The new fixtures for the domestic rugby season in the UAE have been released, with the landscape of the game in the Emirates much changed for 2015/16.
The two premier competitions involving local clubs, the Sport360° UAE Premiership and Gulf Top Six, will alter drastically.
The Premiership will change from a round robin format where the six teams play each other once before the top two qualify for the final to teams playing each other home and away.
The final is likely to be scrapped, meaning the team who top the league will be crowned champions.
The GT6 will undergo radical changes, with the amount of teams rising from six to nine, with no qualification. In past years the top four teams in the UAE Premiership had qualified for the GT6 with the bottom two dropping down into the Gulf Conference.
Canes, Quins, Abu Dhabi Saracens, Dubai Exiles, Jebel Ali Dragons and newly-promoted Al Ain Amblers will all play in the revamped West Asia Championship, alongside Doha, Bahrain and Muscat. Teams will play each other once, with the winner also set to be crowned by way of league winner rather than a showpiece final.
In addition, the West Asia Championship will no longer conclude the domestic season. Instead the UAE Premiership will be played either side of it in two stints. Rounds one to seven will be played from September 25 to November 6. The WAC will then be played from January 8 to March 18, with the final three rounds of the Premiership played from March 25 to April 8.
The mouthwatering Abu Dhabi derby between Quins and Sarries starts the season in explosive fashion on Friday, September 25, at Zayed Sports City, while Dubai Exiles welcome Jebel Ali Dragons and Amblers travel to Dubai Hurricanes.
The 11-team UAE Conference will continue with the same structure as previous seasons. There will be 11 rounds of action before the teams split into the Top 6 and Bottom 5 playoffs, with those respective finals due to be played on March 25.
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