Dubai Airports 7s an opportunity for UAE Shaheen team to flourish
by Matt Jones
Thursday 08 October 2015
High hopes: Mohammed Shaker.
Mohammed Shaker says the UAE Shaheen team have high expectations of winning the inaugural UAE Rugby Dubai Airports 7’s tournament in Dubai on Friday.
Shaheen assistant manager Shaker, also a UAE Rugby Federation board member, says the tournament, in which the Shaheen will face Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Qatar, will be very special and he expects the hosts to be competitive.
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“It is the inaugural event but we hope it will become an annual event,” said Shaker. “It will be a good thing for all Arab countries and I hope we will have more teams in the future. It will give the Shaheen boys more exposure and perhaps it will become a pathway to the national team.”
Games get underway at 7he Sevens at 09:00, the Shaheen opening up against Qatar, with Lebanon next up and finally Saudi Arabia, before all teams will play a semi-final, final and third place play-off.
“This tournament will be very special, with teams coming from around the Gulf,” said Shaker.
“It will be an opportunity for the new boys who haven’t played before. It will be useful and is the only way for them to develop.”
The tournament will be a debut for Qatar, while Shaker believes Lebanon will be the favourites.
“Lebanon are perhaps the strongest team but we hope to win and expect to compete,” said Shaker.
Also taking place on Friday is the first round of the West Asia Women’s 7’s Series, which will be hosted by Abu Dhabi Harlequins at Zayed Sports City.
The tournament will feature 13 teams competing in three divisions, including Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Bats and Jesters, Dubai Sharks 1sts, 2nds and 3rds, Heartbeat Tigers, Dubai Hurricanes, Al Ain Amblers 1sts and 2nds, Sharjah Wanderers, as well as Doha Oryx and Trojans.
Canes are the reigning league champions but Quins club captain Eileen Siegel says the home team’s three teams are eying success.
“We have three teams and we want to play our best rugby,” said Siegel. “We’re very proud to host the tournament opener.”