Rugby lecturer and ex-Hawick coach Nikki Walker recently played in the international veterans’ pool of the Emirates Dubai Rugby 7s, as part of the ‘100 World Legends’ charity project.
The venture was built up by Glasgow’s David Higgins who, for the past five years, has been taking teams assembled from some of the world’s rugby greats to locations around the world, raising money for various charities .
Two teams travelled to the 2017 Dubai 7s – one sponsored team of 14 ex-internationals and one social team of 15.
On this occasion, the 100 World Legends charity teams were raising money for the Doddie Weir’5 Discretionary Trust, founded to support ex-Melrose and Scotland rugby great Doddie Weir, and his family, as well as raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Nikki’s team made it to the quarter-finals, where they were usurped by the ‘J9 Legends’. This squad was set up to support Joost van der Westhuizen, who also suffered from MND, but sadly passed away in February.
Nikki said: “In total, there were 28 different competitions going at the Dubai 7s – I was playing as part of the international veterans (35s and over) 10s team.
“There was a serious attitude from everyone, especially when it came to the quarter-finals.”
The experience not only gave Nikki the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the world-renowned three-day event, but also to network with key contacts and familiar faces in rugby.
During the trip, the teams also took the chance to visit a Dubai school, coaching pupils aged up to 14 years, as well as carrying out some training – something which Nikki and his teammates hope will help to promote the sport to young people in Dubai.