The thrilling spectacle of the Dubai Rugby Sevens

Green rugby ball

The Dubai Rugby Sevens is the sporting highlight of the city’s jam-packed events calendar, taking place from the 29th November to 1st December. Non-stop action and an electric party atmosphere wow the crowds as the custom-built Sevens Stadium comes alive. Discover more about this sporting event below.

A long tradition

Now in its 49th year, the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens stemmed from humble beginnings as a tournament for British expatriates at Dubai Exiles RFC. There may have just been a handful of players and fans at the beginning to see the Staffordshire Regiment take the crown as inaugural champions, but this tournament has grown exponentially since then.

By 1999, Dubai hosted a component of the International Rugby Board’s Sevens World Series, and the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series was added to the schedule in 2012. The action is now beamed to keen audiences across the globe. In 2013, Dubai topped the list of broadcast hours of the HSBC Sevens World Series, with 657 hours of the competition shown throughout 145 countries in 309 million homes.

Exploring the venue

To keep up with the demand for this premier event, the Sevens Stadium was developed in 2008 to give the Dubai Rugby Sevens a place to call home. This impressive venue can seat 5,000 guests in its day-to-day grandstand, but when the Sevens takes place temporary stands are erected to bring the capacity up to a massive 50,000.

Broadcast, hospitality and medical facilities are all built into the design, and the venue can also cater for a range of other sports off-season, from basketball to cricket. Families will have their own entrance to the Sevens Stadium this year, with The Air BP Family Stand offering 2,000 allocated seats and children under 12 enjoying free admission. If you’re travelling with little ones then the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront has plenty to keep your kids occupied so you can relax after the rugby with a drink on the terrace.

The main event

There are three different tournaments taking place at the same time, which means there’s always a ball in play. The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens is the second round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, and the first round of the Women’s Seven Series. Will reigning women’s champions Australia take the top prize again? South Africa are the current champions in the men’s competition, taking the award over Australia in last year’s heart-pounding final. 12 teams will compete in the women’s event, and 16 in the men’s event. There’s also an Invitation Tournament, which will see over 3,300 players from around the world face off. These games are a chance to see some of the world’s best sevens players show off what they do best – whether it’s Argentina’s Santiago Gomez Cora or Samoa’s Uale Mai.

Even if you’re not a huge rugby fan, the livewire atmosphere, fancy dress and eye-catching attractions make this event a hit. Wander around the Rugby Village, with its international food stalls and giveaways from sponsors like Land Rover, Havianas and Heathrow Express. Kids can visit the Sabaa 7s Club, which will feature circus workshops for budding acrobats as well as bouncy castles, temporary tattoos and face painting. At night, the Rugby Rock concert is a showcase of internationally acclaimed live music that keeps the party atmosphere going until midnight. A free bus service to Dubai will get you back safely to our Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, or continue the night in style at Tamanya Terrace at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City.

Planning a trip to Dubai this December? Check out the events in Dubai that are worth the trip!

Top image © Dubai Rugby Sevens

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