PO Box 35566, Head Office, Khalifa City A,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The final event of the Etihad Airways Junior Rugby Festival took place at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th October with more than 2,000 children taking part in the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Harlequins Junior Rugby Tournament.
International teams from the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait competed against those from the United Arab Emirates.
More than 161 teams across 11 different age groups from Under 6s to Under 18s took part in the knock-out tournament, which incorporated more than 250 hours of rugby.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Etihad was proud to host the tournament, the largest junior rugby competition of its type in the Middle East, which has grown consistently year on year. We saw some fantastic competitive rugby played and congratulations to all teams who took part.
“The festival has once again been a great success and I must thank all partners and sponsors for their support and commitment, along with the Abu Dhabi Harlequins for their hard work in ensuring this tournament is a huge success.”
The tournament follows the Etihad Harlequins Rugby Schools which were held in Abu Dhabi last week and were led by Director of Rugby at Harlequins FC, Conor O’Shea, and Harlequins player, Ollie Smith.
Close to 500 Emirati and expatriate school children took part in the introductory rugby sessions coached by professional coaches from Harlequins.
Andy Cole, Abu Dhabi Harlequins’ Chairman, said: “We are delighted to have hosted this fantastic event, welcoming all players, coaches and supporters to the Abu Dhabi Harlequins Rugby Club.
“The tournament is a superb opportunity for everyone involved to make new friends from around the region and internationally, and we were delighted to see the continuity of youth rugby being played in the heart of the capital.”
The Etihad Airways Junior Rugby Festival is the premier junior rugby event in the Middle East - emphasizing developing grassroots support for the sport and giving top junior athletes in the region the opportunity to compete against one another.
Marcus Hurry, Deputy CEO, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, a title sponsor of the event, said: “The Junior Rugby Festival has yet again been a fantastic sporting initiative for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”
“It is great to see so many young people playing rugby and enjoying sport within this region and I am glad that HSBC supports rugby at a grassroots level in the UAE and the Middle East."