With the second edition of the Qatar Rugby 7s wrapped up, Qatar Rugby Federation took a preliminary stock of how the competition panned out.
The statistics have been heartening to say the least. As many as 156 tries were scored in the second edition that saw 588 minutes of rugby action from 36 preliminary round matches and the six matches, including an exhibition development ladies game, on the last day of the competition on Friday.
However, the absolute dominance of the unbeaten Camels does pose a question to the organisers.
When asked about the same, Qatar Rugby Federation (QRF) president Yousef al-Kuwari said, “We realise that there is a performance gap between the top team and the rest of them, but it was even bigger when we started the last season.
“This time round, we saw better competition and matches from the likes of the Doha club. We are looking at ways to give more support to the other teams.
“Really, we have just started with the 7s, this was just the second edition. We do hope to bring in more players, but frankly due to lack of financial support we are still behind. Having said that, getting all the players in our league, the local clubs to play against the top players is a priority for us. We are also hosting joint trainings. We invite clubs very often to join our trainings to be able to share our knowledge.”
The two editions of the tournament have seen seven teams participating and al-Kuwari made it clear that the constant number was not a worry for him.
“While the number of teams has remained the same over the last two editions, but it is not really a matter of concern for us. Even if the number of teams goes down to six, I will take that is they are of very good quality,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
Asked about what steps is the QRF taking to further promote the sport in the country, al-Kuwari said, “One of our plans is to involve our local clubs. We are looking forward to meeting these clubs and will propose to them if they are willing to sponsor a team each. That might make a big difference for us.
“There is also a issue of facilities. If you have a league of 10 teams, then you also need so many facilities for practice, to run games, etc. When it comes to venues for rugby, they are short in supply; we are competing with soccer for that. Aspire has helped us a lot on that front, providing us with very good facilities.
“We have tried building grassroots tournaments, through initiatives like Beach Rugby, which have been instrumental in getting attention from the public. Then there are the games we host on the Qatar National Sport Day. We are looking at anything and everything to get in more players.
“We also want to get in touch with other federations, for example, track and field. They could perhaps assist us with athletes who are already quick, given the nature of the 7s game, and then we have to look at training them in rugby, while they already have the speed. We have got into contact with them and we could manage a few players from them.”
QRF president Yousef al-Kuwari.