Mohammed Shaker says the UAE Shaheen team have high expectations of winning the inaugural UAE Rugby Dubai Airports 7’s tournament in Dubai on Friday.
Shaheen assistant manager Shaker, also a UAE Rugby Federation board member, says the tournament, in which the Shaheen will face Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Qatar, will be very special and he expects the hosts to be competitive.
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“It is the inaugural event but we hope it will become an annual event,” said Shaker. “It will be a good thing for all Arab countries and I hope we will have more teams in the future. It will give the Shaheen boys more exposure and perhaps it will become a pathway to the national team.”
Games get underway at 7he Sevens at 09:00, the Shaheen opening up against Qatar, with Lebanon next up and finally Saudi Arabia, before all teams will play a semi-final, final and third place play-off.
“This tournament will be very special, with teams coming from around the Gulf,” said Shaker.
“It will be an opportunity for the new boys who haven’t played before. It will be useful and is the only way for them to develop.”
— UAE Rugby Federation (@uaerugby) October 8, 2015
The tournament will be a debut for Qatar, while Shaker believes Lebanon will be the favourites.
“Lebanon are perhaps the strongest team but we hope to win and expect to compete,” said Shaker.
Also taking place on Friday is the first round of the West Asia Women’s 7’s Series, which will be hosted by Abu Dhabi Harlequins at Zayed Sports City.
The tournament will feature 13 teams competing in three divisions, including Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Bats and Jesters, Dubai Sharks 1sts, 2nds and 3rds, Heartbeat Tigers, Dubai Hurricanes, Al Ain Amblers 1sts and 2nds, Sharjah Wanderers, as well as Doha Oryx and Trojans.
Canes are the reigning league champions but Quins club captain Eileen Siegel says the home team’s three teams are eying success.
“We have three teams and we want to play our best rugby,” said Siegel. “We’re very proud to host the tournament opener.”
The organisers of the long-awaited Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens have announced the 16 teams in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the 12 teams in the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series which will be taking place on 3-5 December at The Sevens Stadium.
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The Dubai event is the first leg of the extended ten-leg HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with Cape Town, Sydney, Singapore, Vancouver and Paris as new additions to the circuit and Wellington, Hong Kong and Las Vegas continuing on from the previous four-year Series, with the final round being played in London on 21-22 May 2016.
With the event achieving year-on-year record attendances, this year is set to be the biggest action-packed rugby festival Dubai has ever seen. Over 100,000 fans and 4,000 players, including some of the world’s best expected to compete as excitement for the Rio Olympic Games builds. An array of top-of-the-range international fifteens players will participate in this year’s tournament in a bid to realise their Olympic dream.
In addition, over 250 teams will be taking part in the Invitation Tournament attracting a number of international men and women players as well as under 19s, Emiratis, social and veteran teams. Brand new to this year’s Invitation Tournament is the launch of the Netball Tournament, with over 32 teams confirmed from the Gulf region battling it out on the Netball courts will make this the biggest Invitation Tournament to date.
As part of the celebration, a range of new and exciting concepts will be on offer at the festival to ensure the greatest three-day festival to date. Spectators are encouraged to come in fancy dress and enjoy all the entertainment on offer in the Rugby Village. With provisions made for families such as the dedicated dnata family stand, child care services and activities, the Rugby Sevens is a fantastic family day out.
Tickets for the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2015 can be purchased online at www.dubairugby7s.com or at selected Costa, MMI, Go Sport and dnata outlets, Bidi Bondi, The Sevens Stadium and Park n Shop.
Visitors to the event also have the option of reserving their seats. Reserved seating, premium seating and corporate hospitality packages are available through the official website.
South Africa will book a World Cup quarter-final place if they beat the United States on Wednesday – 18 days after being victims of the tournament’s greatest upset.
The Springboks have recovered solidly from losing 34-32 to Japan in Brighton, amassing 80 points and scoring nine tries as they claimed emphatic victories over Samoa and Scotland. And a win is all they need at the Olympic Stadium to guarantee topping Pool B, confirming a last-eight appointment with Australia or Wales.
“There are so many examples of comebacks throughout the world, of things that people said could never happen,” South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said. “They said the mile would never be run in under four minutes, and now everybody’s running under four minutes.
“I am a very positive person. I believe anything is possible, and I have been in situations where I’ve lost every single game, come back and won trophies. But we don’t look past this game. I mean it.”
Meyer has made two injury-enforced changes from the team which defeated Scotland, with wing Lwazi Mvovo replacing JP Pietersen and prop Frans Malherbe handed a start instead of Jannie du Plessis.
“We always have dreams and goals of achieving success at this World Cup,” Springboks winger Bryan Habana said.
— Craig Roberts (@Sportsmedoc) October 6, 2015
“Japan was 100 times more disappointing for us than it was for anyone outside this group.
“The response this past two weeks has been good, but we still believe we’re not quite there yet.
“We believe if we are going to get to the next stage, we are going to have to improve.
“USA may not be ranked in the top 10, but we’ve already seen their physicality and intensity and their approach doesn’t make it easy to play them.”
USA head coach Mike Tolkin retains just three players – skipper Manu Samoa, hooker Phil Thiel and full-back Blaine Scully – who were on starting duty last time out against Scotland, with one eye also on next Sunday’s appointment with Japan in Gloucester.
“It comes to a point in this tournament with a four-day rest where you have to use the whole squad,” Tolkin said.
“Every team that has been in this situation has had to do the same thing.
“The morale is good, the work ethic is very good.
“We are just disappointed we didn’t get those wins (against Samoa and Scotland).”