DUBAI // This year's Sevens is going to be overrun by rugby league players. With the likes of Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah and a host of other stars of the 13-man code in their line-up, the Joining Jack charity side are likely to be one of the biggest crowd-pullers outside the IRB tournament.
Their main competition for the International Vets title will be the holders, Christina Noble Children's Foundation, who also boast a trio of Super League greats of their own: Apollo Perelini, Henry Paul and Robbie Paul.
The trend has even trickled down to the Gulf Men's League. Less than a month after ending a professional career in league in favour of a move to Abu Dhabi, Ben Bolger will have the chance to play in front of a packed ground again this weekend.
The former London Bronco is part of an Abu Dhabi Harlequins side hoping to go one better than last year, and end the dominance of the Jebel Ali Dragons in the competition.
If they do reach a second successive final, they are guaranteed to play in front of a heaving capacity crowd in excess of 40,000 people on Saturday.
"On Millennium Magic weekend [in Super League] you play in front of about that many, and away at Warrington and Wigan there are massive crowds," Bolger said.
"I've only heard brilliant things about this competition, it is going to be such an experience to play in such a prestigious event.
"I played all my junior rugby in union, but I haven't played properly for two-and-a-half months and I'm still adapting to the heat.
"I need to keep working to get fit and in condition, then hopefully I'll be able to produce some of the performances that I want to produce."
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE