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Dubai Rugby Sevens’ New Home Breaks Records

Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens’ New Home Breaks Records

Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group (front row left) with Mike Miller, IRB’s CEO (centre) and David Skidmore, Chairman of AGRFU (front right) with the South African team after the final of the 2008 Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
Click to enlarge

Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group (front row left) with Mike Miller, IRB’s CEO (centre) and David Skidmore, Chairman of AGRFU (front right) with the South African team after the final of the 2008 Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Emirates Dubai
Sevens Stadium
Click to enlarge

News Release, 1 December 2008

Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens’ New Home Breaks Records

Players and fans alike expressed their enthusiasm over the new home of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, which broke world attendance records with its capacity crowds of 50,000 on both Friday and Saturday.

Speaking about The Sevens venue, coach of South Africa, the newly-crowned champions, Paul Treu, said: “It’s just amazing. The atmosphere out there is brilliant, with 50,000 people watching. It’s support like this that makes it all worthwhile. I don’t think it gets any better than this.”

Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group, said: “The excitement and drama of the final was the perfect culmination to 2008 Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens; with our new venue, The Sevens, showcasing the best in rugby sevens action to the record breaking 130,000 strong crowd over the three days.

“The whole event has been a success and we look forward to building on this and welcoming back rugby fans from around the UAE and the world to the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in March 2009.”

In a final that’s been described as one of the best in Dubai to date, South Africa produced a thrilling last-minute victory over England to claim the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens trophy on Saturday.

Taking on an English side that had impressed many over the two-day international tournament, the South Africans were first to put points on the board and had rushed to a 12-0 lead by half time, thanks to tries from 19-year-old Robert Ebersohn and Mpho Mbiyozo.

A determined England fought their way back in the second, however, with Tom Biggs and Micky Young both crossing the try line. And with the scores level on 12-12 in the dying minutes, it was anybody’s game.

Then, with just 35 seconds on the clock, a stroke of brilliance from the South Africans saw Ryno Benjamin safely dotting down the final try of the tournament which sealed the 19-12 win.

Earlier in the evening, the England side had defeated defending champions New Zealand in the Cup semi-final while South Africa had accounted for Fiji to book their place in the final.

In the other international finals of the evening, it was Samoa who emerged as Plate champions after beating Kenya 12-7. Portugal took home the Bowl after a comfortable 24-0 win over France. And the home side Arabian Gulf appeared in their first ever final, but couldn’t manage to get the better of an ever-improving USA team who eventually won the Shield 31-7.

Paul Treu, the coach of South Africa, said: “It’s a great feeling to win again in Dubai after just missing out in the semi-final last year.

“It’s a fairly new team but we’ve had continuity in management and that has helped us to use the experience we’ve gained here in the last four years.”

While thrilled with the win, Treu did not want to get too carried away with sentiment. “This is only the start of an eight-leg tournament though so we are not getting overexcited,” he reckoned.


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