Dubai Tigers celebrate 10-year anniversary by retaining Gulf Men’s crown at Sevens

Saki Naisau scores hat-trick as holders beat Dubai Hurricanes in Pitch 1 final

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Dubai Tigers celebrated a decade of existence by beating Dubai Hurricanes to retain their Gulf Men’s League title at the Sevens.

The side, who also sit top of the West Asia Premiership table in XVs, beat their city rivals 28-5 on Pitch 1 on Sunday.

Tigers have established themselves as a leading force in regional rugby in recent seasons, and this was their second successive Emirates Dubai Sevens crown.

Although success for them has come relatively recently, their star player has long grown used to it.

Saki Naisau first moved to Al Ain from his native Fiji in 2015. In the time since then he has personally made the Gulf Men’s final eight times with various clubs.

He won it twice with the Hurricanes first, and has been central to the past two wins with the Tigers. This time around, he scored a hat-trick of tries against his former team.

“It feels good to have this success with my brothers,” Naisau said.

“We work together as a team. We are just a band of brothers working together to get the win on Pitch 1, so it was great.”

Charlie Taylor, the Tigers captain, played world series rugby for Australia before moving to the UAE.

He reckons Naisau would “100 per cent” have been good enough to play for Fiji’s national team had he stayed in his homeland, and he is grateful the Tigers have him in their ranks.

“Sakiusa is so talented,” Taylor said. “Everybody out there watching him on the big stage probably thinks, ‘Man, that guy must train six days a week, and put in effort after effort.’

“He barely trains, but when he goes out on the pitch it is 100 per cent. At training he is always pushing himself, and we just train twice a week.

“He is ruthless in both attack and defence. He has been the best player in the UAE for the past four or five years and you could see that on the pitch today.”

Taylor said the club had opted out of having a special edition orange tiger kit for the tournament. They retained their red and white stripes instead, but have more silverware to go along with it now.

“It has been a great way to celebrate 10 years as the Tigers,” Taylor said.

“We have been to the final three years in a row and won the past two, so we are really happy and appreciate all the boys putting the effort in.”

Updated: December 03, 2023, 2:20 PM