Here’s our guide to the 2018 Dubai Rugby Sevens, which kicks off this Thursday
When the days start to draw shorter, tinsel appears in shop windows and mince pies on the shelves it’s the time of year that means only one thing – Dubai Rugby Sevens weekend is upon us! Here’s all you need to know about what’s happening in the main Gulf Competitions this year:
Gulf Men’s League
The premier competition featuring the familiar big names from the West Asia Premiership, this was won in memorable fashion last year by Dubai Exiles, coming from behind to beat the fancied Jebel Ali Dragons in the final. Both of these two will be amongst the favourites again this year along with 2016 champions Abu Dhabi Harlequins and a Bahrain side who currently sit top of the Premiership standings in the XV a side format. Abu Dhabi Saracens and Al Ain Amblers are the two sides outside of the Premiership who complete the lineup, both deserve credit for stepping up as Conference sides to challenge the elite.
The sides 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 12:30pm in front of the main crowd on Pitch 1.
Gulf Men’s Open
As ever, a colourful mixture of sides from across West Asia will be making the trip to Dubai with eight nations represented in total across the 20 teams. The finalists last year came from closer to home however, with Dragons 2s edging out Harlequins 2s and the four UAE Premiership second strings will be amongst the teams to beat. Amongst the chasing pack, Kuwait Scorpions competed in the ‘League’ tournament last year so will fancy going far at the lower level whilst Dubai Tigers, winners in 2016, are unbeaten so far in the UAE Conference and will be hungry to claim a few scalps. Look out of course for our very own Yalla Rugby invitational side who will be looking to improve on the Plate semi-final reached last time around.
The pool stages once again spread across both days with two rounds on Thursday and a single fixture on Friday with all sides guaranteed a knockout game 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 while a consolation 16-20 playoff awaits the remainder. The Trophy final is scheduled for 17:26 on Pitch 2, immediately following the Plate.
Pool A: Yalla Rugby, Muscat, Bahrain 2s, Arabian Knights,
Pool B: Jebel Ali Dragons 2s, Saudi Rugby, Amman Citadel, Dubai Sharks
Pool C: Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2s, Roberts Constructions, Dubai Exiles 2s, Riyadh Falcons
Pool D: Dubai Tigers, Shaheen, Sharjah Wanderers, Amman Citadel 2s
Pool E: Ceylon Warriors, Kuwait Scorpions, Multiplex Bulls, Damascus Zenobians
In what is a testament to the growth of the women’s rugby game in both UAE and the wider region, a whole host of new names will take to the field in what is an expanded tournament this year. Amongst the new entrants are three sides from Egypt, Lebanese outfit Beirut Aconites and a debut at the Dubai 7s for RAK Rugby Riders. Reigning champions DSC Eagles are well established as the dominant force in the women’s game within the UAE, and are unbeaten so far this season in the UAE Women’s Sevens League, but it remains to be seen if any of the unknown quantities from abroad may be able to present a stiffer challenge.
The sides are split in to four pools, the top two in each proceeding to the Trophy knockout stages and the bottom two entering the Plate. Finals take place on Saturday with the Trophy to be contested at 15:24 on Pitch 2.
Pool A: DSC Eagles, Dubai Hurricanes 2s, Kuwait Scorpions, Black Ruggers
Pool B: RAK Rides, Beirut Aconites, Emirates Firebirds, Sharjah Wanderers
Pool C: Dubai Hurricanes, Emirates Firebirds 2s, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Transforma Panthers
Pool D: Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Al Ain Amblers, AUC Wolves, Dubai Hawks
Yalla Rugby Invitational Squad
We’re delighted to announce the Yalla Rugby Invitation Squad for this years Dubai Rugby Sevens 2018.
- Rob Forster
- Danny Thomas
- Phil Vyas
- Daniel Crumplin
- James Mulhair
- Paul Waters
- Sean Gillies
- Jehan Sohail
- Joe Corcoran
- Johnny Corcoran
- Mansoor Alzaabi
- Hassan Anabtawi
- Kellen Hutchison
- Alex Johnson
Again we will compete in the Gulf Mens Open competition looking to make it third time lucky for some silverware having come close in previous years. Why not get behind our squad and show your support. Below you can see our schedule over the weekend:
Article by: Huw Harrow