The UAE will make their rugby sevens bow at the Asian Games later this year, taking place in Indonesia, where the official draw for the tournament took place on Thursday.
Eleven men’s and eight women’s sides will be involved at the 2018 Asian Games, taking place from August 18-September 2.
The sevens tournament will be held over three days from August 30-September 1 at the Wibawa Mukti Stadium, Bekasi.
The draw was conducted by Asia Rugby general manager for Ross Mitchell, in Jakarta.
The UAE will feature in a three-team Pool C alongside Sri Lanka and South Korea.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Hong Kong head Pool A alongside China, Thailand and Pakistan. Following their recent qualification to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Japan top Pool B and will face Chinese Taipei, Indonesia and Malaysia.
There are just two pools in the women’s competition, and China, also recent qualifiers for the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, top Pool A. They are joined by Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea.
Japan, who were relegated from the women’s series, are set to play Kazakhstan, Thailand and Indonesia.
Mitchell said: “We are all excited about the upcoming competition in Indonesia.
“It was a very well run draw and the host nation took a collective gasp when both the men and women’s teams were drawn.
“It is all shaping up to be a great tournament, and a competitive one that will further enhance the growth of rugby in Asia.”
The 2018 Asian Games will be held in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang, after Vietnam capital Hanoi, the original host, withdrew due to financial constraints.
It is the first time the Asian Games are being co-hosted in two cities, with Jakarta hosting for the first time since 1962.
Events will be held in and around the two cities, including venues in Bandung and the province of West Java.
Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
Rugby union and sevens has featured at the Asian Games since 1998, with South Korea winning the first two tournaments in both disciplines. Sevens has been played exclusively since 2006, with Japan coming in as the three-time defending champions.
In Incheon four years ago they beat Hong Kong 24-12.
The Seawolves, beaten twice by the Raptors in the regular season, finally found a way past the Colorado club, who were the top seeds in the playoffs after losing just once in the regular season of the fledgling league, which kicked off in April with seven franchises.
The league is the latest attempt at launching a top-flight rugby union league in the United States.
Seattle flyhalf Peter Smith opened the scoring with a penalty goal for a 3-0 lead, but Glendale replied with a maul that put hooker Zach Fenoglio over. Flyhalf Will Magie converted for a 7-3 lead for the Raptors.
A try from hooker Ray Barkwill gave the Seawolves a narrow 8-7 lead at the half.
Congratulations to OD Mat Turner and the Seattle Seawolves for winning the inaugural season of Professional Major League Rugby (MLR) Championship in the USA.— Bishops Rugby (@Bishops_Rugby) July 8, 2018
They won the final 23-19 against the table-topping Glendale Raptors 🇺🇸🏉 pic.twitter.com/o11JnKjVuH
But Glendale regained the initiative with two quick tries early in the second half, Magie’s conversion of Bryce Campbell’s try putting the Raptors up 19-8.
The Seawolves, bolstered in the playoffs by the return of USA and Canadian internationals including Olive Kilifi, Barkwill and Vili Toluta’u, responded minutes later as William Rasileka crashed over in the corner.
Two minutes later Seattle’s Riekert Hattingh powered over and Smith’s conversion made it 20-19 for the Seawolves.
A Smith penalty completed the scoring at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego, where MLR’s San Diego Legion play their home games.
MLR, which could expand to as many as 10 teams next year, follows a failed 2016 attempt to establish a US league, with PRO rugby lasting only one season with five clubs.
Despite interest from other rugby clubs, Ox Nche has decided to extend his contract with the Cheetahs.
The Bloemfontein fan favourite, who earned his Springbok cap against Wales in June this year has committed until 2019.
Nche was born in Thaba Nchu, he first earned provincial selection in 2011, when he was included in the Free State squad that participated at the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week in Queenstown. Nche attended HTS Louis Botha and soon became a promising prop. He played for SA Schools in 2012/13, SA U20 in 2015 and SA A in 2017.
In 2014 he joined the Cheetahs Academy and was a key player for the Free State U19 team in the Provincial Championship, starting all thirteen of their matches in the competition as his side finished second on the log.
At the age of 22, Nche already played 64 games for the Toyota Cheetahs (25 SuperRugby, 17 Currie Cup, 22 PRO14).
Nche brings excitement to a game and Free State Rugby are looking forward to seeing him in action in the upcoming matches.
Rory Thornton joins Cardiff on a year-long loan deal
In other PRO14 news, Rory Thornton has agreed to join Cardiff Blues on a year-long loan deal from Ospreys.
The 23-year old second row, who signed a new deal with the Ospreys earlier this year, will link up with his new colleagues at Wales Capital Region next week to prepare for the coming season.
Thornton saw his game time limited last season, injury restricting him to just four appearances.
Following discussions between both regions and national team management, it was agreed that the former Wales Under-20s captain will make the temporary move up the M4 to allow him the best opportunity to get more game time under his belt and to assist his international ambitions going into a Rugby World Cup year.
Speaking about the move, Thornton said:
“I need to be playing rugby and Cardiff need a line out forward so this is a great outcome for everyone. It’s a good move for me in the circumstances and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the squad next week and preparing for an important season.
“I’m grateful to the Ospreys for supporting me like this and also to Cardiff Blues for giving me the opportunity.”