Hurley to bid final home Sevens farewell
The first weekend in December is set to be a hugely memorable one for Arabian Gulf captain Sean Hurley. Not only will mark his 11th straight year competing at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, it will also be his final appearance for the Arabian Gulf.
With Rugby's national member unions in the Arabian Gulf set to be restructured, this will be the final time that the players from the six nations in the region will play together, and Hurley is determined to go out on a high.
“It will be very emotional after we finish our last game. I know the guys will leave nothing on the pitch and there will be no regrets when we finish,” explained Hurley.
“The amount of support we receive leading up to and during the tournament is humbling: friends, relatives and the wider rugby community from around the GCC all wishing us the best and getting behind us 100 per cent.
"I think everyone loves an underdog and I can tell you from my experience when we are out there and the crowd really does get behind us, it unquestionably lifts all the guys. It helps you to dig just that little bit deeper, gives you that extra little spring in your step and pushes you harder too,” added the captain.
The Arabian Gulf side recently returned from Australia where they competed in the Gold Coast International Sevens as part of the preparation for the Dubai tournament.
“Preparations have been going well. This year we have about five or six new guys coming into the squad which is a great opportunity for them," added Hurley.
Awesome challenge awaits against the best
"Everyone has been working extremely hard on their strength and fitness over the last five months because each year the competition keeps getting tougher and tougher. The squad started training a month earlier this year and the commitment that’s been shown by the guys has been impressive.”
The Arabian Gulf side has been drawn in the same pool as reigning Sevens World Series champions Samoa as well as Wales and Kenya, a tough start to the tournament but a challenge that Hurley and the team are relishing.
“As an athlete, no matter what sport you play or what level you play, you always have aspirations of competing against the best. I get goose bumps thinking about it and I can’t wait,” he said.
As for the event as a whole, Hurley is looking forward to once again being a part of what is hailed as the region’s top sports and social event of the year.
“The organisers have created something very special in Dubai and every year it keeps improving. I think one of the major differences between Dubai and other IRB tournaments is that this is a true rugby festival. You have thousands of people playing rugby on six fields, fancy dress, concerts and more, and then you have the IRB tournament to top it off. This year will be no different, except bigger – if it’s possible!
“This will be my sixth Dubai Sevens playing for the Arabian Gulf. Over the years I’ve been part of Arabian Gulf teams that have travelled to many tournaments and training camps, including Sri Lanka, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand and South Africa, but it will be special and fitting to end with our home crowd on our home ground – Dubai!”
Tickets are still available for the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, the first event of the new HSBC Sevens World Series, in Dubai on 3-4 December.
Buy online through www.dubairugby7s.com or call Ticketline on 800 4669 (international clients can call +971 4 4443459).
Children under 12 gain free admission to the general public area and there is a special family stand available, with plenty of exciting activities to keep children entertained in the Rugby Village.
A free bus service will be transporting fans from 7he Sevens back to several convenient locations across Dubai. Starting from 5pm on Thursday, 2 December and 7pm on Friday, 3 December and Saturday, 4 December, the drop-off points are: Dubai Festival City, Dubai Media City (family drop-off points), Barzar (Madinat Jumeirah), Double Decker, Irish Village, Chi @ The Lodge, Barasti