Emirates welcomes Sables

HARARE - The United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation (UAERF) has welcomed the inclusion of Zimbabwe in the four-team Emirates Airline Cup of Nations next month.

The Sables will battle for honours with the hosts UAE, defending champions Hong Kong and fellow newcomers Belgium on December 8, 11 and 14 in Dubai.

“Participating in this year’s tournament are Zimbabwe, Belgium, hosts UAE and reigning champions Hong Kong,” said the UAERF in a statement.

“Competition is expected to be fierce with the three visiting-countries so closely ranked (Belgium 23rd, Hong Kong 28th and Zimbabwe 29th) and while the bar may be set high hosts UAE will be looking at this XV’s tournament to lift their playing standards to a more competitive level.”

Zimbabwe’s invitation to the tournament follows the Sables re-emergence as a force in African rugby, having won the continental title in June, and Emirates Airline’s introduction of daily flights to Harare early this year.  

“We have high hopes for the Emirates Airline Cup of Nations and we are particularly pleased that this year Zimbabwe returns as a new addition to the Emirates’ network, having started flights to Harare in February,” said Emirates Group Services president Gary Chapman.

“Emirates Airline is well known for connecting with sports fans and this is a good example of a tournament with great potential. We also realise the value of sports at grassroots level and its role as an economic catalyst.”  

IRB Head of Performance and Development, Mark Egan said: “It is great for rugby in the UAE that the Emirates Airline Cup of Nations is going ahead again this year. As the game continues to develop in the west Asia region, it is encouraging to see that the UAE national team is maintaining a competitive programme of fixtures.

It is also a wonderful opportunity for players from the other Unions — Zimbabwe, Hong Kong and Belgium — to showcase their talents and play against teams from other parts of the world.

It is interesting to note how close the three visiting teams are on the IRB World Rankings so we should be in for some exciting matches.

The IRB is pleased to be involved and supporting this initiative. It’s important that cross-regional tournaments such as this take place so the UAERF and Emirates Airline, as well as the other competing Unions, are to be congratulated.” - Sports Writer

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.