The 50-year history of the Dubai Rugby 7s

What you need to know as one of the city’s biggest events celebrates half a century this year

The 50-year history of the Dubai Rugby 7s

The Dubai Rugby 7s is one of the biggest events in the city's social calendar every year. Whether you’re a fan of the sport or not, it's a cracking opportunity to don some fancy dress, get out into the winter sun and enjoy a party atmosphere all weekend long.

But did you know that the event has been running in the city for the last 50 years?

The long-running tournament kicked off (pun fully intended) back in 1970, even before the formation of the UAE in 1971. It began when a group of British expats played together at Dubai Exiles RFC. Back then, just a handful of the emirate’s small expat community would head along to the matches, which saw the Staffordshire Regiment crowned as the first-ever Dubai Rugby 7s champions.

It was some 26 years later in 1996 that the tournament hosted its first international qualifying round for the World Cup Sevens, and it was three years later in 1999 that it began to look a bit like the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s we know today. That’s because it hosted a leg of the International Rugby Board’s Sevens World Series, which is now more commonly known as the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series.

It then grew quickly over the following seven years, and by 2006 the event had tripled in size since 2001.

In 2008 it moved to the purpose-built Sevens Stadium on Al Ain Road, where it has been hosted ever since, and in 2012 hosted the first event of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s 7s Series.

Now, more than 100,000 people head to the event over the course of the weekend.

We know that Kylie Minogue will headline proceedings at the 50th Dubai Rugby 7s event, this year held between Thursday December 5 and Saturday 7, with the Aussie popstar performing on Friday 6. But what else is going on over the weekend?

Well, aside from the spectacular fancy dress you’ll spot across the three days, you’ll also be able to watch four different rugby tournaments, with the first and second legs of the men’s and women’s World Rugby 7s Series’ respectively.

There’s also the Emirates Airline Invitation Rugby Tournament and a netball tournament too and a total of 28 rugby teams will be taking part over the three days.

There’s a dedicated rugby village on with games, karaoke, competitions, rugby legend appearances and more.

And that’s the history of one of Dubai’s most important social and sporting events – are you ready for 2019’s big one?
From Dhs400. Dec 5-7 (concert on Fri Dec 6). The Sevens Stadium, dubairugby7s.com

More from Sport

3 top offers to improve your game this summer

The emirate’s huge cycling event is back for its tenth year this winter

You can get your hands on tickets for the 2019 showcase

A purpose-built arena is being built on Yas Island and here's what it looks like

With Wimbledon fever taking over, why not take to the court?

RAK golf course gets in early with the summer golfing action

Newsletters

Follow us