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UAE to host sevens tournament

Four-nation event planned for November in bid to boost sport regionally

Gulf News

Dubai: The United Arab Emirates plans to host an inter-Arabian Gulf Rugby Sevens tournament to boost the sport regionally, ahead of the 2014 Asian Games and the 2016 Olympics.

The event is also part of a drive to get Sevens into the West Asian Games, UAE Rugby Association chief Ian Bremner said.

Officials have held talks with rugby’s world governing body, the International Rugby Board (IRB), and plan to stage the four-nation event in November.

“We’ve just applied last week to the IRB to run a... tournament here with Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia and ourselves,” Bremner said.

“It’s a West Asian Sevens competition and this is obviously on the route towards the Asian Games.

Bremner said the IRB had encouraged the UAE to invigorate the sport in the region. “This is our first step in terms of hosting that tournament,” he said.

“We’d be very happy for any of the other teams attending to host another leg of that next year.”

The UAE’s rugby chiefs are looking to increase the number of nationals playing the game with a view to future involvement in the Asian and Olympic Games.

The sport will feature in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and also for the first time at an Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016.