Chairman Nabil Al Busaidi shares his vision
Welcome to the home of Rugby in Oman. Rugby in the world has a rich history and one that we endeavour to celebrate here in the Sultanate.
Rugby is more than just being big and strong, it hones the attributes of a person, player, coach and anyone associated.
Here in Oman the aspect of family is one of the best in the world, and taking that to the field for a team sport like Rugby gives us an incredible edge like no other.
Oman is on a journey, please read through our ideas and plans and join us in building on this Olympic sport and progressing as a whole community.
I look forward to seeing you on a pitch soon, in whatever capacity that may be.
Rugby has been a part of Oman for over 50 years.
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos (front row, left) in his role as patron of Muscat RFC attending one of Muscat’s early fixtures at the Wattayah site
Rugby in Oman started with the birth of Muscat RFC, which was founded in July of 1971, on the back of an influx of European expatriates to Oman following the accession of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. PDO Pirates shortly followd suit in 1972.
Despite the presence of the late Sultan as patron of the club and occasional spectator of games, there was no royal treatment in those early days as telegraph poles with metal pipes served as goal posts for the original sand pitch at Wattayah, where the first clubhouse was opened in 1974.
The club relocated to Al Khuwair in 1983 and celebrated by capturing a first Gulf Cup title at the end of that season. Further cup successes followed in 1986 and 1990 – to go with the club’s Gulf League success of 1979/80 – but the facilities were sadly destroyed by fire in 1995.n Thanks to the work of club members and the support of some local contractors, a new clubhouse was soon established and officially opened by former British and Irish Lions captain, Willie John McBride.
The sale of the clubhouse land in 2011 was a big blow and, coinciding with the end of the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union (AGRFU) and the emergence of several powerhouse UAE outfits, left Muscat RFC struggling to keep pace.
However, the club spirit and the dedication of its members have never waned, and after a number of years keeping the Gulf Conference afloat, Muscat’s first XV secured more regular competitive fixtures by being added to the UAE domestic league in 2019.
Central to that happening was club President and chairman of the Oman Rugby Committee, Nabil (Nabs) Al Busaidi, who outlined how that famous club spirit has continued over the last 18 months.
“It’s been a tough year, but we have been incredibly lucky that our members have supported the club during this unusual time, and we are looking forward to bringing back full contact training and fixtures for both the men’s and women’s team over the coming months.”
“The 50th anniversary is a big deal to each member of the club,” he continues. “Although the current restrictions have put a temporary pause to celebrations, we have a new social committee who are looking to create 50 social events over the next year, including the MRFC ball in summer 2022.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge himself, the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2021 were not the only thing on the agenda for Al Busaidi and the recently established national committee.
“With a decreasing number of expats in Oman, unfortunately we are seeing an inevitable decrease in the number of rugby players,” he explains.
“At one stage, there were at least eight rugby clubs in Oman, but the sport never caught on with the local population. With rugby sevens becoming an Olympic sport however, there is a compelling reason to promote the sport amongst the Omani youth, and for Omanis to want to play.”
“After several years of effort, the Ministry of Sport has agreed to recognise rugby as an official sport in Oman and approved the establishment of the Oman Rugby Committee as its governing body.”
“Despite the suspension of most group activities during COVID, the groundwork for rugby development has continued and touch rugby is proving very popular, particularly for those new to the game,” he adds.
“We now have the genesis of a regular social touch league, which we hope to have up and running next season as one of three core areas of focus, alongside youth development and the establishment of rugby teams within the national military.”
Governing Body of Rugby in Oman
Asia Rugby end of year Council meeting held in Dubai, UAE on 2nd of Dec 2021; the Council unanimously approved to grant Oman the Associate Membership of Asia Rugby, lifting up the number of the national rugby bodies to 35 in Asia.
Consequent to a dynamic presentation delivered by Oman Rugby Committee Chairman at the Asia Rugby end of year Council meeting held in Dubai, UAE on 2nd of Dec 2021; the Council unanimously approved to grant Oman the Associate Membership of Asia Rugby, lifting up the number of the national rugby bodies to 35 in Asia.
Worldwide, the Asian continent represents a population of more than 4 billion people, which constitutes 55% of the population of the planet. commenting on the occasion, Asia Rugby President Qais Al Dhalai said: “As a President of the biggest continent, I am delighted to welcome Oman to the Asia Rugby family. I would also like to thank Nabil Al Busaidi and the rest of the Oman Rugby Committee Board of Directors for their dedication, passion and teamwork. We do look forward to an effective and efficient engagement by Omanis at all Asia Rugby events” Nabil Al Busaidi, the Chairman of Oman Rugby Committee delivered an ambitious presentation, informing the Asia Rugby Council that Rugby in Oman has a rich history; as above - Muscat Rugby Club, formed in 1971, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, and that Oman was one of the founding members of the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union.
“A lot of work has gone into being fully prepared over the last two years so it was a great relief to know that there was unanimous approval,” commented Al Busaidi. “It was a great feeling, especially how warmly I was welcomed by all the other members. After 24 hours of satisfaction and celebration, I also know that the hard work starts now.”
Recognition from FIT
April 2023 saw our first milestone in the second variation of rugby - Touch. The Federation of International Touch board of directors voted to approve the Oman Rugby application for Observer Member, meaning that we now have recognition from World governing bodies as the National Governing bodies of Oman for their respective rugby codes.