x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Age no impediment to drawing power for veterans at Dubai Rugby Sevens

35-and-overs may have more star power despite 'veteran' status

Andy Farrell is expected to trade in his whistle as England backs coach and take to the field again in the veterans division of the Dubai Rugby Sevens.  David Rogers / Getty Images
Andy Farrell is expected to trade in his whistle as England backs coach and take to the field again in the veterans division of the Dubai Rugby Sevens. David Rogers / Getty Images

It is an odd quirk of the Dubai Rugby Sevens that a tournament which is designed for young players and worships youth holds much of its intrigue in the veterans events.

When the International Vets 10s tournament overlaps with the IRB event later this month, there will be far more stardust on the outside fields than on Pitch 1 at The Sevens.

Veteran part-timers who have signed up for the tournament might be apprehensive about what they are confronted with come November 28.

Andy Farrell, one of the greats from rugby league, and Jason Robinson, probably the best attacker in the history of English rugby union, will both be here.

Farrell will set down his duties as England’s defence coach after the autumn Test matches at Twickenham, then pack his boots and head for Dubai.

Each of the former Wigan rugby league players will be representing their Joining Jack charity side in the competition for players who are 35 years old and over.

It says much about the quality of the tournament that Joining Jack did not get close to winning it last year, despite being saturated with household names, to the extent that Sir Bradley Wiggins was their water boy.

Neither will they be favourites this time around.

Xodus Steelers, who edged Christina Noble’s in a classic final last year, appear even stronger, with the Argentina national Carlos Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe and the Spaniard Oriol Ripol bolstering their ranks.

pradley@thenational.ae