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Jamie Clarke From The Tigers Has A Choosday Chat

Jamie Clarke Dubai tigers

Dubai Tigers Flanker Jamie Clarke has a quick Choosday Chat


Age: 33
Born: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Club: Dubai Tigers
Position: Flanker
Height: 180cm
Weight: 88kg

“I saw his wallet for the first time at the weekend, but only because his subs were due”

Do you have any nicknames?

It’s boring really, I just get JC, Clarkey or J.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of spare time. If I do and there are some waves in Dubai I’ll be out on the water, other than that I like to get outdoors as much as I can. I do try and get out of Dubai and travel as much as possible though.

Do you have any phobias?

Yeah, I hate snakes.

What do you miss most about New Zealand?

The outdoors along with the surf, the Kiwi food, the beer and of course, my family.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Probably Richard Branson, at least I could learn a thing or two whilst I was in there!

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

It’s a way of life back home in NZ. Most New Zealanders play rugby, it’s part of our culture and life growing up!

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

None of them because they are all pests…. haha Mandy Garry he’s got the best tan in the team!

Who has the worst Dress sense?

It would have to be Fitzy, because most of the time he doesn’t have any clothes on.

Who’s the tightest?

Noel, aka Leon Dashwood. I saw his wallet for the first time at the weekend, but only because his subs were due in at The Tigers!

How’s life in Dubai?

I can’t complain about life in Dubai, it’s been 12 years in the Middle East so pretty settled here right now and I recon I’ll be around the UAE for a bit longer!

What was the last brunch you went on?

Oktoberfest down at the Hyatt. A decent set up there.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Non that the general public need to know about!

What are the best things about Tigers?

It’s a great club, and an environment where rugby is the reason we show up week in week out, but there is also an understanding that family and work come first because that’s why people are here and it seems to be working well for us.

Who do you listen to to get pumped for a match?

Not much of a music man pre match to be fair, if it all, I’ll blast some sounds from back home, Six60, Fiji, Herbs, Katchafire.

Your Gulf Rugby 2018/19 Season Preview

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

Dubai Tigers Claim Maiden UAE Conference Title with Extra Time Golden Try

Dubai Tigers 25-20 Sharjah Wanderers (AET)

In a meeting of one of the UAE’s newest clubs and one with 40 years of history, it was the Dubai Tigers in just their fifth year in existence who claimed their first major XVs honours after a thrilling extra time win. Having held on to a slender 20-17 advantage for much of the second period in the face of a feocious Sharjah onslaught, the game was sent to extra time by a late Ryan Flaherty penalty. With the game to be settled by a first score wins ‘golden point’ rule, Flaherty then had the first chance to settle the outcome in extra time but on this occasion his attempt drifted wide.

The end when it did come was somewhat out of the blue, an innocuous looking punt downfield was allowed to bounce by the covering Sharjah Wanderers players, pivoting wickedly in to the arms of an onrushing Joe Barratt. In the melee that ensued, Pete Kelly’s outstretched arm was able to ground the ball, sending Tigers players into delirium.

Played out on a day where the mercury topped 33c at Sports City, the game was characterised by a contrast in styles between the Wanderers whose gameplan was built around set piece ascendency and a Tigers side who looked more threatening in broken field play with Liam Caldwell and Brian Odonga combining in the wide channels. Sharjah’s scrum dominance, anchored by David Lee and Garry Hanley, could well have been the decisive factor on another day, with a series of splintering drives early in the second half yielding a succession of penalties, two Tigers yellow cards and a penalty try to level the game at 17-17. It is a testament to the character of a Tigers side who had not tasted defeat since playing away to Sharjah back in November, that they were able to win the ensuing period where they were down to 13 men 3-0 curtesy of a Jack Simmons nudge set up by a 30 yard trundle from Gary Saitola. A series of Sharjah attacks could amount to nothing more than three points, their most fluent move seeing Fabrizio D’Amico held up over the line, with each turnover being cheered as if it were a try by a vocal Tigers supporting contingent.

There had been little to split the teams throughout the contest, two early scores cancelling each other out, Sharjah going ahead after an opportunistic grubber kick off the back of a scrum again the head catching Tigers unawares and allowing Mike Gormley to slide in. That lead was soon cancelled out by a score from Mark O’Donnell after a trademark powerful charge by loose-head Azmat Niazi whose early departure due to injury looked to have an influence on the one sided nature of the scrum contest. The two sides then traded penalties before a piece of individual brilliance from Shane Gibbons sent Tigers into the lead at half time, the fullback gathering his own chip kick ahead to score. Crucially given what was to follow captain Caldwell’s conversion deflected in after striking the left upright.

Dubai Tigers: Azmat Niazi, Matt Rawlinson, Leon Dashwood, Mark Odnell, Chris Sumner-Smith, Aaron Persico, Jamie Clark, Gary Saitola, Jon Poide, Callam Handford, Kenny Munier, Pete Kelly, Liam Caldwell, Brian Odonga, Shane Gibbons
Substitutes: Barry Lyon, Aaron Temple, Bernard Tsabang, Nenad Grbic, Sam Cross, Henry Frost, Joe Barratt, Jack Simmons

Sharjah Wanderers: David Lee, Darren Bowle, Garry Hanley, Tim Shepherd, Reuben Potaka, Gethyn Bugler, Patrick Barcoe, Isaac Porter, David Ermerins, Barry Enright, Shane Fowley, Nathan Wilson, Mike Gormley, Ryan Flaherty, Fabrizio D’Amico
Substitutes: Ante Bulat, Liam Bruce, Hugh Griesto, Dana van Wyck, Luke Banks, Shane Breen, Eoin Brenan, James Walsh

Our final weekly round up of the season ahead as league action comes to a close

uae rugby round up

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Our final weekly round up of the season ahead as league action comes to a close


Jump right in…

Team of the Week – Dubai Tigers

Dubai Tigers Team Of The Week

On a weekend where two West Asia Premiership Finals took place it would take a sensational result for a team outside those games to claim team of the week, but in dismantling Conference holders Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2s 73-0, that is exactly what Dubai Tigers produced. While Tigers went into this game as the form side in the division, having been unbeaten in the Top 5 playoffs, they had only weeks ago been held 20-20 by this same opposition. Harlequins may have been short of a number of regular players towards the end of this season, but the capital club have unrivalled strength in depth and rarely field an uncompetitive side at any level. So the manner of this victory will have Tigers installed as favourites come Finals day as they await the victors of Sharjah Wanderers vs Dubai Exiles 2s in the second semi final.

West Asia Premiership

With both semi finalists having produced an upset by winning away from home, Bahrain as the third ranked side, hosted this year’s West Asia Cup final with Dubai Exiles. Bahrain eventually ran out 47-25 winners in a contest played out in front of a bumper four figure attendance and many more watching online via a live stream curtesy of the Exiles media team (who gave us a great shoutout – Thanks Marc!!). They’re a team well deserved of a piece of silverware at the end of what has been a strong season for the ‘Red Wall’.

Things went to form in the West Asia Trophy where Dubai Hurricanes rounded off a disappointing campaign with a consolation trophy, seeing off Dubai Eagles 31-22. Despite Hurricanes taking home the Trophy title, Eagles will have taken plenty from this performance, and will believe that the gap between themselves and their city rivals is within touching distance at the end of their debut campaign.


dragons vs sharks

Aside from Tigers semi final win, Jebel Ali Dragons 2s warmed up for their bottom four final clash with Al Ain Amblers by brushing past bottom side Dubai Sharks 54-7.


dragons vs harlequins

Both scheduled fixtures were forfeited this week, meaning that Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3s qualify for the final where they’ll face Jebel Ali Dragons 3s in a repeat of last year’s fixture, just edging out the Beaver Nomads for a place in this years final.

Article by: Huw Harrow

UAE Rugby Roundup Week 4

Dubai Tigers are Yalla Rugby team of the week

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We bring you all of this weekend’s UAE Rugby action and we name Yalla Rugby’s team of the week.

Team of the Week – Dubai Tigers

We go in to the Conference again for our team of the week, with Dubai Tigers taking the accolade after recording a third straight win. The Sevens has been a particularly happy hunting ground for the Tigers in recent weeks with back-to-back away wins and if the 8-7 victory over Exiles 2s could have gone away this weekend’s 45-10 triumph over Hurricanes 2s was comprehensive. The performance is particularly notable, coming as it did against a Hurricanes side high on confidence after putting 100+ points on the board across their previous two games. Having finishing last season on a high by winning the bottom half, Tigers have clearly carried this momentum into the new campaign and sit third in the table just a point behind Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2s.

jebel ali dragons rugby


A Dubai derby double bill at the Sevens this weekend saw wins for Jebel Ali Dragons and Dubai Hurricanes. The Dragons edged out Exiles 23-18 in a close fought contest, while the Hurricanes 28-12 win over the Eagles indicates that the newcomers are already quickly getting up to speed with life in the Premiership.

Sharjah Wanderers rugby


The competitive nature of this year’s Conference is demonstrated by the fact only one side boast an unbeaten record at this early point in the season. Sharjah Wanderers maintained their 100% record with a 40-5 win over Arabian Knights, who remain without a point, but have to settle for second in the standings behind Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2s who themselves enjoyed a convincing 43-9 win over Jebel Ali Dragons 2s. Our team of the week Dubai Tigers are on a three game winning streak and up to third off the back of an impressive 45-10 win over Hurricanes 2s while Al Ain Amblers broke their duck for the season, in a characteristically high scoring affair 54-15 over Dubai Sharks.

Article By: Huw Harrow

Conference League Preview

Wanderers vs Dragons UAE Conference league 2017

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Whats New With The UAE Conference League?

  • Dubai Wasps will not compete this year
  • Abu Dhabi Saracens 2s drop to the Community league
  • Arabian Knights and Dubai Sharks to play at new home venues

amblers harlequins conference rugby final 2017

Will the Al Ain resurgence continue?

It was a tumultuous season last time round for the men from the Garden City. After dropping out of the Premiership a mere two games in to the competition, citing an inability to field a team, they found life easier in the Conference racking up some big wins en route to finals day. A loss in a thrilling contest with Harlequins 2s will no doubt motivate the Amblers to go one better this time around. The Amblers once again cite player retention as having been a challenge over the summer but under the guidance of new head coach Sean Emmett a more stable club environment and a core of players at their disposal who have competed at Premiership level should see them prosper.

sharks tigers conference uae rugby final 2017

Can anyone gate crash the top half?

The late season top-bottom half make up has had a familiar look to it in recent seasons with Dubai Tigers and Dubai Sharks contesting the bottom half final for two years running. Both must surely go in to this season with sights firmly set on a top half finish this year and competing for greater honours. Recent form suggests the Tigers are the better bet, having emerged victorious on finals day and bolstered their coaching ranks over the summer with the addition of the experienced Peter Kelly. Both the Sharks and Arabian Knights have both had to contend with the upheaval of losing their home ground at Sports City to the new boys, Dubai Eagles, but both remain confident that their player base will remain loyal with the Knights securing a prime new venue at Kings College Barsha and Sharks playing this seasons rugby at Jebal Ali Centre of Excellence.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Inaugural UAE Rugby Grand Finals Day to be played This Friday

uae rugby grand finals 2016 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tigers rugby club boost coaching talent with its two latest signings

tigers rugby club coaching

Heartbeat Sports Tigers Rugby Club is set to make a push across all its rugby with major signings in their coaching set up.

Aaron Persico, with over 50 Test Caps and 2 World Cups under his belt as a player, is a major signing for Tigers. The New Zealand national of Italian heritage played for Italy debuted in 2000. During this time he competed at the 2003 & 2007 World Cups and was capped 5 times for the Barbarians. Persico has played professional in New Zealand, Italy, Britain and France including 73 Heineken Cup matches. Persico has also been involved with the New Zealand High Performance Academy.

Jaime Clarke has also joined Tigers as a coach. Clarke, who is no stranger to gulf rugby captained both Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Doha in his career and debuted for the UAE National side in 2011.

tigers rugby club aaron persico and jamie-clarke mini youth coaching

Aaron Persico (left) and Jamie Clarke (Right)

Heartbeat Sports Founder Shane Thornton says;

I am super excited to welcome both Aaron and Jamie to Tigers. Both were wonderful players and bring a wealth of experience and coaching skills to Tigers. Both of them were known across their careers for their hard tackling and excellent ruck work. I expect that all our teams will instantly improve with those two working with them. We continue to grow our club offering our players the highest level of coaching in the region. Both will be coaching across all age groups. I personally love watching a 56 Test international coaching our Under 6s. International rugby is hard but those Under 6s are ruthless if you show any weakness.

You can catch the Tigers Rugby Club this Friday when they take on the Dubai Sharks in the UAE Conference B5 Final fixture which kicks off at 3:00pm at Sports City ground.

UAE Rugby Back In Full Swing Again!

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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