AFTER a successful 2015-16 season, which saw the introduction of Sevens League, the Qatar Rugby Federation’s (QRF) inaugural 15s Qatar League will start at the Aspire ground on Thursday.
Pirates, formerly known as College of North Atlantic-Qatar, Al Khor, Lions, Blue Phoenix, Doha 2 and Doha Veterans will fight for honours in the competition, which runs till December 15.
The Sevens League will begin after the completion of 15s and will feature seven teams — Khor, Blue Phoenix, Camels 1, Camels 2, Doha 2, Lions and Pirates.
“We’re happy to introduce the 15s league this time. After the sevens’ success last season, we’re confident the tournament will boost the sport’s profile,” Qatar Rugby Federation (QRF) President Yousef Jeham Al Kuwari told Doha Stadium Plus.
“The league will attract more international players this season and that’ll help the sport develop,” he added.
Al Kuwari said the federation wanted to build on last season’s success, which saw Qatar win a tri-nation tournament also involving teams from Lebanon and Iran in May.
“We gained a lot of coverage and attention from the media and fans. This time too, we expect a similar support,” he added.
Meanwhile, Camels 1, who won the Sevens title, completed their pre-season training in Doha under QRF Senior Co-ordinator and interim coach Samuel Rico.
“We’ve lost some players from last year’s squad, but we’ve got a few new players. The team will be boosted with our overseas players from Fiji,” said Rico.
“Currently, we’re working extensively on fitness and match drills.”
He also thanked team captain Talal Mujali and Hassan Al Sabeh for their support.
“Talal and Hassan were of great help in building the squad. We used their expertise and explored differet ideas,” Rico added.