Dubai to host Rugby Sevens Series opener
From left : Nace Cawanibuka, Interim Coach, Fiji, Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General, UAE Rugby Federation, Boutros Boutros, of the Emirates Group, Douglas Langley, Tournament Director, , Deirdre O' Sullivan, Manager, Women's Sevens Series and Scott Bowen, Women's Assistant Manager, Australia during the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Press Conference in Dubai on Tuesday.
Dubai - The 7s was included for Olympics only for Rio and 2020 Tokyo Games
Dubai is expected to carry forward the momentum Rugby 7s gained during the Rio Olympics last summer as the Sevens Stadium hosts the World Rugby Sevens season opener from Thursday.
"Dubai is the linchpin really going into the growth of rugby seven, not just the sevens but rugby generally, we need to value and capitalised on the success of the Olympics," the World Rugby Sevens Tournament Director Douglas Langley, said during a media interaction on Tuesday in Dubai.
According to him rugby has 16.83 million new fans since Rio 2016, propelling it to 300 million fans worldwide.
"To hold these new fans we need to keep innovating and developing our delivery to spectators and viewers, while improving the playing environment for teams so that they can perform to the best of their abilities," he remarked.
"We are in that synergy of improving everything for everybody and make sure that we have a great event for spectators this weekend," Langley hoped. "It (Dubai7s) is a great event to start off."
The 7s was included for Olympics only for Rio and 2020 Tokyo Games. There will be a vote next year in Peru to decide future of rugby sevens in Olimpics.
Langley, however, is optimistic. "The goal set was to be seen as one of the best team sports as we needed to establish ourselves worthy of continuing. We don't have the statistics but the subjective feedback was that we were one of the best team events," he stressed.
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens will see 324 teams, 937 matches and a staggering 4,866 players for all fans and supporters to enjoy over the three-day festival - record-breaking numbers for 2016.
Besides the best rugby action, a weekend of great entertainment awaits fans. From the Teen Zones, the Sabba 7s Club, fantastic entertainment on pitch 1 and huge bands will be playing Friday and Saturday.
A free bus service is available to family drop-off points throughout Dubai operating from 6pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.