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Has Dubai Rugby Sevens jumped the shark?

Has Dubai Rugby Sevens jumped the shark?

Bad music choices, botched celebratory parade, VIPs treated like kids… is Dubai’s most famous sporting weekend a spent force?

December 4, 2011 2:53 by

Time was those guys dressed as cheerleaders would have been embraced by an event renowned for its party spirit. The Dynamos could have got in on the joke by inviting the guys down to join them for a routine, instead of going off in a mood and spending most of the day at the family stand at the other end of the pitch.

A family stand which was conspicuously nowhere near full, by the way. Clearly ticket sales for this year must have been way down, to judge by the empty seats in that normally full to capacity stand. Maybe that’s why the atmosphere was suffering?

What else did we have? Oh yes, no free squashy rugby balls for the kids – normally a huge highlight for them, but conspicuous by their absence. And far less of the inflatable bang sticks, which the kids normally deflate and tie together to make a great big rope around the stadium. This year they couldn’t even be bothered to try – even the under tens could tell the spark had gone from this year’s tournament.

Meanwhile according to Kipp’s more important friends, even the corporate hospitality was a letdown this year, with bars closing early and supposed VIPs not allowed to bring their drinks out into the ground. “If I wanted to be treated as a child I would go to the crèche”, said one senior UAE banker to Kipp.

And apparently for many VIPs, on arrival at the ground they ran out of wristbands on the desk, meaning a large queue of very hot people were standing in the midday sun for half an hour while staff phoned the club house and asked for more to be brought out. Our VIP friends wouldn’t have minded, but the clubhouse is a couple of hundred yards away and someone could have run there and back in three minutes. Instead, the events staff on the door stood around swigging water in the shade while everyone else, including families, sweltered in the heat. The VIPs were fuming, by all accounts.

Another note to organizers – if you have hundreds of apparently important folk coming through a gate, and you see you are running low on wristbands, phone for some more ahead of time.

Yes this is a rant. Yes this is just Kipp’s opinion. And yes, on pitch action was brilliant, as always. But this is also anecdotally what we heard and gathered from friends all over the event. Maybe it’s that last year was just so good. Maybe it’s that last year was too boisterous and they wanted to tone it down. But it seems to us that the Dubai Sevens maybe jumping that shark.

What do you think? Has the Sevens jumped the shark? Or did you have the time of your life? Leave a comment below or email us at [email protected]

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  1. Niroshan Perera on December 5, 2011 10:25 am


    just wanted to correct on one particular comment which is,
    “” but conspicuous by their absence. And far less of the inflatable bang sticks, which the kids normally deflate and tie together to make a great big rope around the stadium. This year they couldn’t even be bothered to try – even the under tens could tell the spark had gone from this year’s tournament.””

    well i watched the game on 2nd and the 3rd and there was so many “bang sticks” also know as rumble sticks given away by DHL and they kept on giving them till the end of the gave.

    also the kids and even the adults did make the ring with bang sticks and it did go around the stadium. there are enough photos to prove them as well.

    i do agree on all the other things that is mentioned. there was very less free bee’s this time and the music was really really bad. since this is the most happening sport event they should have organised it better.

    anyways will hope for the best next year.


  2. Arron on December 5, 2011 3:29 pm

    I sat in DHL stand and i did enjoy myself and they event, thought it was a great event and would go back, the new dynamos I thought where far better and the dino ho’s were funnt but that wasnt during there performance that was one of those standby dances to that anthem time is now, theyre actual routines were fantastic and only thing i would say is i wanted them to do more at DHL stand most of the day were performing at BP stand, got a few pictures with them, were more friendly than the last girls and alot younger aswel.

  3. Robert Cambrensis on December 6, 2011 9:00 am

    with regard to the DHL bang sticks there were plenty around, but less enthusiasm to use them maybe. The Aggrekko Dynamos’ performed only once infront of the DHL stand and at least four or five times at the BP stand. The so called freebees were only fired once on the Saturday and that was only to the HSBC stand. I have notice over the last couple of years that there doesn’t seem to be as many people attending. Perhaps the extortionate cost of beverages is starting to hurt, 12 cans for more than the price of 48 for home consumption. A bit too much of a rip off perhaps. It is still a great event, a far cry from when I played in the 1978 tournament. However, i still think the HK 7s are the best.

  4. Tang wok on December 7, 2011 9:24 am

    could you kindly enlighten me about the number of people who watch rugby in UAE and read this article. Even I just had a glance. How come so much publicity is given to a game which is hardly played by more than 1000 people in UAE. The main reason ismost the sponsors are white skin and this game is mainly played by white skin. Probably one more reason why people turn up to watch the games is to collect freebees, which most of the white skin are known to be the first one to collect

  5. Andrew on December 8, 2011 7:27 am

    … there’s always going to be one.


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