DUBAI, UAE – Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens action kicked off with the Invitation Tournament getting underway across five pitches at 7he Sevens today, Thursday.
Some scintillating encounters saw a cross range of ages and abilities on display while the festive carnival atmosphere drew large crowds, who enjoyed the great rugby and fun entertainment on offer in the village area.
It was the Gulf Under 18 boys section that was particularly impressive on day one. Defending champions British School Al-Khubairat got their title defence off to a winning start with a 21-7 victory over the Dubai Hurricanes, following this up with a 17-5 win over GEMS Wellington International and then a comprehensive 31-0 victory over Dubai Exiles.
The star-studded Christina Noble Children’s Foundation vets team, meanwhile, looked intent on claiming their fifth consecutive International Vets title, not conceding a point on their way to recording two convincing wins – one by 45 to 0 over the Moscow Lads and the other by 35-0 over the Cairo Old Crocs.
Invitation tournament action will continue tomorrow at 7he Sevens, while the highly anticipated international men’s and women’s tournaments will kick off on pitch one.
Tomorrow morning see the 16 international men’s teams competing in round two of the HSBC Sevens World Series on pitch one, while the eight international women’s sides will compete in the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup, on both pitch one and two.
First off for the men will be Wales v Scotland at 9.20am which will be followed by Australia v Canada at 9.42am, then Fiji v Argentina at 10.04am.
It will then be the home side, the UAE’s turn to take to pitch one – a significant moment in the history of UAE rugby as this will be the first time they have participated in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens – and appropriately on the 40th anniversary of UAE National Day. The UAE side will face the tough task of taking on 2009/2010 Series champions Samoa in their opening match at 10.26am.
Current Series champions New Zealand will then take on the USA at 10.48am and they’ll be followed by South Africa v Portugal at 11.10am, France v Kenya at 11.32am and England v Zimbabwe at 11.54am. Matches will continue until around 9pm in the evening, when the party continues at the Rugby Rock concert in the rugby village.