The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens has grown beyond all recognition since the first tournament in 1970. Back then, a few supporters stood on the sideline or sat in the back of lorries to watch the action on a sand pitch with markings made from bitumen.
This time around, the organisers anticipate around 100,000 people will pass through the gates over the course of the weekend at The Sevens ground, where eight high-spec grass pitches will be in operation.
Invitation tournaments and the Women’s World Sevens Series competition start early on Thursday November 30, before the flagship men’s World Series starts on Friday December 1. Competition culminates with the Emirates Trophy Final on Pitch 1 at 7.33pm on Saturday December 2.
The Sevens, on the Dubai-Al Ain Road.
As many as 277 rugby teams and 689 rugby matches take place across the three days on all eight pitches. A total of 154 netball matches will take place on the netball courts as 44 teams are confirmed for the event.
Who to watch
The main action centres around the World Sevens Series matches on Pitch 1, where Jerry Tuwai and his Olympic gold medal winning Fiji side will be trying to regaining their Dubai title from series champions South Africa.
Action is not exclusively confined to the main field, though. Former British & Irish Lions Iain Balshaw, Dafydd James and Simon Shaw are involved in the International Vets tournament, as is the record point-scorer in the history of the world series, Ben Gollings.
The best amateur players from the Gulf will also be in action, alongside thousands of players from abroad flying in especially for the weekend.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.dubairugby7s.com or at selected outlets including Costa, The Toy Store, Hallmark, Prosport, Virgin Megastores, Park n Shop and Go Sports.
Prices for general admission are:
- Thursday, 30 November - free
- Friday, 1 December - in advance Dh300, on the day Dh400
- Saturday, 2 December - in advance Dh300, on the day Dh400
- Season Tickets (Friday and Saturday) - in advance Dh500, on the day Dh600
- Free entry for children under 12
Read more on Dubai Rugby Sevens:
- Drones and drama: The Dubai school using innovative coaching methods
- Ben Ryan: IPL-style rugby sevens likely to transform sport
- Comment: Rugby sevens does not need to follow the IPL-celebrity model
Emirates International Trophy
2016 – South Africa
2015 – Fiji
2014 – South Africa
2013 – Fiji
2012 – Samoa
World Sevens Series
2016/17 – South Africa
2015/16 – Fiji
2014/15 – Fiji
2013/14 – New Zealand
2012/13 – New Zealand