UAE Rugby Grand Finals to take place at Rugby Park

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UAE Rugby will host their inaugural Grand Finals Day on Friday at Dubai Sports City’s Rugby Park.

In a first for the Federation, the UAERF Grand Finals are the culmination of UAE Rugby’s Community, Conference and Premiership league fixtures played over the 2016/2017 season.

“We are extremely pleased to bring the inaugural UAE Rugby Grand Finals Day to our rugby-loving community. Each year we are thrilled with the level of rugby we witness across our domestic league, and the finals have always drawn enthusiastic supporters,” said Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Secretary General.

“We are confident that bringing all three leagues together into one day will enhance the excitement and raise the profile of the league’s top-ranked teams.”

Finals games commence at 1pm with Abu Dhabi Harlequins competing against Jebel Ali Dragons in the third-tier Community League, followed by two deciding games from the second-tier Conference League; bottom five between Heartbeat Tigers and Dubai Sharks and top six between Al Ain Amblers and Abu Dhabi Harlequins.

At 5pm, the Federation’s elite Premiership League will play-out between Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Jebel Ali Dragons.

Food and beverage options will be available as well as giveaways and prizes. Entry is free.

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IN PICTURES: England stars lead rugby clinic in Dubai

Sport360 staff 31/03/2017

More than 50 Dubai Hurricanes’ kids were put through their paces by England trio Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes and Kyle Sinckler on Friday morning.

The England players were in Dubai following the 13-9 loss to Ireland on March 18 which denied them a second-successive Grand Slam in the Six Nations and history.

Expected British & Irish Lion Lawes was happy to help, leading the session at Lapita Hotel.

“Development of rugby in countries like this is very important, and also in England,” the 28-year-old lock said.

“It is really good to train with the kids and I like to get more involved.”

And our photographer Chris Whiteoak was on hand to capture the morning session that saw the England stars putting the UAE youngsters through their paces.

The ‘Daycation Brunch’ at Lapita Hotel provides the ultimate day out for the family. Prices start from Dh195 with soft beverages. Dh295 for house beverages and Dh95 for children under 12. Contact 04 810 9999 for more information

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Quins face their toughest test of the year against Doha

Matt Jones 16/02/2017
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Testing their might: Abu Dhabi’s Emosi Ratuvecanaua plows through the Dubai Exiles.

Mike McFarlane’s men have been head and shoulders above the opposition thus far this term, going nine games unbeaten and recording eight wins.

The only blot on their record is a draw, which came against second-placed Doha in Abu Dhabi in October.

That 23-23 stalemate will be on the minds of both teams’ players and coaches this weekend, with McFarlane’s league leading scorers heading to a ground known as the ‘Fortress’ to face Alex Natera’s men, who boast the best defence in the West Asia Premiership.

“It’s a ding dong battle ahead no doubt with both teams in good form,” said McFarlane.

“We had a fantastic match against the Doha lads at home earlier in the season and hope to bring a near to complete performance as possible this time round at their place.”

Travelling away in Gulf rugby is a notoriously difficult task, but Quins have already come through a tough test out west, having come from behind 15-0 to beat Bahrain 17-15 in December.

“As ever the joy of travelling away has brought it’s passport and visa problems regardless of the hours put into it,” added McFarlane.

“The boys have put together some excellent skill and contact sessions as they continue to fight for their spots within the two teams.”

Doha have won their last four games on the trot, which has included emerging from some big tests unscathed, including beating Jebel Ali Dragons 25-22 last week at The Sevens. And Natera feels defence is where the game will be won and lost. “There are some big preparations being put in for this game,” he said.

“We have picked up a few injuries this week but we are still looking strong. We learnt a lot from our draw against Quins last time round but we are also very aware that that wasn’t their best game against us.

“We need to work very hard on our defence and if we can do that we’ll come a long way to being very competitive in this match.

“We know other teams are becoming aware of our strike power out wide and we can see what they are trying to do to counter this threat.”

He added: “We’ve been working hard on making threats all around the park and, weather permitting, hopefully we can show this on Friday.

“However, defensive organisation and work rate will go all long way in deciding the result for us.”

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