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The once champions of UAE Conference Rugby – Sharjah Wanderers will make a welcome return to Gulf Rugby next season and be back amongst the rest of the UAE Conference rugby clubs.

After a twelve month absence from competitive rugby due to player departures it has been announced that the club are recruiting once again and will be competing in the Conference again next season. The club were forced to bow out of the 2018/19 rugby season with the then Chairman Shane Breen revealing Wanderers had lost half of their players from the previous season over the summer of 2018, leaving them with the tough decision of withdrawing the senior mens squad. Their last competitive game was against the Dubai Tigers in the final of the UAE Conference league where they lost to an extra time golden try in a thriller of a match.

Newly appointed Chairman – Chris Paton has replaced Breen and will oversee a new committee put in place to take the rugby club forward. Pre-season training will be starting on August 27th, down at King’s School Al Barsha and will hopefully see steady numbers returning back to the club.

Those players wishing to join the Sharjah Wanderers can get in touch directly with by clicking here.

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

Sharjah Wanderers withdraw from expat rugby conference league

Sharjah Wanderers Withdraw From Expat Conference Rugby

The 2015/16 UAE Conference winners, Sharjah Wanderers will not be playing Expat Conference rugby this season. In a statement made on social media by the rugby club, they have announced that their men’s 1st XV squad will not be putting a team together this season.

The ‘Wandies’ have had to withdraw from rugby this year. The only representing club of the Emirate of Sharjah has always been the team to beat in the Conference league. Winners of the title in 2015/16, semi finalists in 2016/17 and finalists in 2017/18, just missing out to a sudden death try against the Dubai Tigers on finals day down at Dubai Sports City. Wanderers Chairman, Shane Breen pointed to a decline in player numbers with the squad no longer able to compete at the level required for Conference rugby. Breen said,

“At the end of last season we lost over half of our squad, mostly due to guys relocating or taking some time away from rugby.”

Sharjah Wanderers champions 2015

The Wanderers are not alone in their struggle this pre season as we have also witnessed the likes of Saracens dropping from the Premiership and the Beaver Nomads withdrawing from Community level rugby.

“This definitely isn’t the last you’ll see of the Wandies men’s team who’ll still be competing in the Dubai Sevens and other social competitions throughout the year.”

They have assured us though that they will be back next season (2019/20) and will be participating in this years Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens competition which will be held at The Sevens Stadium on the 29th November.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish the Wanderers all the best in their comeback and feel they will be a miss in local rugby this year.

UAE rugby roundup week 6

Catch up on Friday’s UAE Conference Rugby

Jump right in with this spooky special…

Team of the Week – Sharjah Wanderers

Sharjah Wanderers 1s team of the week

It has been an eventful week for one of the UAE’s oldest clubs, with their 40th anniversary celebration taking place last weekend. After the festivities, which saw former players return to Sharjah from all over the world, it was back to business on Friday for the Wanderers 1s who were able to knuckle down and hold off Al Ain Amblers 1s 41-31 and in do so maintain the only 100% record left standing in the Conference. They were made to work hard by an Amblers side who, despite their lowly league position, have been one of the division’s most free scoring outfits so far this season but were ultimately good value for a bonus point win. It wasn’t quite enough to claim top spot with Abu Dhabi Harlequins a point ahead having played a game more, but the start to the season should see Sharjah well placed to finish comfortably in the top half and prove genuine contenders to regain the crown they won in 2015-16.

Dragons vs Tigers UAE conference 2017

UAE Conference

Weekends with no Premiership fixtures provide an opportunity for the bigger clubs to offer game time to some fringe players at Conference level and in this context it is perhaps unsurprising to see two strong performances recorded by Dubai Exiles 2s and Jebel Ali Dragons 2s. The Exiles thumped winless Dubai Sharks 73-7 with the Sharks yet to find the new home in Jebel Ali to be a happy hunting ground. Meanwhile the Dragons put a stop to Dubai Tigers’ recent winning run with a hard fought 26-17 victory. Both sides in doing so keep up the pressure behind the early season pace-setters and look well placed for a top half finish as the first round of matches reaches the halfway point.

The Wanderers-Amblers clash was in fact the only other fixture to go ahead this weekend with Arabian Knights unable to field a team for their trip to Abu Dhabi Harlequins due to front row shortages. The early season struggles for both the Knights and the Sharks are reflective of significant off-season turmoil endured by both clubs having lost the use of Sports City as their base. The Knights have the benefit of a bye week coming up in which to regroup ahead of a clash with the Sharks on November 10th which will offer both sides the chance to kick-start their seasons.

Article by: Huw Harrow

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 conference rugby round up Tom Davies

After a quiet few months off, the UAE conference tournament is back for what looks to be an exciting season of rugby. The opening weekend saw some great matches take place across the UAE.

Defending champions Sharjah Wanderers began their campaign with a comfortable 34-7 win over the Dubai Sharks, showing their intent for back-to-back Conference triumphs.

The Arabian Knights lost a hard fought battle with the Wasps 15-29. The Knights seemed to win the battle of the forwards for the majority of the match but in the end discipline let them down and the Wasps made them pay for their mistakes.

The Dragons 2nd XV cruised to an impressive 58-3 win over the Al Ain Amblers 2nd XV, announcing that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.

The final match saw the Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2nd XV go head to head with the Dubai Exiles 2nd XV. With both sides having finished in the top half of the table last season neither team wanted to drop points on the opening weekend. The result went the way of the Exiles who ran away with it to win 41-5.

A look ahead to this weekends UAE Rugby

The action continues this weekend coming with round 2 of the UAE Conference taking place, the pick of the matches is the Hurricanes 2nd XV taking on the Dragons 2nd XV, both teams have ambitions to finish in the top half of the table and the Dragons will definitely want to continue the great start they have made to the season.

Thats not all thats taking place this weekend with the beginning of both the UAE Premiership and Community League. The Premiership sees The Amblers entertaining the Abu Dhabi Saracens and the Dubai Hurricanes taking on the Abu Dhabi Harlequins. The match to watch in the Community League has the be the Beaver Nomads against the Sharks 2nd XV, the Nomads will be looking to defend their title this season and will hope to start it off with a win.

By Tom Davies

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