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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Dubai Rugby Sevens 2017: All you need to know

A quick guide to this year's tournament from November 30 to December 2

South Africa, in green, will be back in Dubai to defend their Dubai Sevens Series title. The National
South Africa, in green, will be back in Dubai to defend their Dubai Sevens Series title. The National

What

The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens has grown beyond all recognition since the first tournament in 1970. Back then, a few supporters stood on the sideline or sat in the back of lorries to watch the action on a sand pitch with markings made from bitumen.

This time around, the organisers anticipate around 100,000 people will pass through the gates over the course of the weekend at The Sevens ground, where eight high-spec grass pitches will be in operation.

The Dubai Sevens tournament will be the first sevens showcase since the sport's rousing debut at the Rio Olympics this summer. Warren Little / Getty Images
The Dubai Sevens tournament will be the first sevens showcase since the sport's rousing debut at the Rio Olympics this summer. Warren Little / Getty Images

When

Invitation tournaments and the Women’s World Sevens Series competition start early on Thursday November 30, before the flagship men’s World Series starts on Friday December 1. Competition culminates with the Emirates Trophy Final on Pitch 1 at 7.33pm on Saturday December 2.

Ryan Carlyle of United States and Emma Sykes of Australia battle for the ball in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens in Dubai. Tom Dulat / Getty Images
Ryan Carlyle of United States and Emma Sykes of Australia battle for the ball in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens in Dubai. Tom Dulat / Getty Images

Where

The Sevens, on the Dubai-Al Ain Road.

Who

As many as 277 rugby teams and 689 rugby matches take place across the three days on all eight pitches. A total of 154 netball matches will take place on the netball courts as 44 teams are confirmed for the event.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins are unbeaten at the Dubai Rugby Sevens in 12 matches since losing the 2013 final to Jebel Ali Dragons. Pawan Singh / The National
Abu Dhabi Harlequins are unbeaten at the Dubai Rugby Sevens in 12 matches since losing the 2013 final to Jebel Ali Dragons. Pawan Singh / The National

Who to watch

The main action centres around the World Sevens Series matches on Pitch 1, where Jerry Tuwai and his Olympic gold medal winning Fiji side will be trying to regaining their Dubai title from series champions South Africa.

Action is not exclusively confined to the main field, though. Former British & Irish Lions Iain Balshaw, Dafydd James and Simon Shaw are involved in the International Vets tournament, as is the record point-scorer in the history of the world series, Ben Gollings.

The best amateur players from the Gulf will also be in action, alongside thousands of players from abroad flying in especially for the weekend.

South Africa's Seabelo Senatla scores a try against Fiji on the final of the 2016 Dubai Rugby Sevens. Martin Dokoupil / AP Photo
South Africa's Seabelo Senatla scores a try against Fiji on the final of the 2016 Dubai Rugby Sevens. Martin Dokoupil / AP Photo

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased online at www.dubairugby7s.com or at selected outlets including Costa, The Toy Store, Hallmark, Prosport, Virgin Megastores, Park n Shop and Go Sports.

Prices for general admission are:

  • Thursday, 30 November - free
  • Friday, 1 December - in advance Dh300, on the day Dh400
  • Saturday, 2 December - in advance Dh300, on the day Dh400
  • Season Tickets (Friday and Saturday) - in advance Dh500, on the day Dh600
  • Free entry for children under 12

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Emirates International Trophy

Past winners

2016 – South Africa

2015 – Fiji

2014 – South Africa

2013 – Fiji

2012 – Samoa

New Zealand’s players perform the haka, the traditional war cry, to celebrate their 17-5 win against Australia in the final. Martin Dokoupil / AP Photo
New Zealand’s players perform the haka, the traditional war cry, to celebrate their 17-5 win against Australia in the final. Martin Dokoupil / AP Photo

World Sevens Series

Past winners

2016/17 – South Africa

2015/16 – Fiji

2014/15 – Fiji

2013/14 – New Zealand

2012/13 – New Zealand