Emirates National Rugby League (ENRL)
The new season, featuring a domestic club competition for the first time, will last for four weekends, starting on Friday, April 19.
Four teams, including Abu Dhabi Harlequins, the top club side in the Arabian Gulf in the 15-man code at present, will play in a round-robin league format, with the winner decided by a final on Friday, May 10. Dubai Wasps, who play in the UAE Premiership in the union code, as well as two new teams assembled from players from other clubs, will make up the league.
With rugby union firmly established within the sporting landscape on these shores for more than 40 years, the 15-man code has the monopoly on players who want to play competitive sport at present. As such, the league has to find windows for its own season. The new four-team competition will be fitted in between the end of the domestic union season and the onset of the hottest months of the summer. The season clashes with one match of the Asian Five Nations in union, but there are plenty of players who will be at a loose end while that tournament is taking place.
After that, three Emirate of Origin fixtures - with players from Dubai taking on a team from Abu Dhabi - are scheduled, ahead of a summer tournament for the national representative side. The players who will make up the UAE Falcons national team for their Mena campaign will all have to be affiliated to a club in the newly formed league. The ENRL's 12 month develop plan also includes more proposed international fixtures against emerging nations, including a tour, at the end of the year.
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