Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Four-nation tournament to assist UAE rugby development

Hong Kong, Kenya and Brazil is discussions with UAE RA to play in a competition in Dubai.

A proposed four-nation international tournament, to be played in Dubai after December's Rugby Sevens concludes, would provide the perfect platform for the developing national team, according to Sean Hurley, the longest-serving active Gulf rugby player.

Discussions have taken place to stage a competition involving Hong Kong, Kenya and Brazil at The Sevens, Dubai, as the UAE Rugby Association (UAE RA) attempt to improve the standard of the elite game here.

At present, the only competitive international rugby matches for UAE players are in the annual HSBC Asian Five Nations, which follows straight after the domestic season.

Despite relatively modest preparations for that tournament last season, they still managed to finish third.

The UAE RA have been actively seeking ways to close the gap on Hong Kong, the leading amateur nation in Asia, as well as the continent's main rugby power, the World Cup-bound Japanese.

Inspired by the fact more than 1,000 people went to watch the Asian Five Nations match against Japan at The Sevens, the game's administrators set about attempting to bring more Test rugby here.

"For the Asian Five Nations, that tournament will be really valuable," Hurley said of the proposed competition.

"The timing is perfect. We want to benchmark ourselves against Hong Kong. We felt [last season] that we could have done with three or four matches earlier in the year to benchmark where we were at.

"We can start that now. We need to start preparation for that tournament in the next four weeks, and it can't just be a knocked together tournament."

The most pressing concern for the governing body, if the competition does come to pass, will be the appointment of a successor to Bruce Birtwistle, the popular former head coach who relinquished his post at the end of last season.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament was kicking off at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with plenty of excitement in store. Ravindranath K / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

The first match in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, was held at Zayed Cricket Stadium amid plenty of colour.

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

 Zayed Cricket Stadium had not witnessed so electrcic an atmosphere before Wednesday evening. Pawan Singh / The National

Packed house gathers in Abu Dhabi for Indian Premier League opener

In less than half a day, Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the force that is Indian cricket, with the sound drowning out the controversies that have dogged the Twenty20 tournament, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks down after being defeated during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

 Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg at the official press conference following qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1: Toto Wolff says Mercedes have all the right ingredients in place

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend’s fourth round in China.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, left, reacts as Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on April 16, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO/Andrew YATES

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National