Dubai Dragons hosted Abu Dhabi Harlequins in their first game on the all-weather surface at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence last Friday. A match the Dragons won 17-15.
Dubai Dragons hosted Abu Dhabi Harlequins in their first game on the all-weather surface at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence last Friday. A match the Dragons won 17-15.

From sand to super turf, rugby in UAE has evolved



First they had to make do with sand, either rolled by a tractor or naturally flattened when the tide went out, with oil dripped to mark the lines.

Then, thanks to a substantial outlay by sponsors, or by borrowing a field from the local football team, they were afforded grass to play on.

Now, some of the UAE's rugby players have the luxury of being able to play on a Third Generation, artificial grass pitch with rubber-crumb in-fill.

The Dubai Dragons played their first home game on the newly-laid all-weather surface at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence, when they hosted Abu Dhabi Harlequins last Friday.

The artificial pitch is similar to that used by the national team in Hong Kong, one of the UAE's Asian Five Nations rivals, where the average annual rainfall of 2,400mm contrasts markedly with 120mm here.

Ironically, the Dragons picked the soggiest day of the year for the first game at their new home field.

The match was played in incessant rain but the pitch played perfectly.

"Our expectation before playing on it was that it might have been a little hard, but it was brilliant to play on," Trent Eastgate, the Dragons centre, said. "It had rained a lot but you couldn't tell. There were no puddles, it was perfect. There are no grass-burns and it is better for the body as well because the impact is softer."

The Dragons have been able to train on the pitch previously, but home advantage counted for little as they went down 17-15 despite holding a healthy half-time lead.

"There probably is a difference [between the artificial surface and grass] but the torrential rain made it tough to tell," Alistair Thompson, the Quins coach, said.

"It was very wet, but the surface seemed to play well and our boys had no complaints. If we had to play on astroturf again and get that result, we would take it."

The defeat meant the Dragons remain bottom of the Gulf Top Six competition. However, they return to a competition in which they have a 100 per cent record, when they face Al Ain Amblers at the Palm Sports Resort in the UAE Premiership this afternoon.

The top two sides will play off for the title at the end of the season, and Quins will try to maintain their outside chances when they host Muscat at Zayed Sports City.

THE SPECS

Aston Martin Rapide AMR

Engine: 6.0-litre V12

Transmission: Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic

Power: 595bhp

Torque: 630Nm

Price: Dh999,563

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Scoreline:

Cardiff City 0

Liverpool 2

Wijnaldum 57', Milner 81' (pen)

MATCH DETAILS

Chelsea 4 

Jorginho (4 pen, 71 pen), Azpilicueta (63), James (74)

Ajax 4

Abraham (2 og), Promes (20). Kepa (35 og), van de Beek (55) 

The Two Popes

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce 

Four out of five stars

SEMI-FINAL

Monterrey 1 

Funes Mori (14)

Liverpool 2

Keita (11), Firmino (90+1)

Results

6.30pm: The Madjani Stakes (PA) Group 3 Dh175,000 (Dirt) 1,900m

Winner: Aatebat Al Khalediah, Fernando Jara (jockey), Ali Rashid Al Raihe (trainer).

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner: Down On Da Bayou, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer.

7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Dubai Avenue, Fernando Jara, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh190,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner: My Catch, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Dubai Creek Mile (TB) Listed Dh265,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Secret Ambition, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar.

9.25pm: Handicap (TB) Dh190,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner: Golden Goal, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

UAE squad to face Ireland

Ahmed Raza (captain), Chirag Suri (vice-captain), Rohan Mustafa, Mohammed Usman, Mohammed Boota, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmad, Zawar Farid, CP Rizwaan, Aryan Lakra, Karthik Meiyappan, Alishan Sharafu, Basil Hameed, Kashif Daud, Adithya Shetty, Vriitya Aravind

FIXTURES

New Zealand v France, second Test
Saturday, 12.35pm (UAE)
Auckland, New Zealand

South Africa v Wales
Sunday, 12.40am (UAE), San Juan, Argentina

Three-day coronation

Royal purification

The entire coronation ceremony extends over three days from May 4-6, but Saturday is the one to watch. At the time of 10:09am the royal purification ceremony begins. Wearing a white robe, the king will enter a pavilion at the Grand Palace, where he will be doused in sacred water from five rivers and four ponds in Thailand. In the distant past water was collected from specific rivers in India, reflecting the influential blend of Hindu and Buddhist cosmology on the coronation. Hindu Brahmins and the country's most senior Buddhist monks will be present. Coronation practices can be traced back thousands of years to ancient India.

The crown

Not long after royal purification rites, the king proceeds to the Baisal Daksin Throne Hall where he receives sacred water from eight directions. Symbolically that means he has received legitimacy from all directions of the kingdom. He ascends the Bhadrapitha Throne, where in regal robes he sits under a Nine-Tiered Umbrella of State. Brahmins will hand the monarch the royal regalia, including a wooden sceptre inlaid with gold, a precious stone-encrusted sword believed to have been found in a lake in northern Cambodia, slippers, and a whisk made from yak's hair.

The Great Crown of Victory is the centrepiece. Tiered, gold and weighing 7.3 kilograms, it has a diamond from India at the top. Vajiralongkorn will personally place the crown on his own head and then issues his first royal command.

The audience

On Saturday afternoon, the newly-crowned king is set to grant a "grand audience" to members of the royal family, the privy council, the cabinet and senior officials. Two hours later the king will visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred space in Thailand, which on normal days is thronged with tourists. He then symbolically moves into the Royal Residence.

The procession

The main element of Sunday's ceremonies, streets across Bangkok's historic heart have been blocked off in preparation for this moment. The king will sit on a royal palanquin carried by soldiers dressed in colourful traditional garb. A 21-gun salute will start the procession. Some 200,000 people are expected to line the seven-kilometre route around the city.

Meet the people

On the last day of the ceremony Rama X will appear on the balcony of Suddhaisavarya Prasad Hall in the Grand Palace at 4:30pm "to receive the good wishes of the people". An hour later, diplomats will be given an audience at the Grand Palace. This is the only time during the ceremony that representatives of foreign governments will greet the king.

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

PROFILE BOX

Company name: Overwrite.ai

Founder: Ayman Alashkar

Started: Established in 2020

Based: Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai

Sector: PropTech

Initial investment: Self-funded by founder

Funding stage: Seed funding, in talks with angel investors

Omar Yabroudi's factfile

Born: October 20, 1989, Sharjah

Education: Bachelor of Science and Football, Liverpool John Moores University

2010: Accrington Stanley FC, internship

2010-2012: Crystal Palace, performance analyst with U-18 academy

2012-2015: Barnet FC, first-team performance analyst/head of recruitment

2015-2017: Nottingham Forest, head of recruitment

2018-present: Crystal Palace, player recruitment manager

 

 

 

 

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, second leg

Roma 4
Milner (15' OG), Dzeko (52'), Nainggolan (86', 90+4')

Liverpool 2
Mane (9'), Wijnaldum (25')

Jawab Iteiqal
Director: Mohamed Sammy
Starring: Mohamed Ramadan, Ayad Nasaar, Mohamed Adel and Sabry Fawaz
2 stars

MATCH INFO

France 3
Umtiti (8'), Griezmann (29' pen), Dembele (63')

Italy 1
Bonucci (36')

The specs

Engine: three three 212.7kWh motors
Power: 1,000bhp
Torque: 15,600Nm
Range: 530km
Price: Dh500,000+ est
On sale: early 2023

Squads

India (for first three ODIs) Kohli (capt), Rohit, Rahul, Pandey, Jadhav, Rahane, Dhoni, Pandya, Axar, Kuldeep, Chahal, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Umesh, Shami.

Australia Smith (capt), Warner, Agar, Cartwright, Coulter-Nile, Cummins, Faulkner, Finch, Head, Maxwell, Richardson, Stoinis, Wade, Zampa.

The specs: 2018 Ford Mustang GT

Price, base / as tested: Dh204,750 / Dh241,500
Engine: 5.0-litre V8
Gearbox: 10-speed automatic
Power: 460hp @ 7,000rpm
Torque: 569Nm @ 4,600rpm​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Fuel economy, combined: 10.3L / 100km

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

First Person
Richard Flanagan
Chatto & Windus 

Opening day UAE Premiership fixtures, Friday, September 22:

  • Dubai Sports City Eagles v Dubai Exiles
  • Dubai Hurricanes v Abu Dhabi Saracens
  • Jebel Ali Dragons v Abu Dhabi Harlequins
AUSTRALIA SQUAD v SOUTH AFRICA

Aaron Finch (capt), Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

Results

5.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,400m; Winner: Mcmanaman, Sam Hitchcock (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer)

6.05pm: Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Bawaasil, Sam Hitchcott, Doug Watson

6.40pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Dirt) 1,400m; Winner: Bochart, Fabrice Veron, Satish Seemar

7.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Mutaraffa, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

7.50pm: Longines Stakes – Conditions (TB) Dh120,00 (D) 1,900m; Winner: Rare Ninja, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

8.25pm: Zabeel Trophy – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Alfareeq, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9pm: Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (T) 2,410m; Winner: Good Tidings, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

9.35pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (T) 2,000m; Winner: Zorion, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi, Helal Al Alawi

 

A German university was a good fit for the family budget

Annual fees for the Technical University of Munich - £600

Shared rental accommodation per month depending on the location ranges between  £200-600

The family had budgeted for food, books, travel, living expenses - £20,000 annually

Overall costs in Germany are lower than the family estimated 

As proof that the student has the ability to take care of expenses, international students must open a blocked account with about £8,640

Students are permitted to withdraw £720 per month

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The finalists

Player of the Century, 2001-2020: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Ronaldinho

Coach of the Century, 2001-2020: Pep Guardiola (Manchester City), Jose Mourinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid), Sir Alex Ferguson

Club of the Century, 2001-2020: Al Ahly (Egypt), Bayern Munich (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Real Madrid (Spain)

Player of the Year: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Club of the Year: Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Real Madrid

Coach of the Year: Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta), Hans-Dieter Flick (Bayern Munich), Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

Agent of the Century, 2001-2020: Giovanni Branchini, Jorge Mendes, Mino Raiola


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