Wasps v Harlequins to be played in Abu Dhabi

It was announced at a press conference today that Wasps and Harlequins are moving their LV= Cup fixture to Abu Dhabi on 30th January.

They will be the first English clubs to stage a domestic fixture outside the country, with the objective to grow the sport globally and extend the reach of the two clubs’ brands.

Wasps Board Director Steve Hayes said, “It’s a chance to take Wasps global to enhance the brand.”

The club website reports, “The game has received the backing of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and the United Arab Emirates Rugby Association who are eager to promote rugby in the United Arab Emirates. Both Wasps and Harlequins are equally committed to raising awareness of the sport, both home and abroad, and will be engaging with local schools and rugby clubs in the region in the build up to the game.”

The game will be played in a specially-contructed 5,000 seater stadium in the grounds of Emirates Palace, and will be televised live on Sky Sports.

What do you think? Is this good for the game, the players or the fans?

12 thoughts on “Wasps v Harlequins to be played in Abu Dhabi

  1. George Lowe – who plays Outside centre for Harlequins is destined for England. You heard it here first. On topic – great for the game that this is being played in Dubai, although, being the sceptic I am, tells me this is for financial benefits not some “socially responsible” act to develop the game.

  2. Don’t see what this does to promote the ‘brand’ abroad, 5,000 people?

    “The game will be played in a specially-constructed 5,000 seater stadium in the grounds of Emirates Palace”

    >> This is the same as Michael Jackson playing for some sheik in a private party, some rich Arab wants to watch a rugby match in his backyard and Wasps sold out. What about the fans who paid for season tickets?

  3. Not only that, it’s a LV Cup match being played in the middle of the 6-Nations, so no internationals… Hope the lads have a nice few days in the sun, guess thats the best thing to come out of it.

  4. Can’t see this working, there won’t be enough big names on show in an LV cup match during the Six Nations. Hopefully it does some good to the local community out there but I doubt whether it will be repeated, it’s simply a money making exercise which I suppose you can’t blame either club for.

  5. Harlequins are sponsored by Etihad Airways (same as Man City?). Etihad is based in Abu Dhabi.
    That will be the main link between Abu Dhabi and the game. And the Abu Dhabi team in the UAE (expat) leagues is called Harlequins as well. They are very closely connected, Abu Dhabi players invited over to Twickenham, Quins players invited over to Abu Dhabi.
    As dropout says, it’s during the 6N, so there won’t be any Internationals there.
    I live in Dubai and work in Abu Dhabi, so I’m thoroughly looking forward to it!
    They put on a good show for concerts, and the like over here, so let’s hope they can entertain us.

  6. To be fair, if they fill the 5000 seater stadium they will have a bigger crowd than they would have had for an LV Cup game over here.

    No real objections to this although if this attempt to ‘go global’ is rugby’s answer to football’s sell out pre-season tours to Thailand and China and the NFL coming to Wembley, it’s slightly embarrassing.

  7. No suggestions any Sheikh has requested this game out there. Sounds like Dallaglio and Steve Hayes came up with the idea themselves, probably to satisfy the shared sponsor they have with Quins in Etihad. The squads will be without 6N players but my concern is whether the traditional use of younger players will suffer as they’ll feel compelled to put on more of a show. That would be a bit sh*t.

    Other than that though, think it’s a fairly harmless exercise in raising the profile of rugby here, there and everywhere really.

  8. I think Wasps and Harlequins are completely daft! Why let down their loyal season ticket holders and other loyal fans for the chance to play in front of a 5,000 strong crowd most of whom i assume will be their for the hospitality rather than the sport?!

    As for the comment that the crowd in Abu Dhabi would be larger than a home crowd for an LV cup game, this is simply wrong.
    Adams park holds 10,000 so even if it was only half full (and I think turn out is normally better than this) that would equal the Abu Dhabi temporary stadium. Added to which people with a genuine interest in the game would be watching it.

    I am all for increasing the profile of the game but why make the decision to reshedule the venue two weeks before the fixture and right in the middle of the build up to the 6 nations and at the business end of the domestic season.

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