Review: Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens

The rain may have played havoc with the sporting weekend, but the downpour didn’t dampen spirits for too long.

by Claire England

The 2012 Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens started with an ominous forecast of stormy skies and a wet weekend, and the weather certainly did disappoint. While Thursday’s matches played out on dry ground, black clouds descended over the Sevens pitch on Friday morning with unrelenting rain soaking the normally sunny Rugby Village. The stands remained on low capacity for most of the wet morning, as staunch fans watched defending Dubai champions England loose out to South Africa. However, as the sun fought its way out around lunchtime spirits soured and the revelry that Dubaians know and love about Rugby weekend came out in force.

Bananas and Dame Ednas, Flintstones and The Dictator paraded in the shining sun for all to see.

“This is my second year at the rugby,” said attendee, Hayley. “The first was a few years ago and I remember it being a baking weekend so I have quite enjoyed the rain this time. I like the atmosphere here as well as the game of the Sevens as it is quick and exciting.” And as the sun shone so did Portugal with a win over South Africa, while England came back fighting to defeat Samoa. Spain was masterful against Scotland, and Wales took a 22–5 win over Russia. The domineering British fans sang and danced joyously to the infamous Psy and his Gangnam Style as the Aggreko Dynamos showed them how it’s done.

But the sun couldn’t hold its lead and as the crowd watched England’s chance of defending its title slip away in a nail-biting match against Portugal, the heavens opened once more. The once-packed DHL and Emirates stands started to shed their cargo - the only thing keeping some fans in their stands was the fabulously flamboyant rugby parade, which, despite the rain, saw a jet-pack man take to the skies.

The evening ended just as it had started - rather wet and cold as flooded roads caused long taxi queues and everyone prayed for a better final day.

Thankfully, Saturday stayed dry, and New Zealand remained unbeaten throughout the day while Samoa continued to look strong. The crowds seemed relieved by the slightly overcast sky resulting in the weekend’s festivities getting back on track.

New resident Jonathan, was certainly happy to have a dry day.

"Having heard what a great weekend the Dubai Rugby Sevens is I have to admit yesterday was a bit of a shame. However, today has been a great day with some fantastic rugby and a really great crowd. Having done the Hong Kong Sevens I have to say Dubai gives them a serious run for their money.”

And that is exactly what Samoa did to New Zealand in the Cup Final with a 26-15 victory and their first ever series win.

After the grand celebrations on the pitch, festivities continued with crowds enjoying Rugby Rock with the Million Dollar Band singing their hearts out and signaling the end of another great Sevens weekend.

Were you there? Head to our Sevens gallery to see who was caught on camera this weekend.

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