1:48 – The Kuwait Scorpions rugby team started in 1946 as a way for British oilfield workers to compete against British military officers.
2:40 – Our guests today are Aziz, the chairman of the Scorpions Rugby Club, and Hussein, the manager of the Rugby Club. They both play and work for the team administratively.
3:10 – Kuwait paved the way for the establishment of the GCC, which now includes teams in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Understandably, there are some logistical challenges in traveling from country to country to compete, but these teams are all a part of Asia Rugby and compete frequently.
5:17 – Since the tradition of playing rugby in Kuwait began with engineers and workers playing against the military, there are still occasional games against British and American military teams.
6:37 – Mahdi compares Kuwait rugby to Kuwait baseball in that they were both trailblazers that have been slow to develop.
6:48 – The Scorpions’ organization has programs for children ages 3 and up, adult teams for competition, and veteran teams for ages 35+. The majority of those on the competitive teams are in their 20s or 30s, and the organization is known to represent all nationalities due to the high expat population.
10:51 – The rugby club aims to teach the game to different age groups of different experience levels, but since Kuwait is often a transitional place, it is difficult to recruit players who will stick around to grow with the team.
14:22 – The Kuwait Oil Company recently upgraded the rugby pitch with artificial turf and created a high-quality facility for the Scorpions’ use, which has enhanced the atmosphere. There are shops and restaurants in the area, so rugby has become a family-friendly activity.
18:32 – Liam talks about his experience playing rugby in England.
20:06 – The Scorpions have Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts as well as a website, and they have noticed that most Kuwaitis engage with them on Instagram most. Since they are an amateur team, they do not have a budget for advertising, so social media is their primary promotion source.
22:57 – The female Scorpions rugby team practices from 5-7pm on Mondays and the men practice from 7-9pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. During the preseason, they focus on fitness by doing HIIT workouts, and once the season starts in September, they shift to working on their skills through body weight and anaerobic exercises. They have also been using Titan sensor GPS trackers that allow them to train for peak performance.
26:30 – They would like to acquire a scrum machine and some sleds, but there is not currently a budget for those types of things. Hopefully, they will be able to have someone in Kuwait make one rather than having to import. The KOC might have some budget opening up for the team in the future.
30:45 – In March, the KOC is hosting a sports day with rugby, CrossFit, hockey, and soccer, as well as vendors to encourage the community to get active. Liam chimes in that this is going to be a great event and he hopes that the ministries will continue to pursue sponsoring events like this.
32:48 – Mahdi and Liam talk about the importance to the community of kids getting more active and being involved in sports.
33:48 – The rugby club is working on creating more programs that will encourage people to learn more about rugby and use it as a way to get active. They are currently hosting a flag rugby league that will have its final matches during the March Sports Festival.
36:50 – Aziz and Hussein talk about the difficulty they have had finding venues for mixed sports and finding competition for the female team except for when Kuwait hosts other teams.
38:08 – They discuss the lack of knowledg