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History of The Club

The rugby club was formed in 1984, and in 1988 we joined the AGRFU (Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union). Our first clubhouse was built on the current site consisting of some old Portacabins. The clubhouse became the main centre of expatriate social life in Al Ain until 1997-1998. Some of the biggest New Year parties in town were held at the rugby club, with around 200 people attending.


During the eighties and early nineties, the club always struggled to put enough warm bodies on the pitch. But all tournaments and matches were supported and competed in by the Amblers. Even to the extent of borrowing up to a third of the team. This was mainly due to the relatively small number of expatriates in Al Ain during this period. However, the club was known as the most sociable in the Gulf and despite there only being “friendly” matches against local clubs and visiting ship’s teams. An invitation to Al Ain Amblers ground to play and socialize was much sought after. The fact that numerical superiority of female nurses from Tawam Hospital outnumbered the single male expat population in Al-Ain by almost two to one, may have contributed to this.

A further bonus of these demographics was the success of Women’s rugby when introduced by the AGFRU. From its early conception, Al Ain Women’s Team were at forefront winning the inaugural Dubai’s 7, some 41 years ago, and successfully defending the title the following year.


In 1992, Al Ain entered the newly formed Emirates League and for the first time played rugby on a regular basis. At this time, the club decided to hold domestic or local sevens in a competition for teams from Al Ain. The success of this tournament encouraged the club to play all its future matches there, while still utilizing the old clubhouse for after match festivities.

The club also decided to open their sevens competition to other Gulf based teams in 1993 and the tournament has become a fixture of Gulf rugby since. In 1996, an international division was added to the tournament with the national teams of Russia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and AGRFU competing. This tournament became the second biggest tournament in Gulf Rugby, after the Dubai Sevens. In 2011 the tournament was selected as a host for the UAERA Seven’s Series.


In 1997, the club joined the Arabian Gulf senior league and performed with distinction for several years. The club split apart and for two seasons there were two fully supported clubs in Al Ain. The most noteworthy part of this episode was that on the same day, the Amblers played in the final of the 1st Division Cup, the breakaway club played in the final of the Second Division Cup, with half of that team being of Arabic origin. Although both teams lost their encounters, it was a remarkable achievement based on the relative size of the expatriate community from which the players were drawn. On the same year also saw The Amblers appoint the first part time professional coach in Arabian Gulf Rugby.


The nineties also saw the creation of the clubs Youth Section with, at its peak, over one hundred players participating.


The Amblers moved to their current location, Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club, after a generous offer from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin KhalifaBin Zayed Al Nahyan. With a large clubhouse, gym, pools, tennis courts, climbing wall and with recent additions, now have five floodlit pitches, these magnificent facilities are certainly the best in Gulf Rugby and can equal many of the top class grounds in Europe and elsewhere.


The move to the new facilities combined with an increase in expat numbers in Al Ain created resurgence in the Amblers fortunes. Indeed, the period from 2008 until today has seen the Amblers win the Emirates League three times and their successful promotion to the UAE Premiership. The Veterans have also excelled, winning the Gulf Veterans competition in the Dubai 7’s in 2012, the second year running that they had reached the final.


Youth rugby also continues to grow strongly in the club with over 140 players regularly involved. The Amblers have developed a strong reputation in age group rugby reaching the finals of the Emirates Leagues at U16 and U18 levels and wining the International Bintang 10’s in Kuala Lumpur in 2010 at U14 level.


In 2012, the club saw the introduction of the Emirati development programme which was driven by the UAERF. This was an initiative to entice and encourage the locals (emirati) to take up rugby.


In 2013, the Al Ain Wolves team was established. Now there are three teams in total.


The club also played its part in the administration of Rugby in the Gulf with several individuals being elected to various offices. The club also has a strong history of developing representative players for the AGRFU and UAERA.


The 2014/2015 season brought about the introduction of two men’s teams which they both competed in the UAE conference cup. Congratulations to the 1st team for winning the UAE Conference Cup.


The 2015/2016 three senior men’s teams:

1st team competing in the UAE Premiership & West Asia Championship
2nds team competing in the UAE Conference Cup
3rds team (Community team) competing in the Community League.