One of the newest of the sevens tournaments, the Dubai Sevens is still a glittering jewel in the IRB world rugby sevens series. The curtain raiser to the first ever IRB world sevens series in 1999, the Dubai rugby sevens tournament brings a sense of opulence and grandeur few other places on the planet can provide.
Until 2007 the sevens tournament was held at the Dubai Exiles Rugby Ground. But with the completion of the new ground 'The Sevens', built specifically to host the 2009 IRB sevens world cup, the annual Dubai sevens tournament moved there starting in 2008.
Despite it's being such a relatively new tournament the Dubai sevens is fast becoming a favorite with fans. Last year over 50,000, people turned out to watch both days of the tournament, and it's easy to see why. With some of the sunniest weather on the planet, beautiful beaches, extravagant hotels and a large expat community Dubai is a natural tourist destination even without the sevens.
With it, it is a mecca for rugby fans everywhere who like their sevens rugby to go along with a bit of sunbathing on the beach!
Contrary to many fans fears alcohol is sold at the rugby ground, which brings a smile to many a defeated fans face. Whilst Dubai does have laws about drink not being permitted outside, you are still able to purchase alcohol at the rugby ground and at hotels. With drink and rugby having such a long history together, it is a combination most fans take advantage of.
The tournament follows the consistent formats of all tournaments, aside from Hong Kong, in the IRB World Sevens Series. The competition is battled for by 16 teams, initially grouped together into 4 teams of four. The top two from each pool go through after a round robin stage and into the quarter finals, followed by the semis and then the final.
Below this main competition, there are the 'lesser competitions' for those that suffer losses. The teams that lose in the quarter finals compete for the 2nd trophy called the plate, going straight into a semi final.
Those that come third and fourth in their groups go through to the lower quarter final, the winners of each quarter final going into the semi for the bowl and the losers into the semi final for the shield. This set up enables lower ranked teams to enjoy a level of success and bring home some silverware.