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Wed 28 Nov 2018 08:25 PM

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South Africa set to defend Dubai Rugby Sevens title

2018 Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens kicks off on Thursday at The Sevens Stadium

South Africa set to defend Dubai Rugby Sevens title
South Africa celebrates after winning the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens - HSBC Sevens World Series at The Sevens Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Dubai. (Getty Images)

The 2018 Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens kicks off on Thursday at The Sevens Stadium, with South Africa defending the title they won last year.

Now it is 49th year, it is set to be the largest event on record with more than 900 rugby and netball matches across the three days and enhanced entertainment for everyone, a statement said. 

Dubai will host both the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, acting as the men’s series opener and round two of the women’s.

In addition, the largest Emirates Airline Invitation Tournament for rugby and netball to date will see action on all eight rugby pitches and three netball courts.

Gary Chapman, president Emirates Group Services & dnata said: “We are getting closer to the milestone 50th Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, and we are proud to have played a big part in the phenomenal growth that the tournament has seen.

"With close to 300 teams participating this year – from all walks of life and from all corners of the globe, this is a true festival of rugby where there is something for everybody, and it’s no surprise that we have thousands of people who come back every year without fail.”

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont added: “Dubai has been a long serving and welcoming host for the world series and this year we are especially delighted to be back as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the men’s competition, which held its inaugural round in Dubai in 1999.

“As the men’s competition gets its first round underway, and the women enter into their second round of the series, we are looking forward to watching an action-packed weekend of fast-paced sevens rugby.”

There’s plenty of action off the pitch at the Dubai Sevens and the entertainment options include a new three-day music festival in the Rugby Village. The Dubai Sevens village will be upgraded with three music areas and stages featuring international DJs, artists and bands.

Entrance to Thursday’s action is free and will include international action on pitch 1 with the second leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series and the start of the Emirates Airline Invitation Rugby & Netball Tournament.

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