players. Gyms are great places to begin your search as there is a big bodybuilding culture in the UAE, and if there’s one thing that rugby players are known for, it’s their huge size, strength, and their love of pumping iron in preparation of games.

So with that new knowledge in mind, we wish you the best of luck when choosing a rugby club in Dubai and the UAE!!!