DUBAI // Among the number of ex-Arabian Gulf internationals watching the final throes of the regional side's existence this weekend is the man who played more first-class matches than any other from the Gulf. He almost certainly had the briefest international career out of anyone to play for the Gulf, too.
The Tehran-born Aadel Kardooni played more than 300 top-flight games for Leicester as a scrum-half between 1988 and 1998, and earned two caps for England's A team in the process.
With the likes of Richard Hill and Dewi Morris blocking his path, he never made the step up to full England honours, but he still earned a belated - and unlikely - call-up to the international game.
"I got a call asking if I would come and help the Arabian Gulf qualify for the 1997 World Cup Sevens," said Kardooni, who has a watching brief at The Sevens this weekend as part of the Christina Noble tour party.
"It came out of the blue. They knew I played for Leicester and, with an Arabic-sounding name like Aadel, they just gave me a call to see if I wanted to represent them.
"Because I had only played for England A and didn't have a full cap, I was eligible to play, so I thought I would come out and see if I could help.
"Technically, I was able to play for the Gulf because I was born in Iran. I pulled my hamstring in the first minute of the first game and couldn't play on."
Today's matches are the last that will be played by the Arabian Gulf as a collective side before the union disbands to make way for separate national federations. A new UAE side will take the Gulf's place in international competition from next year.