McDonnell meets Exiles rugby players ahead of Dubai trip

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SDLP Leader, Alasdair McDonnell MP has wished the Belfast Exiles rugby squad good luck ahead of their trip to Dubai where they will compete later this week.

Dr McDonnell met with members of the team today at Stormont and said: “I wish the team all the best in Dubai, where I have no doubt they will give it their best try and do us proud. My congratulations to the team for being invited back to Dubai a second year in a row which, is a reflection of not only their talent but a reflection of how well thought of they are.”

The Belfast Exiles – founded in 2012 by Belfast Harlequins players – will compete in the International Social section of the Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby 7’s for the second year in a row, thanks to the support of four Dubai based sponsors with Irish connections; The Irish Village, Fexco, Dubai Duty Free and Innov8. The Dubai Rugby 7’s will take place at the ‘7evens’ grounds in Dubai from 28–30 November.

Several members of the team were born in Dubai and studied in Belfast, hence the decision to enter the Dubai Rugby 7’s. This year the team has broadened its player pool beyond the Greater Belfast area to include players from Dublin and Manchester with the hopes of going beyond the quarterfinal stages of the tournament that was reached last year.

“Given the strong Irish contingent in the squad it was only natural when looking for sponsorship that we approached organisations with direct or indirect ties to Ireland, as well as a history of sponsoring sporting events and teams,” said player Matthew Mullan, a founding member of the team and one of the organisers of the tour. “The Dubai connection within the team was instrumental in securing our four sponsors, without whom this trip would not have been possible.”

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