Dubai Dubai Rugby Sevens

Dubai Dubai Rugby Sevens

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Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens


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“We are good enough to defend our title” –
Samoa coach Punivalu

Samoa's head coach Viliamu Punivalu believes he has a squad ready to defend their Emirates Dubai Sevens title this weekend.

In 2012, Paul Perez scored two tries as then captain Afa Aiono guided Samoa to a 26-14 victory against the eventual HSBC Sevens World Series champions New Zealand.

Punivalu took over the reigns as Samoa coach ahead of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series and believes he has a side capable of defending their title this weekend at 7he Sevens.

"I believe the team is good enough to defend the title," said Punivalu. "We have a sightly different strategy on our approach to the selection process this time in that we decided to bring six forwards and six backs simply because of what we wanted to do.

"Unfortunately we have a lot of good players back home we had to leave behind but I am very confident and have all the trust in the world in the team and I believe they will do the job on the day.

"We only started thinking about the title a couple of weeks ago, that is when we started knowing we need to get better and lift our game. It adds some pressure, of course, and it hasn't been a good week in the last week for Samoan rugby, so I think there is even more pressure on Samoa Sevens to perform and bring some good results to the country."

With six players in Punivalu's side that were a part of the title winning side from last year's tournament, Punivalu is hoping they will be able to breed confidence amongst his side, especially the two debutants Oneone Faafou and Richie Ah Chong.

"One of the lessons I learned from the Gold Coast when I had five new players and those five players had stage fright which filtered to the other players is that if we are mentally prepared we will be okay. Having the six players from last year will be a good help.

"We won in Fiji the week before Australia and I thought we would have a chance but a few things happened.

"There is no excuse this time. We have a team and I have been working to make sure each individual is doing their job 150% and now it is just a case of the boys showing me what they have got."

SAMOA (Gold Coast, HSBC Sevens World Series round 1: 7th)

HSBC Sevens World Series, Pool D
Fixtures, November29, 2013
09.02 v Russia
13.32 v Argentina
18.54 v South Africa


High-fliers Fiji now hoping to reach the top in Dubai this week!

Fiji has long since been renown as one of the high-fliers of Sevens rugby. But coach Ben Ryan, and three of his players, really have been flying high in Dubai!

Ben, skipper Osea Kolonisau, Jonah Tuitoga, and Benito Masilevu were invited to take a Seawings tour of Dubai, with fantastic aeriel views of the picturesque skyline in the comfort of a seaplane.

“It was a fantastic experience, and we thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Ben. “We really appreciated the invitation, and Dubai looked beautiful from our cabin.”

Now Ben and his team will be hoping to be high-flying again, this time metaphorically, when they take part in round two of the HSBC Sevens World Series at this week’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens.

The Fijians believe they are due a win in Dubai, having been runners up five times since it became an IRB World Series venue in 1999. But to do it this year, they have to first negotiate England, Canada and the USA in Pool C on Friday.

“Fiji not winning at World Series event is something my players are desperate to put right,” said Ben. “We’ve worked really hard since the first round on the Gold Coast last month, and we’re all looking forward to this weekend.”

For more information about Seawings, visit their website: http://www.seawings.ae/

The Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens gets underway on Thursday, with Pool matches in the IRB Women's Sevens World Series, and the start of the Invitation Tournament. Entry on Thursday is free. The Women's tournament reaches it's climax on Friday, with the men's HSBC Sevens World Series tournament getting underway.


Cherry picks Australia to be strong Series
challengers this season

New Zealand might well be the pre-tournament favourites, but Australia are heading to Dubai for round one of the IRB Women’s World Series upbeat, and ready for the challenge, following some encouraging performances in warm-up tournaments.

The Australians were semi-finalists at last year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, as they were in the USA round, and finished fifth overall in the augural World Series.

And with the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 very much on the mind of both players and coaches, the competition promises to become much tougher this season – with Emilee Cherry, one of the Australians’ key players, saying the standards are rising all the time.

"I look back at videos of two years ago and the game has changed so much, it's become more physical," she said. "Then it was very much about individual skill and that passing game, and now the physicality has also come into it.

"As a team one thing that I think we lacked last Series was that physical edge and it really cost us."

With new coach Tim Walsh guiding his team to regional success at the Oceania Sevens recently, and with a good performance at the Coral Coast Sevens, there is a spring in the heel of the squad heading to Dubai.

And one of the factors to the Australians' increasing 'tough' edge is captain Sharni Williams.

Said Cherry: "Sharni is a great leader on and off the field – she’s the ultimate Sevens player, and to have someone like that in our team, we can really look up to her and aspire."

Australia will feature in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series Pool C at 7he Sevens on Thursday, up against Canada, Brazil and France. And the captain herself is looking forward to the challenge: "We're on the up and looking to do better than last year (lost the third place play-off to Spain) and I'm sure we will,” said Williams.

"It can be rough and tough but it's a wonderful game to be involved in. Dubai is our first round but we've played there before and it's going to be great. They're hot conditions, a bit like back home in Australia."

Walsh, meanwhile, believes the team is ready for the challenge of the opening round. He said: "The first round of a World Series is always an eye opener. New players, coaches, referees, teams and opportunities all result in an exciting battle on and off the field."

IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Pool C
Fixtures, November 28, 2013
13.22 v Brazil
16.20 v France
19.18 v Canada


Worldwide enthusiasm for the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens
is reflected in it’s global TV coverage

From Europe to the Middle East. From Asia to Australasia. From South America to North America.

This year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens is proving itself a truly global attraction, with broadcasters from all over the world transmitting live coverage or extensive highlights.

Live coverage will be beamed locally in Dubai, and internationally to New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, the UK, the USA, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Russia, Brazil, France, Poland, Hungary, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, and throughout Asia.

Extensive highlights will be shown all over the world, including Japan, Canada, and throughout the Middle East, with coverage of the three day event, between November 28 and 30, set to beat last year’s record breaking coverage, which reached 359 million homes in 145 countries, broadcasting 593 hours over three days.

“This is fantastic news, and once again proves just how big an event the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens is around the world, and how popular Sevens is as sport,” said Donal Kilalea, the tournament’s Commercial and Operations Director. “Sevens is growing in popularity year on year, as is the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, and now that it’s an Olympic sport that growth will continue apace.”

The International Rugby Board is streaming all the action live online this year, at irbsevens.com. It means that the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens can be watched for the first time in every country in the world!

Geo-blocking may apply to the live streaming in certain territories where exclusive broadcast deals are in place’

The Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens takes place between November 28 and 30, to include the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, the HSBC Sevens World Series and the Invitational Tournament, which this year has over 200 teams and more than 3,000 players taking part.


Kolbe joins Springbok Sevens ahead of
Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens

Rising star Cheslin Kolbe has joined the South African Sevens training group, ahead of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Kolbe, one of the best young talents in South Africa, last featured in the Sevens squad at the IRB Sevens World Cup in Moscow earlier this year, and since then has represented the Junior Springboks at the IRB Junior World Championship in France.

Neil Powell, the Springbok Sevens coach, said the addition of Kolbe was a huge boost for the squad and said he expects the player to slot in quickly.

“Cheslin is very familiar with our set up because he played for the SA Sevens Academy in Dubai in 2012 and was part of the Bok Sevens World Series squad in Port Elizabeth last December.

“He is an exciting attacking player and someone that will obviously add a lot of value to our existing squad.”

The 12-man Springbok Sevens squad for Dubai will be named on Friday, with the group leaving Cape Town for the UAE two days later.

South Africa is currently fourth on the World Series standings after the opening round at the Gold Coast.

The Springbok Sevens will feature in Pool D – with Argentina, Russia and defending Dubai champions Samoa - on the opening day of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

South Africa
HSBC Sevens World Series, Pool D
Fixtures, November 29, 2013

08.40 v Argentina
13.10 v Russia
18.54 v Samoa


It’s him! Sabaa proves a popular attraction on the Big Bus tour

It’s not. It couldn’t be. It is!

Sabaa, the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens mascot, hopped on the Big Bus, the popular double-decker sightseeing tour in Dubai, to take in the sights himself, and – of course – promote this year’s event, which takes place at 7he Sevens stadium next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 28-30.

Not surprisingly, Sabaa’s appearance on the Big Bus turned a few heads. But he proved a popular attraction, and basked in the attention from the passengers on the bus, as well as the passers-by - many of whom waved, and stopped to say ‘hello’ when he stepped off the bus at the various stop off points.

And it became clear that Sabaa will have plenty of company when the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens gets underway next Thursday, November 28. As ever, there is lots of enthusiasm for Dubai’s biggest sporting festival of the year, and tickets are selling as well as always.

To avoid the queues at 7he Sevens next week, it is worth buying tickets in advance. For more information on how to buy your tickets, check out the website.

Big Bus Tours has been the official bus partner of the tournament for the past eight years, providing free return shuttles from the Sevens’ venue back to the city since 2005. Hop-on the Big Bus Dubai from the venue to Dubai Media City or Dubai festival City.


They’ve dropped down a level – but South Africa’s women see Dubai as the start of the way back to the top table

A year after they reached the first IRB Women’s Sevens World Series Cup Final, South Africa return this year to take part in the Invitation Tournament between November 28 and 30 – with a place in the World Series ‘core’ line-up, and the Rio Olympic Games, already in the sights of coach Renfred Dazel.

The South African Select Team will compete this year in the International Invitation Womens section of the Invitation tournament, and Dazel is bringing a squad that balances experience and youth as he sets about building for the future.

“As ever, we are looking forward to Dubai, and to the competition,” said Dazel. “We are in the process of building a new team and we believe the balance of youth and experience in the squad will provide a solid platform to build from.

“This will also be a good opportunity to expose the younger players to Sevens rugby at a high level and to face some international opposition, and it will be important to groom the players for the qualifying stages of the 2016 Olympic Games.”

The team will face Belgium, the West Coast Vikings, Tuks Ladies and the Moscow Region teams in the round-robin stages on November 29, with the Cup and Plate semi-finals and finals taking place the following day, November 30.

Last year in Dubai - at the first ever IRB Women’s World Series tournament - South Africa reached the Cup final, where they were defeated 41-0 by New Zealand.

They took part in three of the four IRB Women’s Sevens World Series tournaments, but were unable to repeat their performance in Dubai, and finished eighth in the overall standings at the end of the season.
The South Africans then missed out on a ‘core’ place in this season’s World Series campaign after failing to make the quarter-finals of the IRB Sevens World Cup in Moscow, in June.

MEANWHILE, Kenya’s growing profile in Sevens will be boosted as they too have a women’s team taking part in the Invitation Tournament.

The Kenyan ladies, known as the lionesses, are eyeing victory in Dubai as a way of earning themselves an invitation to compete in an IRB Women’s Sevens World Series event later this season. The Kenyan men’s team have established themselves as one of the top six teams in the HSBC Sevens World Series.


Ireland hope their Dubai debut is the start of
‘great things to come’

Ireland’s women sevens team hope their Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens debut is the first step to qualifying for the Olympic Games tournament in Rio in 2016.

The Irish squad achieved ‘core’ status in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series after reaching the quarter-finals at the IRB Sevens World Cup earlier this year.

And they proved then - as they did in their only IRB Women’s Sevens World Series appearance last season, when they finished fifth in China - that they have the potential to make quite an impact in their first Dubai campaign, and throughout the season.

“We are really excited about making our debut as a core team at the world seven series in Dubai,” said coach Jon Skurr.

“It’s a busy year for Irish rugby, and we will see lots of new players stepping up to the international game.”
“It's going to be a tough start but our plan it's to develop a bigger pool of players who can qualify for and compete in first Sevens Olympic tournament in 2016!

“The first stage in this development is Dubai and we are looking forward to the challenge of playing in such a great sevens tournament.”

IRELAND - IRB Women’s Sevens World Series:

IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Pool A
Fixtures, November 28, 2013

14.06 v USA
16.42 v New Zealand
19.40 v Fiji


Amor looking for a winning return to a favourite venue

England Head Coach Simon Amor says “happy memories” of the event mean he is looking forward to returning to the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, which takes place between November 28 and 30.

Amor, who took over from Ben Ryan as Head Coach back in September, was a double Dubai winner as England’s captain in 2004 and 2005. And that is just one of the reasons Dubai has a special place in his heart.

“I have always enjoyed Dubai,” he said. “England always have great support in there, and it undoubtedly gives us a real lift.

“It’s a great environment to play in, and I’m really looking forward to coming back as England’s Head Coach – I have many happy memories of playing in Dubai.”

England, who won in Dubai under Ryan in 2010 and 2011, will arrive in an upbeat mood after taking third place in the opening HSBC Sevens World Series tournament of the season, in Australia last month.

After a narrow defeat to eventual tournament winners New Zealand, Amor’s England then thrashed South Africa 47-0 to take third place.

“After making a promising start to the series in Australia, we’ll be doing everything in our power to take another step forward at The Sevens,” said Amor, the World Series Player-of-the-Year in 2004.

“This is a period of change for us as we ingrain new ways of playing, but there are several names our fans in the UAE will be familiar with, and hopefully they’ll give us the same fantastic support that we’ve had in previous years.”

The Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens takes place between November 28 and 30 at 7he Sevens Stadium. There will be 16 teams, including England, in the second round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, and 12 teams (including England) taking part in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

This year’s Invitation Tournament has a record 213 teams, with over 3,000 players.


The Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens gets better every year, says ‘super fan’ Keerthi

Rugby mad Keerthi Basnayake is a Dubai Sevens super fan. So much so, that he has attended every Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens event since it first hosted a round of the IRB World Series tournament back in 1999.

Indeed, a souvenir rugby shirt he bought during his first visit to the Sevens in Dubai remains one of his prized possessions. And once again Keerthi will be visiting on all three days of this year’s event, on November 28, 29 and 30.

“I love the Sevens in Dubai, and it is one of the first things I put in my diary at the start of every year,” said Keerthi, 39, who works in the travel and hospitality industry. “From the world class action of the World Series to the fantastic Invitation Tournament – it really is three great days.

“It was in 1999 that I moved to Dubai, and as a keen rugby fan and player, making a date with the Sevens here was among my priorities. I loved it, and every year it has just got bigger and better.

“It has something for everyone, and it’s a fantastic event for families now. 7he Sevens stadium is a wonderful facility and venue and has made a big difference, and it is always very well organized. Dubai is rightly proud of it.”

Keerthi – who was once good enough as a player to be a member of the Sri Lankan national squad for two years in the 1990s – puts meeting New Zealand All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick as his fondest memory of 14 years. And he singles out Brian Habana, of South Africa, and England’s Simon Amor as the two players who have made an impact with him.

“Habana was a fantastic player, and it was a pleasure to see him when he took part in Dubai,” said Keerthi. “Amor was not only an outstanding player, he was – is – a great role model, and always has time for people. I’m sure he’ll do a great job as England coach.”

England are the team that Keerthi follows during the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens. But for this year’s HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Dubai he has a hunch about Fiji as potential champions.

“I’m sure Ben Ryan will have them fired up, and of course he has experience of winning in Dubai as England’s coach in 2010 and 11,” said Keerthi. “Fiji are a strong team, they’ll be charged up, are playing well. They deserve to win in Dubai.

“I’m delighted the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series is a part of Dubai, and the standard is outstanding – New Zealand looked very strong last year, but I think Australia could be the ones to watch this time: they seem to be in good shape, and have some very good sprinters in the team, so watch out for them.

“Sevens is a great sport – it’s very exciting, very fast and I think it’s terrific that teams like Kenya can come through and emerge as a World Class team.”

The Dubai Rugby Sevens takes place between November 28 and 30 at 7he Sevens Stadium. This year a record 213 teams, with over 3,000 players, will be taking part in the invitation Tournament.

The IRB Women’s Sevens World Series round one tournament begins on Thursday, November 28, and reaches its conclusion the following day. The second round of the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series will be held throughout Friday, November 29, and Saturday, November 30.

Tickets are still on sale and for more about The Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens go to www.dubairugby7s.com.


Sir Gordon sets his sights on a sixth Dubai title

The Head Coach of the mighty New Zealand rugby Sevens squad, Sir Gordon Tietjens, believes it is “about time” the All Blacks added a sixth Dubai World Series title to their long collection of honours.

The all-conquering Kiwis are the current HSBC Sevens World Series overall champions, and winners of the IRB Sevens World Cup title in June. They also won Round One of this season’s World Series, on the Gold Coast in Australia last month.

And Sir Gordon says he will be looking for his team to carry on from where they left off Australia, when they take part in the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, between November 29 and 30.

They won this season’s first round in convincing style, and the legendary coach– who has guided his team to 11 overall World Series titles in the 14 years that the competition started – says there is a particular incentive to do well in Dubai.

Five time champions in Dubai, the All Blacks have not won at 7he Sevens since 2009, when they beat Samoa. Last year the Samoans gained revenge for that defeat, when they beat New Zealand in the final to take their first Dubai title.

Said Sir Gordon, who was knighted in Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours List earlier this year: “Dubai’s always an exciting event. We always have great support out there, because there’s a lot expats, and others who fly in for the tournament, and it’s always appreciated.

“But Dubai is a tournament we haven’t won for a number of years now, and it is about time we changed that, so we have to carry on from where we left off at the Gold Coast in round one, and if we do that, we have a chance.”

New Zealand were in terrific form at the Gold Coast event – going through the Pool matches without conceding a point, then beating Samoa, England and finally host nation Australia in the final, when they fought back from 12-nil down to win 40-19.

Their performance in Round 1 established them as favourites to win a 12th World Series title this season, and victory in Dubai would further underline that tag.

Indeed, victory at the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens would be particularly sweet for Sir Gordon, who admits to having a big soft spot for this event.
“We always look forward to going there,” he said.

“Dubai’s a great event: for the thousands of people who turn up every year and create a fantastic atmosphere, the lovely environment; and it’s generally a lovely place to visit - I always enjoy going there, and we are always made very welcome.

“Dubai as a Sevens event is superbly well run, it generates a lot of interest, and what makes it special is that you’ve the women’s tournament running alongside ours, and then all invitation matches going on around and about, too.”

NEW ZEALAND
(Gold Coast, HSBC Sevens World Series round 1: CHAMPIONS)

HSBC Sevens World Series, Pool A
Fixtures, November 29, 2013
09.24 v France
13.54 v Portgual
19.16 v Kenya


Airbus show their sponsorship commitment to the
Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens – by entering a team!

Sponsors are always looking for fresh ways of supporting their investment, and those involved with backing the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens are no different.

This year aircraft manufacturers Airbus – one of the event’s main sponsors - have taken it to a new level. Along with being a sponsor, they are going to take part in it in the event! They will be among the 213 teams taking part in this year’s Invitation Tournament between November 28 and 30.

“We have entered a team to take part in one of the best veteran tournament around the world,” said company spokesman Pierre Ligneres. “The opportunity to play rugby and spend time with other teams from different nationality is very interesting.

“Several divisions of Airbus are represented, and our players range from 36 to 55 years. The common goal is to enjoy good moments together on and off the rugby field.”

Airbus, whose headquarters is in Toulouse, in the south west of France, where rugby is a thriving sport, will not be turning up as rookies. They are already active in the 15-a-side game in France.

Said Pierre: “We play all around the year against rugby teams from south-west of France, trainings are once per week and we play a match once per month.”

So what is the chance of a sponsors’ team lifting a trophy during the tournament?

“It would be lovely, but I don’t expect it for our first participation in the tournament,” said Pierre. “Initially we want to play rugby, and have the pleasure of being on the field in a fantastic event, but we also want to meet and mingle with other rugby players.”

The Dubai Rugby Sevens takes place between November 28 and 30 at 7he Sevens Stadium. This year a record 213 teams, with over 3,000 players, will be taking part in the invitation Tournament.

For more about The Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens go to www.dubairugby7s.com.

For more about Airbus, go to www.airbus.com


Fancy dress delight!
Mr Ben’s is promising another colourful year at the
Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens

Look out for an influx of meerkats at this month’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens. Keep an eye out too for The Simpsons, the Jolly Green Giant, and Tango Man!

These are just some of the most popular costumes so far requested by visitors coming to this year’s three day event, between November 28 and 30. Meerkats certainly appears to be a popular choice of fancy dress costume.

“Whatever it is about meerkats, I’ve had a big order for and we’re busy making sure we meet demand,” said Mr Ben’s owner Jayne Eastland. “I’m sure they’ll attract plenty of attention at The Sevens, especially if they all walk around the venue together.

“But meerkats isn’t the only popular theme – we’ve had plenty of requests for characters from The Simpsons; the Jolly Green Giant is popular, and so too Tango Man.

“There’s also been a big demand for morph masks – especially in the colours of various countries people will be supporting when they’re at the event.

“Alien morph masks are becoming particularly popular – they look really cool, so expect to see plenty of them at 7he Sevens during tournament time.

“And the other popular costume being requested are our all in one UAE morph suits – again, they look fantastic, and there’ll be some really colourful groups and individuals at the event, as always.”

Tickets for this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens are selling fast, and over a 100,000 people are expected attend over three days, between November 28 and 30.

There is still plenty of time to buy tickets, and to order a fancy dress costume for this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens.

For information on how to buy your tickets for this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, go to our website: www.dubairugby7s.com.

For more information, call in to Mr Ben’s at Al Diyafa Street/Al Wasl Junction, 213756 Dubai, call 04 346 3422, or visit the website: http://www.mrbenscostumecloset.com


Coach hopes Wales’ “positive” start to the
season will continue in Dubai

With little over two weeks to go until the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, Wales' head coach Paul John has challenged his side to become more consistent.

Wales reached the quarter-finals in the first round of the HSBC Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast last month. They were beaten by South Africa – and that frustrated John, as his team enjoyed a strong pre-season that included wins over the South Africans.

Earlier, in the pool rounds, they lost to Canada but beat Fiji and finished with two narrow losses to South Africa and then Kenya in the Plate semis.

"Overall it was a better start than last year,” said John. "We reached the quarter-finals, which we didn't do 12 months ago, but it was frustrating to be so close against South Africa. We were really competitive against them but looking back it was definitely a game we could have won."

Now, John wants the side to take the positives away from the Australian trip, and work hard on consistency ahead of their pool challenge in Dubai on November 29, which involves matches against Scotland, Spain and Gold Coast runners-up, Australia.

"We have to get the standard of performance right in every game of the group. There are no easy games and there is no room for complacency. That's what we're working on, making sure we have consistency of performance on a regular basis and at each tournament.”

"The training camp ahead of Dubai won't be much different to normal but you can't take shortcuts in preparation and we won't be doing that.

"The core group of players will all come back into training and maybe a few extra boys too who will be given the chance to impress. The players performed well in Australia but we have a good squad and will look at everyone with regards to selection.”

WALES (Gold Coast, HSBC Sevens World Series round 1: 8th)

Pool B
Fixtures, November 13, 2013
10.32 v Spain
15.02 v Scotland
19.40 v Australia


Leal: “Reaching the Dubai quarter-finals
was far more important than scoring the ‘try of the season’!”

Portugal Sevens star Pedro Leal says returning to Dubai later this month will be particularly special for him, after a try he scored at 7he Sevens 12 months ago was voted by fans the ‘Try of the Season’.

Leal scored his stunning try during a pool game against the eventual Tournament champions Samoa, and Sevens supporters all over the world made it the overwhelming choice as the best scored during the 2012/2013 campaign.

And though he would be delighted to score an equally impressive try at this month’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, which takes place between November 28 and 30, he says he would pass on the opportunity if it meant his team progressed through to the later stages of the competition, as they did last year.

He said: “Of course it was a very proud moment for me last year – obviously it was a try I was very happy to score, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who voted for it.

“We actually lost that game, but Dubai did prove a good weekend for us because on the same day that I scored that try, we beat England and South Africa for the first time, and that was very important to us because it meant we qualified for the quarter-final of the Cup.

“So if we can do that again this year, then that will be fantastic, whether I score a try or not – and it is important we turn up at every tournament believing we can win matches, and thinking about every point. We have to play every game as if it was the Cup final!”

This is Portugal’s second year as one of the 15 ‘core’ teams in the HSBC Sevens World Series. And with the International Rugby Board having introduced automatic relegation for the team finishing bottom of the overall standings at the end of the season, Leal knows his team are going to have to play consistently well throughout the campaign.

Last season they were one of three teams that featured in the end of season play-off, and they beat Russia to seal their status for another season.

Portugal, who will feature in Group A, with New Zealand, Kenya and France at this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, ended last season with 10 HSBC Sevens World Series defeats in a row. And with five defeats in six matches at the season opening Gold Coast tournament in Australia last month –their only win coming in the Shield semi-final, against Tonga – Leal knows this season is going to be a tough one.

“We do know that – just as it was very hard year for us last season, and what makes it even tougher knowing that the team finishing in 15th gets relegated,” he said.

“We have more responsibilities, we are very proud to be a ‘core’ team, and we love taking part in all the World Series tournaments.”

PORTUGAL (Gold Coast, HSBC Sevens World Series, Round 1: 14th)
HSBC Sevens World Series, Pool A
Fixtures, November 29, 2013
09.46 v Kenya
13.54 v New Zealand
17.18 v France


Treu starts work, and looks to make an immediate
impact in Dubai

New Kenya Head Coach Paul Treu says he is looking to make an immediate impact in his new role when he leads his team for the first time at the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, which takes place between November 28 and 30.

Treu, who was finally announced as Kenya’s coach towards the end of last month, ending two months of speculation, is already looking further down the line – and targeting a medal when Sevens makes its Olympic debut in Rio, in 2016.

But Dubai is his immediate priority, and Treu –regarded by many as the best coach in international Sevens after New Zealand’s all-conquering Sir Gordon Tietjens - is looking for the team to improve on its sixth place finish at the season opening Gold Coast Sevens in Australia last month.

He said: “Obviously, the team always wants to do better, and I will be looking at improving the performance in Dubai, and then in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the following week.

“I think there is so much potential in the Kenyan squad, with awesome athletes and great players,” said the former South Africa coach, who quit at the end of last season.

Crediting his predecessor Mike Friday, Treu said Kenya have made long strides in Sevens in recent years, and believes they have the potential to establish themselves as one of the sports’ leading nations.

He said: “They have the potential to win a tournament, the potential to be a bit more consistent, and they also have the potential to qualify for Rio and win a medal.”

Treu guided South Africa to a second place overall finish last season, and his team beat champions New Zealand in three finals. Neil Powell has been succeeded him in charge of The Blitzbokke.

KENYA (Gold Coast, HSBC Sevens World Series, Round 1: 6th)

HSBC Sevens World Series, Pool A
Fixtures, November 29, 2013
09.46 v Portugal
14.16 v France
19.16 v New Zealand


Careem on board to offer a convenient travel service for corporate visitors to Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens

You’ve got your tickets. Now you need to arrange your transport to this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Well, the great news is that organisers of this year’s event have teamed up with the car-booking service Careem to give visitors to 7he Sevens the opportunity to travel there and back in luxury, and at times to suit their convenience.

Careem is an online platform, with a downloadable app for iPhone and Android, that will allow corporate hospitatlity hosts and their guests to request a car for a set time, or as soon as possible. Careem will then inform their customer how long the car will take to arrive - so they can continue to enjoy the matches – and an SMS message will be sent on the driver’s arrival.

Said Gemma McKeown, the Marketing Director of Careem: “ We are delighted to be providing this service to Sevens rugby fans, and hope the convenience of it makes for an even more fulfilling day.

“To add to the convenience, we have created a designated pick-up point for Careem cars in the VIP parking area, so our customers can be sure there will be no difficulty locating their driver.

“We would encourage customers to book their car in advance to avoid disappointment, and particularly if they would like to be picked up and dropped off at specific times. Otherwise, customers can simply log onto www.careem.com as and when they like.”

Donal Kilalea, the Commercial and Operations Director of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, said the partnership with Careem further emphasised the event’s determination to provide services throughout the three days that cater for all visitors.

He said: “This is a another great service for visitors to 7he Sevens, enriching the experience of coming to the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens for some, and I am delighted to be working with Careem this year.

“What we’re offering visitors is the opportunity to be driven to and from the event in comfort, and at their convenience, if that is what they wish. It means they can enjoy the atmosphere without having to worry about driving back, or the inconvenience of having to leave their car at the venue overnight.”

As a courtesy from Careem, when customers sign up online, or through the app, they will receive an automatic credit of AED50 when booking their first ride – simply enter the promotional code: VIPRugby.


A terrific Thursday in store, as Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens set new records

A full programme of IRB Women’s Sevens World Series competition, and the start of the biggest Invitation Tournament ever, promises to make the opening day of this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens the busiest in its proud history.

This year’s Invitation Tournament will be setting new highs, as it welcomes over 3,000 players, competing for 213 teams in 14 different sections, over three days, starting on Thursday, November 28.

With 18 matches in the Women’s Sevens World Series getting their new season underway, a terrific day of top class rugby action is promised at 7he Sevens – and admittance on the Thursday is free!

“I’m delighted that the interest in the Invitation Tournament just keeps on growing,” said tournament manager Jill Conlon. “It’s going to be extremely busy, but very rewarding.

“This what the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens was founded on – the event has a wonderful history going back to 1970, and the Invitation Tournament is keeping with that; it is why invited teams of all standards love coming and having a game, and then enjoying the social side afterwards.”

Along with the players coming for the fun, the Invitation Tournament also attracts former internationals, who love nothing more than dusting down their boots, and playing in the veterans tournament.

Among those who will be in action on the opening day of this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, and throughout the weekend, are some of the biggest names in world rugby – such as World Cup winners Jason Robinson of England and South Africa’s Bobby Skinstad.

The Invitation Tournament will be played on all seven pitches over the three days of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, beginning on Thursday, November 28.

The IRB Women’s Sevens World Series round one tournament begins on the Thursday, and reaches its conclusion the following day. The second round of the men’s HSBC Sevens World Series will be held throughout Friday and Saturday.


Goal Zero has the power, as Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens offers another great facility for visitors

Organisers of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens have announced that there will be two solar phone charging stations at 7he Sevens for this year's event.

With energy conservation and environmental issues very much a topical subject in Dubai, the arrangement with Goal Zero for the use of two solar powered charging stations - known as Street Charge - is well timed.

Street Charge is a drop-in solar power solution that charges mobile phones, and other handheld electronics.

It means visitors to the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens will be able to charge their phones using built-in USB ports and charging tips. Solar panels collect the suns energy and lithium batteries store it, so there will never be a problem charging up.

"The timing is actually pure coincidence, but we are delighted to have this arrangement for the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens," said Donal Kilalea, the event's Commercial and Operations Director.

"These are for mobile phones, and is another useful facility we are offering visitors to the event. It is also a nice touch given that solar power is a topic very much in the news here in Dubai at the moment."

Last week HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, switched on phase one of a solar power plant 50 kilometres out of the city.

Over the next 15 years, new incentives will be offered to install solar heating and electricity, as the emirate intends to cut its energy and water demand by 30 per cent.

For more information on Goal Zero, visit their website: http://www.goalzero.ae/


Gilbert are on the ball yet again!


RUGBY specialists Gilbert will be the Official ball supplier to the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens once again.
This is the 15th consecutive year the UK based company have been involved in the tournament, since it became a world series round in 1999. Gilbert also supply the balls for the other eight rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series, and all five rounds of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

“We’re delighted to be the ball suppliers in Dubai yet again,” said Ronan Greene, of Prosports, the main distributor for Gilbert in the Middle East.

“Dubai is a fantastic tournament, and it is a privilege to have been involved with it in each of the years that it has hosted a World Series Sevens event.

“We are very proud of our association with rugby, and with Sevens gaining rapid pace in popularity, especially now it’s an Olympic sport, we are committed to supporting the continued growth.”

Gilbert was recently announced as the Official and Exclusive ball to the Rugby World Cup 2015 – and with the company, whose history dates back to the early beginnings of the sport in the 19th century, having been used throughout the last five World Cups, they continue to be the most consistent ball available.

Not content to rest on its laurels, Gilbert have recently branched into Team wear, and currently sponsor a number of teams globally – including Welsh club Newport Gwent Dragons in the Rabo Direct Pro 12, Narbonne in France, The Lions Super 15 franchise in South Africa, and some of the games fastest emerging nations in the UAE, Germany and Denmark.


Tough Draw for the Defending Women’s Champions


Defending Dubai champions New Zealand will face the USA, Ireland and Fiji in the Pool stages of round one of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series campaign.

For the Kiwis, who will arrive at the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens as overall defending series champions, as well as the newly crowned World Champions, it is a tough draw.
 
The USA were World Cup semi-finalists, and eventually finished third in Moscow four months ago, while Ireland will be making their Dubai debuts, but finished an impressive fifth in their only World Series event last season, and then made it to the World Cup quarter-finals.

Fiji are one of the four invited teams at the Dubai round of this season’s IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, and are also making their debuts in Dubai. But with Sevens so popular in Fiji, and their male counterparts traditionally one of the strongest teams in the HSBC Sevens World Series, they are looking to make an impact at 7he Sevens.

The women’s tournament gets underway on November 28, with Canada versus France kicking off proceedings at 1pm in a Pool C match. France are another invited team, along with Brazil, who also feature in Pool C, alongside Australia.

The fourth invited team, Tunisia, feature in Pool B, alongside England, Russia and Spain.

"Last season’s inaugural IRB Women's Sevens World Series was a great success and we're very excited about building on that solid foundation after a Rugby World Cup Sevens which was also extremely hard-fought,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"The women’s series gives these nations the rigorous and regular international competition they need to build their programmes as they countdown towards Rugby Sevens’ Olympic debut in 2016.
"Having hosted the first Rugby World Cup Sevens for women back in 2009, Dubai has been a ground-breaking venue for women's rugby in recent times and we are delighted that the same wonderful venue gives us the opportunity to have the finest men’s and women’s players in the world playing alongside each other.”
The first round of this season’s IRB Women’s Sevens World Series campaign takes place over two days at the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens: on November 28 and 29.

After Dubai, the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series goes to the USA (February 15-16), Brazil (February 21-22), China (April 5-6) and The Netherlands (May 16-17).

New Zealand, Australia, England, USA, Canada, Spain, Russia and Ireland are this season’s eight ‘core’ teams.

Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens:

IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, Round 1

Pool A: New Zealand, Fiji, Ireland, USA

Pool B: England, Russia, Spain, Tunisia

Pool C: Australia, Canada, France, Brazil


Golden Kiwis Coast To Victory In Season Opener



Defending HSBC Sevens World Series champions New Zealand have begun the new season with an ominous warning for their rivals: they remain the team to beat.

As they now begin preparations for round two of the series, the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens next month, the Kiwis won the opening round of the season, in the Gold Coast, Australia, with a convincing victory over the host nation in the final.

They will be chasing their first Dubai title since 2009, and will line up with Kenya, Portugal and France in Pool A at 7he Sevens between November 29 and 30.

Round One runners up Australia face Wales, Scotland and Spain in Pool B, with England, Fiji, Canada and the USA making up Pool C, and defending Dubai champions Samoa, South Africa, Argentina and Russia in Pool D.

New Zealand’s victory at the Gold Coast was their first in Australia since it became the venue for the season’s opening tournament two years ago. It is also the first time they have won the first round of the HSBC Sevens World Series campaign since their last victory in Dubai, in 2009.

After romping through the Pool section at the Gold Coast without conceding a point, they then thrashed Samoa in the quarter-finals, before ending England's’ hopes in the semis, and then fighting back from 12-nil down against Australia, to take the trophy 41-19.

“It’s great, but that was really tough,” said New Zealand coach Sir Gordon Tietjens, celebrating his 48th tournament win at the start of the 15th season of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

“Australia must have been tiring towards the end, but it was a real gutsy performance from them in the final, and though we came out a bit complacent at the start, we soon knew we had a game on our hands, and fought back really well.”

New Zealand’s victory ended Fiji’s two year domination of the Gold Coast tournament. The Fijians, under new coach Ben Ryan, left with fifth place in his first tournament as coach. Ironically, it was Ryan’s former charges, England, who dashed his hopes of a semi-final place.

England then lost to New Zealand in the semis, but bounced back to thrash South Africa 47-0 to take third place.

Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, November 28-30. HSBC Sevens World Series:

Pool A: France, Portugal, Kenya, New Zealand
Pool B: Wales, Scotland, Spain, Australia
Pool C: England, Fiji, Canada, USA
Pool D: South Africa, Samoa, Argentina, Russia

HSBC Sevens World Series, Round 1, Gold Coast, Australia.

Cup winners: New Zealand, who beat Australia 41-19
3rd place: England, 4th: South Africa.

Plate Winners: Fiji (beat Kenya 36-0).
Bowl winners: France (beat Canada 19-14 in sudden death extra-time).
Shield winners: USA (beat Portugal 22-0).

The draw for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series round one, at the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, is yet to be done.

Eight core teams (Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, and USA) and four invited teams (Brazil, Fiji, France and Tunisia) will take part over two days, on November 28 and 29).


SEE ALSO: Tickets Now on Sale

Circus workshops will add to the opportunities for children to clown around at this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens


From juggling to walking on stilts. From riding a unicycle to plate spinning.

Children will be given the opportunity to learn those skills, and lots more, when they visit this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens. And there will be plenty of opportunities for clowning around, too!
It is all thanks to a new partnership event organisers have formed with the UAE based theatrical development company, The Jugglebox.

The Jugglebox team of top circus performers will be passing on the secrets of their skills during all three days of the Sevens event, which this year runs from November 28 to 30. On the Friday and Saturday of the event, they will also be putting on shows throughout the day, to add to the children’s entertainment.

Jugglebox performers will also feature in the event’s Grand Parade, on November 29 – with the internationally acclaimed juggler Luis Malabara among the performers entertaining the crowds.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, and are all really excited about putting on workshops for the children, and helping to keep them entertained,” said Ian McKellar, the owner, and Creative Director, of The Jugglebox.

“The Sevens in Dubai is a massive event, and a fantastic place to visit as a family; and if we can help make the day out even more memorable and fun, then all the better.”

The Jugglebox will be putting on fun and play activities for the under 7s, with the workshops for children of 7 and over, adding to the entertainment in the Children’s Village, which also includes the HSBC World of Sport.

“I’m really delighted that The Jugglebox have come on board with us, they’re a terrific organization and will give the children coming to the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens an enormous amount of fun,” said Donal Kilalea, the Commercial and Operations Director of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens.

“The Children’s Village is going to be a hive of great fun activities, and with a designated entrance for families, along with the 2-thousand seats reserved for mums, dads and their children in the Air BP stand, we really are making it a wonderful experience for family visitors.”


Buying early could be just the ticket for a VIP experience at this year’s
Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens 

Fans heading to this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens are being offered the chance to win a memorable VIP experience.

Buying a ticket for the event before the end of this month could lead to a day out for two in the luxury of corporate hospitality.


The experience includes breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea; five complimentary beverage vouchers, seats in the VIP stand, VIP parking, and a souvenir event programme.

And to win it, all you have to do is buy your ticket before October 31, then enter a simple competition once you have bought it.

Just visit tournament page on Facebook page, ‘Dubairugby7s’, enter either the pin number on your ticket, or the reference number on your print out on the Facebook competition link, and it could be the start of an even more memorable day out at 7he Sevens than originally planned. One winner receives two corporate hospitality tickets for a day.

The pin number is easy to find: it is printed along the bottom of the ticket.

“We’re encouraging people to buy tickets early, and this is just another incentive,” said Donal Kilalea, Commercial and Operations Director of Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens.

“By buying a ticket before the event, you’re saving money, because it’s more expensive on the gate, and not only that, you avoid the queues on the day of your visit.

“But as a little extra incentive we thought we would organise this simple competition on our Facebook page, to offer fans a chance to win an upgrade, and make a memorable day out even more special.”


 


Tickets for the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens – Dubai’s biggest sporting event of the year - can be bought via www.dubairugby7s.com, and also through ITP Tickets, Ticketmaster.ae, Time Out Tickets, Virginmegastore.me, and What’s On Box Office.

Tickets can also be bought in person from numerous outlets around Dubai: EK Headquarters, dnata Travel Centres, 7he Sevens, Decathlon Mirdiff City Centre, MMI Outlets (selected stores), Bidi Bondi Bar, Costa Outlets (selected stores), Mr Ben’s Costume Closet, and Virgin Megastores.

For a full list of outlets visit the tournament website: www.dubairugby7s.com

 

Crèche Out to make the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens
even more of a family experience


Organisers of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens have teamed up with international mobile child care company Crèche Out, in another move that underlines the commitment to visiting families.

The UK and Dubai based company will be providing top class crèche facilities for toddlers on all three days of this year's Sevens event, which this year takes place at 7he Sevens stadium from November 28 to 30.

"We're absolutely delighted to be a partner of such a prestigious sports event, and we are all very excited about it," said Sally Peers, Support Services Director of Crèche Out International.

"What we'll be offering on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens is top class facilities for toddlers and young children up to eight years old, with fully qualified staff who are trained to the highest levels.

"It means parents can leave their children in a safe, friendly and happy environment, while they have a bit of 'time out' together, to enjoy other facilities, and watch some rugby."

Crèche Out has been providing such facilities at major events for over 20 years, and regularly provide their services at high profile sporting events around the world.

"Our clients include the PGA Tour, where we look after the children of golfers all over Europe and the Middle East during tournaments, allowing their wives the opportunity to go out on the course and support their husbands," said Sally.

"We also look after the children of the English Cricket Team at their UK matches, and this year we looked after the children of both teams during the recent Ashes Test series. We have great experience at sporting events, and working with the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens is something we're really looking forward to."

Donal Kilalea, the Commercial and Operations Director of the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, said the partnership with Creche Out highlighted the commitment to making a visit to the event a special experience for visitors coming as a family.

He said: "We are delighted to have a partnership with Crèche Out, they are a very experienced company, and having them on site for three days enriches the experience of coming to our event as a family.

"For the first time this year, we have an entrance to 7he Sevens reserved especially for families.

"Children under 12 enter free if accompanied by an adult, and in The Air BP stand there are 2000 seats dedicated to mums, dads and children, where they can enjoy the Sevens action in a safe and friendly environment.

"The improved crèche facilities we are offering this year further underlines our desire to make the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens a complete family day out."



Dubai Rugby SevensTICKETS for this year's Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens - the biggest, and most colourful, event of the annual sporting calendar in Dubai - go on sale on September 30.

The annual rugby extravaganza, famous for its top class rugby action and fancy dress costumes of the fans, takes place at 7he Sevens from November 28 to 30.

Organisers are encouraging visitors to buy tickets before the event, to avoid queues when arriving at the venue, and save money in the process.

“This was something we did last year, and it proved both popular and successful,” said tournament Commercial and Operations Director, Donal Kilalea. “Buying tickets before the event speeds up the flow of people through the gates, and minimise the queues that can sometimes build up at an event which attracts such huge numbers.”

Just under 100,000 people attended the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens last year, and the tournament broke a world record for the number of live hours broadcast on TV, to 149 countries across the globe.

"Interest in the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens just grows and grows, and every year it becomes more popular, not just in Dubai, but with visitors from all over the world," said Gary Chapman, President Group Services and dnata, Emirates Group.

“It is a great showcase for Dubai, a fantastic sporting occasion with the world’s top players on show, and it’s always a wonderful atmosphere.

Rugby Lazz"There’s something for everyone; the Rugby Village is always a hive of activity, the fancy dress costumes become more daring every year.

“We are also very proud of our reputation as a great event for families – with a designated family entrance, 2000 seats set aside in the Air BP family stand, improved crèche facilities and entertainment for children throughout the day.”

Tickets for the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens – Dubai’s biggest sporting event of the year - can be bought via www.dubairugby7s.com, and also through Ticketmaster.ae, Virginmegastore.me, and Whats On Box Office.

They can also be bought in person from numerous outlets around Dubai: EK Headquarters, dnata Travel Centres, 7he Sevens, Decathlon Mirdiff City Centre, MMI Outlets (selected stores), Bidi Bondi Bar, Costa Outlets (selected stores), Mr Ben’s Costume Closet, and Virgin Megastores. For a full list of outlets visit the tournament website: www.dubairugby7s.com.

Visitors to the event also have the option of reserving their seats, if they wish. Corporate hospitality packages are also available for all three days through the official website: www.dubairugby7s.com.

Dubai Rugby SevensThe Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens is the second round of the HSBC Sevens World Series 2013/14, following the opening event in Australia on October 12 and 13. It is also the first round of the IRB Women’s World Series.

Samoa will return to this year’s Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens as defending champions. They won the title last year with a stunning 26-15 victory over New Zealand in the final.

New Zealand will be the defending women's champions in Dubai: they defeated South Africa in the final of their event 41-0 last year.

Since 2002 the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens – the Middle East’s longest running sports event - has been voted by the public ‘Favorite Sports Event’ ten times at the What’s On Awards.

Ticket prices 

Save if you buy before the day!!
One day tickets:
Friday 29 Nov: Dhs250
Saturday 30 Nov: Dhs250

On-the-day price: Dhs300 per day

Season Tickets:
Two day admission for both Friday and Saturday (buying before November 29) is Dh400
On-the-day price (buying Friday): Dhs500
Children aged under 12 are admitted free general admission if accompanied by an adult.

There is a FREE, regular, bus service, running from 7he Sevens stadium to designated locations
As always, there will be plenty of food and beverage outlets, catering for all tastes, including vegetarian, and healthy options for children.


 


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