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The New Zealand All Black 7s and Black Ferns 7s, who both won their respective cups in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, made use of the world-class training facilities at Abu Dhabi Cricket last week, using the recently built FIFA-accredited grass pitches and the newly refurbished gym to enhance their performance ahead of the tournament in Dubai.

Alongside their rigorous training schedule, the teams hosted an open training session on Wednesday 21st November on the Zayed Cricket Stadium pitch that was attended by 500 children aged between 5 – 19 years. The aspiring rugby stars trained with the All Black 7s and the All Black Fern 7s legends, and also got the chance to see what a Black Ferns training session looks like as the ladies hosted an exciting demonstration. Kids and parents alike also got the chance to get autographs and take selfies with the rugby heroes!

During their stay, the teams managed to steal some down time to tour the city of Abu Dhabi, visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque as well as Yas Marina Circuit for the incredible Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Sarah Goss, the Black Fern 7s captain, said: “Having trained at the Abu Dhabi Cricket facility last year, the whole team was excited to return. It’s fantastic to see how much the facility has grown in just a year and incredible to use the high quality facilities available in advance. It’s also nice to meet some young fans here in the UAE!”

All Black 7s captain, Scott Curry, said: “It’s always great to come back to the UAE. It was fantastic to see some of the young talent based here, and I think the young players we trained here have got a really promising future ahead of them.

“It was also fun to see the city of Abu Dhabi, the guys had a great time at the Formula 1 and we really enjoyed putting our own driving skills to the test on the new ‘Yas Kartzone’ track at Yas Marina Circuit. I’m looking forward to my next visit already!”

Acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket, Matt Boucher, said: “It was brilliant to see these world-class athletes training here at Abu Dhabi Cricket. Since Abu Dhabi Sports Council took over last year we’ve made it clear of our intentions to not just be a cricket facility, but a renowned multisport facility able to host both the world’s best professional teams and thousands of community players on a weekly basis. Hosting both New Zealand 7s teams is another huge stride in the correct direction and our gratitude to all the players for taking time out of their schedule to host such a successful community session. Thanks also to our friends at Yas Marina Circuit, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Holiday Inn for partnering with us on the All Black schedule; clearly they enjoyed themselves!”

Gates open at 9am, with play commencing at 10am. Entry is free to all spectators. For VIP hospitality enquires please contact [email protected]

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Ebini Paul

Author Ebini Paul

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