When is the 2018 Dubai Rugby Sevens? Complete guide to the tournament

South Africa and Australia return to defend their Sevens Series titles at one of the biggest weekends in the UAE sporting calendar

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 02:  South Africa celebrates after winning the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens - HSBC Sevens World Series at The Sevens Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
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What is it?

The Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens is a sports and social event held every year, comprising international, regional, invitational and age-group rugby tournaments for men and women.

When is it?

The 2018 Dubai Rugby Sevens takes place November 29 - December 1.

Where is it?

The Sevens Stadium, Dubai.

What tournaments make up the Dubai Sevens?

The headline act is the Men's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event, made up of 16 international teams which are divided into four pool groups of four. The top two teams in each pool will progress to the Main Cup competition and will compete for the gold medal. The bottom two sides will contest a new Challenge Trophy competition. The Dubai Sevens is the first stop of the 2019 Sevens Series.

Then there is the HSBC World Rugby Women Sevens Series, comprising 12 international teams which are placed in three pools of four in a round robin format. The top eight sides reach the play-off round to contest the Cup Competition, with the teams ninth to 12th entering the Challenge Trophy. Dubai is the second stop on the Women's Series.

There are also a host of regional tournaments, including the Gulf Men's League, Gulf Men's Open, Gulf Men's Social, Gulf Vets, Gulf Women, Gulf Under-19s, and Gulf Under-19s Girls.

Completing the rugby line-up are the 'International' tournaments: International Invitation Men, International Invitation Women, International Open Men, International Open Women, International Social, International Vets, and International Under-19s.

Finally, there is also some competitive netball on display, with the Open Women Netball and Open Youth Netball tournaments.

Who are the defending champions?

South Africa return to Dubai to defend the Men's title after defeating New Zealand in the 2017 final.

Australia won the Women's title after their 34-0 win over the United States in last year's final.

In the Gulf Men's League - the leading regional tournament - Dubai Exiles will aim to retain the trophy.

What is the order of play?

The action starts at 8.30am on November 29, with the last match - the Men's Sevens Series final - at 7.29pm on December 1.

With hundreds of matches taking place across the three days, we recommend you visit the Dubai Rugby Sevens website for the full schedule.

What else is going on at the Dubai Sevens?

Aside from lots of top-quality, high-octane rugby, there is plenty of entertainment on offer in the Fan Zone. Fancy dress is highly encouraged, and this year's theme is #RunWild. There are plenty of games for the entire family to enjoy and even a 'Splash 'n Party' aqua park for the kids.

There are also plenty of food and beverage outlets across the Sevens Village to ensure you never go hungry or thirsty.

Are tickets available?

Tickets can be purchased online here, and are available at Virgin Megastore branches across the UAE and select Costa cafes, as well as at various bars and restaurants. For your nearest outlet, click here.

General admission is free on Thursday, November 29. Friday and Saturday tickets are Dh315 when bought in advance or Dh420 at the gate.

There are also season tickets available, covering both Friday and Saturday, priced at Dh525 in advance or Dh630 on the day.

Where is there more information?

The Dubai Rugby Sevens website is packed full of any extra info you may need, including fixtures and results, tickets, travel info and much more.