Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
UAE will not be seen in action at the Dubai Rugby Sevens like they were last year. Mike Young / The National
UAE will not be seen in action at the Dubai Rugby Sevens like they were last year. Mike Young / The National

UAE overlooked for Dubai Sevens

IRB selects 16 higher-ranked teams for November tournament, but development of sport in country will remain priority for UAE Rugby Association.

DUBAI // The senior official for rugby in the UAE insists the progress of the sport in this country will continue unhindered, even though the IRB has ruled out the national team from playing at their own showpiece competition.

The sport's governing body today confirmed a decision which had been expected for some time, by announcing 16 higher-ranked nations will contest the IRB competition at the 2012 Dubai Rugby Sevens at the end of November.

The host side had always been assured entry under the Arabian Gulf union, which formerly governed the game here. However, once the collective union was disbanded, the new single-nation side were given notice that they would no longer be guaranteed a place.

The national team were handed an invitational berth to commemorate their maiden campaign as a competitive side at the end of last year, but were told to prove they were worth their place in future.

A ninth-place finish in last year's Asian Sevens Series, as well as a series of hefty defeats at The Sevens, persuaded the IRB to overlook the fledgling UAE side this year.

However, Mohammed Falaknaz, the chairman of the UAE Rugby Association, said the development of the game will carry on unabated.

"We fully respect and understand the IRB decision as elite performance unions enter a four-year cycle of preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games," Falaknaz said.

"UAE Rugby still has plans to participate annually in the Dubai Sevens and the Asian Sevens Series as part of our ongoing performance development plans. We are still committed in the pursuit of our vision to be prominent and successful in Asian rugby and as part of our strategic development.

"We are currently implementing programmes to expand our player base within the Emirati population, to develop sevens in schools and tertiary institutions and to organise new domestic and regional competitions."

According to the IRB's Mark Egan, there is a clear pathway for re-entry to the game's leading competitions for the UAE.

"While UAE will not be competing in the [Dubai Sevens], the future for rugby in the UAE is bright," Egan said. "The top teams from the Asian Sevens Series have the opportunity to proceed to a qualifying tournament where they will compete against the best-ranked teams from the other five IRB regions to secure a place in the [World Series]."

The national team head to Borneo for the opening leg of the latest Asian Sevens Series this weekend with new incentives to aim for.

"Duncan [Hall, the UAE performance manager] and Wayne Marsters [the Sevens coach] have high expectations for the team after we finished ninth last year," said Renier Els, the new captain.

"There is a lot to play for, with the possibility of qualifying for Hong Kong and there is the World Cup Sevens in Moscow next year, too."

pradley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab bowling in the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Sunday. Pawan Singh / The National / April 20, 2014

IPL Day 5 action in Sharjah

Images from the fifth day of the Indian Premier League in the UAE on Sunday, with Kings XI Punjab beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with eight balls remaining.

 Raheem Sterling of Liverpool scores the opening goal against Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road. Michael Regan / Getty Images / April 20, 2014

In pictures: Sterling, Suarez inch Liverpool closer to title

Raheem Sterling, with a double, and Luis Suarez accounted for all three goals in Liverpool’s 3-2 away win over Norwich City on Sunday, leaving them five points up on Chelsea with three left to play.

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National