The Yalla Rugby inaugural sevens 2016 team enjoyed some great rugby at this years opening Emirates Airlines Rugby Sevens tournament held at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
It was the first Yalla Rugby squad to enter the Dubai 7s, as they took to the field wearing their eye catching rugby kit.
For a rugby side to come together for the first time and compete in the Gulf Mens Open competition, we really had our work cut out. As a unit, the Yalla Dubai Sevens rugby squad had never collectively been in the same place at the same time before, due to various commitments from the players in the build up to the Dubai Sevens.
With a couple of older heads in the side, balanced with some youthful skilled players, we felt we could make a decent impact in the Pool A league, hope fully progressing into the finals and winning some silverware.
Pool A League
Our first match was against the Beirut Select side from Lebanon. Starting strong, they quickly chalked up a couple of tries against us, but not without a great fight back from the Yalla boys. We almost stole the game from them in the dying seconds but a dubious forward pass let the ref blow for the end of the match making the final score 19 – 26 to Beirut.
Next up we were against the Red Sea Sharks. Now this was the game where Yalla Rugby really came together. After the disappointment of the first match, our team felt they had a point to prove. With a great display of running rugby we ran in a convincing scoreline of 46-0 winners.
Our final Pool A match was against local side Dubai Exiles 2nd XV. The Exiles beat the Beirut Select 36-19 so were clear favourites. This was a must win game if we wanted to progress into the Trophy finals. With one of our players ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a broken hand, we were a vital substitute down going into this match. Exiles scored first but Yalla fought back fatigue and put 17 points on the board. Final score 17-7 to Yalla Rugby.
With the heavy win over the Red Sea Sharks, Yalla topped the table and had secured our place in the Trophy quarter finals against the Amman Nomads. After a hard fought game and plenty of tired and bruised bodies, we just missed out progressing any further in the competition as we lost 10-14 to the Nomads.
We may not have won any silverware this year, but we certainly made an impact and a name for ourselves. We’re incredibly proud of our achievements and will certainly be looking to put a strong side into the Dubai Sevens with a view to bringing home a cup winners medal.
Huge thanks to all the players, sponsors and organisers. Bring on 2017!!!!
By Alex Johnson