Tunisia – as expected – were too strong for their opponents in the third Arab Sevens.
The third edition of the Arab Sevens took place in Al-Ain, UAE this weekend. The largest line-up so far – six teams – took their field, with Libya making their international debut, the 150th national team to play women’s sevens.
The tournament has a special interest because it brings together teams from two confederations – Asia and Africa – something that is very rare outside of the World Series.
Holders Tunisia were the clear favourites. The leading team in North Africa for over a decade, and often in the top four in Africa as a whole, they had played twice as many sevens internationals than the rest of the field put together.
Africa was also represented by Egypt (who won he first Arab Sevens in 2021), and debutants Libya.
Asia’s bid was lead by the home team, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a growing force in Asian rugby since the HQ of Rugby Asia moved there a couple of years ago, but in practice still an Asian Trophy team, a tournament where they finished third last year, so would rank roughly 11th in Asia as a whole. They were joined by Syria and Jordan, the latter playing in only their second tournament.
A round-robin six team pool was used to decide the playoff places, and Tunisia topped the pool comfortably dropping only one try, against Egypt. The UAE were runners up, only conceding points against Tunisia, though their final game against Libya was cancelled after Libya withdrew, probably due to injuries.
The final did not quite go to script in the opening stages. UAE dominated most of the possession in the first half, and lead 5-0 until the final play. But Tunisia emerged a different team in the second half and won comfortably.
Egypt ended third, edging Syria in fourth, Jordan were awarded fifth after Libya’s withdrawal.
Pool: United Arab Emirates 27-0 Jordan; Tunisia 45-0 Libya; Egypt 10-10 Syria; Tunisia 31-0 Jordan; Egypt 0-17 United Arab Emirates; Libya 0-45 Syria; Tunisia 19-0 United Arab Emirates; Egypt 66-0 Libya; Syria 12-7 Jordan; Tunisia 31-5 Egypt; Syria 0-31 United Arab Emirates; Jordan 41-0 Libya; Syria 0-45 Tunisia; Egypt 17-0 Jordan
3rd Place: Egypt 10-7 Syria
Final: Tunisia 24-5 United Arab Emirates