The Steelers had not conceded a point through their three pool games, quarter and semi-finals, but they came up against a strong J9 Legends, representing Joost van der Westhuizen's Motor Neurone Disease charity, that included All Black Carlos Spencer, Waisale Serevi, Apollo Perellini and De Wet Barry.
The scores see-sawed with Thinus Delport and Keith Lowen scoring for the Steelers and Barry and Norman Jordaan getting over for J9, the latter score coming after the hooter, while the Steelers lost Ralph and Gav Kerr to yellow cards.
Serevi converted from the touchline, to lead 14-12, and J9 thought they had won, but the hooter had gone after seven minutes - as is normal for sevens - but in tens they play ten minutes, and the referee waved them on, and the Steelers sensed a final opportunity. They gripped possession, stretching the J9 team as both sets of players began to run on empty, and in the final play of the match former Scotland centre Andy Craig broke on the left past Serevi and Perellini to dive into the corner to repeat last year's last-gasp victory. Steelers skipper Jason White admitted: "This is very special. It was hard work and I wondered I am so happy. we were down and out there, two yellow cards, one man less for four minutes, and then you see Andy Craig who showed he has lost none of his pace.
"These guys are very competitive and we stuck to our guns to the end and we're absolutely delighted." Supported by Xodus Group, an energy consultancy based in Scotland, and locally-based OKI, under Scottish head manager John Ross, the squad spent the week in Dubai preparing for what they believe has been the best tournament yet.
Colin Manson, Xodus Managing Director, said: "That was an amazing finish and says so much about the commitment of the boys. I still can't believe it to be honest, but well done to the players for a fantastic effort. To do it once was great, but to repeat the feat, and in that manner, is just amazing." Rowen Shepherd, the team manager responsible for organising the squad, added: "Dubai has grown into the best sevens/tens tournament on the circuit and this year's has been up there with memories many of us have from our rugby careers.
"I was fortunate to play for Scotland and obviously Jason captained Scotland to a Calcutta Cup win and a number of the boys have played in World Cups, with Scotland, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa, and they are all saying that this ranks alongside some of their experiences. "They may all be 35 or over now, but you see the competitiveness coming out pretty quickly when they get their Xodus kit on and start warming up, and to win this title for the second year in a row is just unbelievable."
This Dubai Sevens may be remembered globally for the historic eight-try semi-final demolition of New Zealand by Fiji, which encouraged the Scotland team that lost narrowly to the Fijians in the quarter-finals, but as veterans rugby continues to rise the success of the Xodus Steelers remains firmly in the headlines.
Xodus Steelers: Craig Smith, Robert Russell, Gavin Kerr, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Matt Mustchin, Oriol Ripol, Dave Dillon, Jason White (capt), Ben Willis, Marcus di Rollo, Caleb Ralph, David Gorrie, Andy Craig, Keith Lowen, Thinus Delport. J9 Legends: Charlie Keenan, Api Naevo, Mark Wood, Colin Charvis, De Wet Barry, Jacques Steyn, Waisale Serevi, Apollo Perellini, Norman Jordaan, Carlos Spencer, Pieter Muller, Marika Vunibaka, Elvis Seveali'i, Ronald Fourie.
THE STEELERS cruised through their quarter-final with a four-try 26-0 win over the Crusaders and then edged a tight last four tie with last year's beaten finalists the Christina Noble Charity Foundation (CNCF) to reach the final of the Dubai International Veterans Tournament.
They will now meet the J9 Foundation team launched by Joost van der Westhuizen as part of his charity's drive to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and funds to improve research.
It was one of his former Springbok teammates, Thinus Delport, who played a key role in taking the Xodus Steelers to the final. He scored two tries with ex-Northampton and Spain wing Oriol Ripol and Ben Willis, the Ireland A scrum-half, bursting through the Crusaders defence for the others in the quarter-final.
Delport also received a blow to his eye in a ruck, and admitted: "As you can see that was a bit more physical than yesterday, but we expected that. The Crusaders worked us hard and it's never easy picking up the pace immediately in the first game, but we scored some good tries and our defence was solid. The guys are all working hard to win this tournament."
The Crusaders also had a strong Scottish connection, captained by Duncan Wilson, and featuring a number of Scottish players familiar to club supporters at home. The team was put together to help promote awareness of various forms of cancer and encourage men particularly to pick up early symptoms. Wilson suffered a brain tumour and after coming back from it with a major operation and series of treatment feels he has a new lease of life.
Next up it was the CNCF team that once dominated the Dubai veterans tournament, but lost their title to the new kids on the block, the Steelers, last year. They were gunning for revenge and the Steelers seemed to play into their hands by keeping things tight before eventually launching an attack from deep through Oriol Ripol and Caleb Ralph which ended with Delport again taking the final pass to finish off the score, and convert.
Steelers fans among the 1,000-plus crowd watching on the back pitch at Dubai Sevens Stadium were given a fright when the CNCF team intercepted a pass late on but it could not be held and the final whistle brought relief. Jason White, who has moved from manager last year to captain this, after reaching the veterans' 35-year age mark earlier this year, admitted it had been close.
"It wasn't a great performance by us," said the former Calcutta Cup-winning Scotland skipper, "but we got there. There's a great spirit in this squad, and some genuine skills, and the boys pulled it out of the hat.
"Now we can look forward to another final, reliving some great memories perhaps of playing in front of 40,000 or so supporters and hopefully retaining the trophy."
They will face the J9 Foundation team, which includes Colin Charvis, Carlos Spencer, Waisale Serevi among a host of well-known rugby legends, after they ran in three tries against the 'Joining Jack' charity side made up of former Wigan and GB rugby league stars headed by Andy Farrell.
THE XODUS Steelers ran riot in the opening pool stages of the Dubai International Veterans tournament and they are on track for a final meeting with some of Great Britain's rugby league legends if both sides can navigate through tough ties today. There are a good core of quality teams in the tens tournament, but also a number of vets sides without ex-internationalists and they came unstuck against the Steelers on opening day. Former Edinburgh and Scotland centre Marcus di Rollo and Springbok Thinus Delport both grabbed hat-tricks in a 52-0 opening win over the Malta Marauders, Andy Craig, another ex-Scotland centre, grabbing two tries and All Black fly-half Keith Lowen another.
In the second match against Jonesy's X-Men they match the nine-try figure, Delport again scoring a hat-trick, matched this time by Craig, while Caleb Ralph scored two and Spanish wing Oriol Ripol one in a 57-0 victory. And they went one better in the final game against the Watembezi Potbellies from Kenya, scoring ten tries in a 64-0 triumph.
There was to be no hat-trick for Delport this time, as the flyer shared the glory around, but he still touched down twice, as did Di Rollo, while Matt Mustchin, Lowen, Ripol, Craig, Gavin Kerr and skipper Jason White also got on the scoresheet. White also skilfully drop-kicked a conversion, only to have it ruled out by the ref for not taking it from the mark.
The competition heats up today, with the Xodus Steelers opening the day's action at 10am with a strong Scottish 'derby'. They face the Crusaders, a team captained by former Currie forward Duncan Wilson. He has recovered from a serious brain tumour and each member of the Crusaders squad has either come through cancer or suffered at the hands of the devastating disease along with family and friends. They are mostly Scottish, but also have Fijian World Cup players from 2003, Apenisa Naevo and Marika Vunibaka, in the side and New Zealand-born pair Ben Fisher and Josh Bicknell.
The Scottish teams have been kept apart from last year's beaten semi-finalists and hotly-tipped 'Joining Jack', a team featuring Andy Farrell, Denis Betts, Martin Offiah and Jason Robinson in the draw for the knockout stages. The English side is made up of ex-Wigan rugby league players to help fund research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable illness from which Jack Johnson, the five-year-old son of their former teammate, Andy, was diagnosed two years ago.
The big match of the first day was their encounter with the J9 team, put together by Joost van der Westhuizen, the former South Africa scrum-half now suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. He was there, cheering on the likes of Stephen Larkham (Australia), Colin Jarvis (Wales) and Carlos Spencer (New Zealand) in a real battle which ended in a 14-7 win for Joining Jack. J9 are also through the quarter-finals, however, if they and Joining Jack win their first ties today the pair will meet again in the last four for the right to feature in Saturday's final in front of 50,000 supporters on the match pitch.
The winners of the Xodus Steelers, also supported by sponsors OKI, and Crusaders will meet either the Christina Noble Charity Foundation team the Steelers defeated in last year's final or Stefan's BHF (British Heart Foundation), a team in memory of English coaching legend Stefan Czerpak who died from a heat attack. The CNCF Legends dominated the Dubai event with five successive wins and are eager to get their crown back from the Steelers.
The second day promises to be a different ball game to today's warm-up.
THE FOCUS of the rugby sevens world turns to Dubai this week as the HSBC World Series resumes with some great Scots of the past stepping back into the spotlight.
The now legendary Xodus Steelers, a mainly Scottish team of internationalists sponsored by the Aberdeen-based Xodus Group energy consultancy, touched down in Dubai this morning and once the bookies' favourite Derrick Lee had organised the transport arrangements a new-look squad was winging its way to the team hotel to meet up with the core of world imports strengthening the team for its first defence of the Dubai International Veteran Tens tournament.
Managed by former back row Stuart Reid and coached by Frank Hadden, the 2013 squad includes newcomers Jason White, Marcus di Rollo, Robbie Russell, Craig Smith, former Argentina captain Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, ex-Northampton wing Oriol Ripol, All Black Keith Lowen and Ben Willis, the Kiwi scrum-half who played for Harlequins and Ireland A. Waiting to greet them poolside, and spring into action on sight of the new navy and pink Canterbury kit, was the familiar core of Andy Craig, Matt Mustchin, Dave Dillon, David Gorrie, All Black Caleb Ralph and Springbok Thinus Delport.
"We won the tournament last year," weighty organiser Rowen Shepherd reminded the squad before leading them in a pool session, followed by a healthy brunch and the mandatory afternoon rest.
"This has become a massive event, not only in terms of the interest - we played in front of 50,000 in the final last year - but also the quality of teams taking part, with Great Britain rugby league legends playing. "We have a plan, or somebody has that we want to stick to and will rotate players a bit because we want to understand a bit more about the guys we have here - basically who's still got it and who's just here for the sun. We have a few new faces and it's great to see their enthusiasm. It's not quite the World Cup, but we don't have that many world rugby trophies in Scotland to celebrate and these guys are still just as competitive and keen to do Scotland proud."
Duncan Hodge, Glenn Metcalfe, Steve Scott and Gregor Townsend have turned out in the past for the Steelers team, launched by Colin and Jeremy Bone in 2004, and OKI, headed up in the Middle East by Scotsman John Ross, are another enthusiastic sponsor.
The Steelers will kick off on Thursday morning with the knockout stages on Friday and final run as part of the HSBC World Seven Series event finale on Saturday.
Tomorrow we will report on the squad's first training session and whether all the players manage to overcome the language barrier and understand the Scots contingent.
Xodus Steelers Tens squad (for Dubai International Veteran Tens Tournament): Backs - A Craig, M di Rollo (both Scotland), T Delport (South Africa), C Ralph, K Lowen (both New Zealand), B Willis (Ireland A), O Ripol (Spain); Forwards - J White, M Mustchin, G Kerr, R Russell, C Smith (all Scotland), D Dillon (Cook Islands), D Gorrie (Madagascar), I Fernandez Lobbe (Argentina).
Xodus Steelers beat Christina Noble to win Dubai Sevens tournament
The Scottish-based Xodus Steelers beat English charity side Christina Noble thanks to a last ditch try from former All Black Caleb Ralph to win the International Veterans tens tournament.
On front of a packed stadium and about 50,000 spectators the Steelers went ahead thanks to Caleb Ralph's seventh try of the tournament with former Scotland fly-half Duncan Hodge adding the extras.
In the second half Christina Noble - who have won the tournament for the last five years- replied with two tries of their own to go ahead 10-7.
As the siren went to signal the end of the game, former England 7s star Howard Graham started a move which led to a dramatic climax.
Graham offloaded to former Springbox Thinus Delport, who ran the length of the pitch sidestepping Kingsley Jones, before passing to Caleb Ralph to score his eighth try of the tournament under the posts to seal the win for the Steelers. Duncan Hodge kicked his second conversion of the game to make the full-time score 14-10.
Caleb Ralph said: "It was an unbelievable end to the game. I just stayed close to Thinus, who created the space for me to score. It feels amazing to win this tournament, all the boys have worked extremely hard this week and in the end we've achieved what we came here to do.
"I've really enjoyed playing for the Steelers this week in Dubai and I hope to be able to play for them again sometime."
Coach Frank Hadden added: "We prepared well for each game and it's a fantastic achievement for a Scottish-based team to win this tournament."
Manager Rowen Shepherd said: "We must thank the sponsors (Xodus Group, OKI and The Famous Grouse) for their support over the last four years, not only in Dubai but also for the games we play in Scotland.
"It was a huge effort from all involved and we'll always remember the day we won in Dubai."
The Xodus Steelers will play on front of 50,000 people tomorrow afternoon on the main pitch at the Dubai Rugby Sevens, when they take on English-based Christina Noble in the final of the International Veterans Tens tournament.
The Scottish-based invitational side - led by former Scotland coach Frank Hadden - progressed to the final after beating the Bali Legends 19-0 in the quarter-final and Joining Jack 25-0 in the semis. Joining Jack, an English-based charity team, included the likes of Paul Sculthorpe, Jason Robinson and Sean Long
In the quarter-final against the Bali Legends, former All Black Caleb Ralph scored twice and former Scotland fly-half Duncan Hodge also touched down and added a conversion. The other points came from the boot of former England 7s star Howard Graham.
Former Springbok Thinus Delport scored the opening try against Joining Jack in the semi-final after some nice build-up play involving Caleb Ralph, with Howard Graham kicking the conversion and a subsequent penalty. Duncan Hodge scored his second try of the day before Ralph touched down for his sixth try of the tournament. Dave Gorrie added a fourth just before the final whistle to wrap up the win.
Caleb Ralph said: "I'm really enjoying my week in Dubai, the guys are starting to gel and we played some excellent rugby today. Both games were extremely tough but we battled hard and managed to score a few tries.
"We now have a final to look forward to on the main pitch, but we're playing a very good side so we'll need to be at our best. We came here to try and win the tournament and we'll do everything we can to do just that."
The Xodus Steelers kicked-off their 2012 Dubai Sevens campaign with a 12-5 victory over The Royals, a combined Welsh and English select team led by Colin Charvis and Leigh Davies.
The Xodus Steelers, made up of former internationalists from Scotland, England, South Africa and New Zealand went behind early on but came back to win the game thanks to excellent link-up play between former All Black Caleb Ralph and former Springbok Thinus Delport, who both scored a try each. Former England Sevens player Howard Graham scored the games only conversion for the Steelers.
In their second game against TSB PB Slammers Legends the Xodus Steelers ran in eight tries to win 48-0 and progress to the quarter-finals. Gavin Kerr, Ralph (x 2), Delport (x 2), Graham, Mustchin and Lee all scored for the Scottish-based team.
The Xodus Steelers will play the Bali Legends in tomorrow's International Veterans Tens quarter-final.
After the games Thinus Delport said: "It was good to blow away the cobwebs in the first game and against the Slammers we were able to run in a few tries and win slightly more convincingly.
"I'm really enjoying playing with Caleb (Ralph) - he has unbelievable spacial recognition and we seem to be building up a good partnership.
"We know the quarter-final tomorrow will be really tough but we're looking forward to it and hopefully we can step it up again."
Former Springbok Thinus Delport is excited about finally playing alongside former All Black Caleb Ralph instead of against him.
The two have faced each other on a number of occasions in the past, but this week they will be teammates for the first time - playing for the Xodus Steelers at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.
Speaking exclusively to steelersrugby.com Thinus Delport said: "I know Caleb from playing against the Classic All Blacks for a World XV select side. We always played against each other when we were back in South Africa and New Zealand and we both had stints in Japan and played against each other there too, so it will be great to finally play alongside him.
"He's massively experienced and during his time with the Crusaders he was one of those guys that could finish and he brings that experience and ability to recognise space and attack that space, so I'm very excited about playing alongside him and feeding off him in terms of the spacial recognition that he has."
Thinus doesn't know many of his new teammates but he's looking forward to getting to know them quickly before the tournament kicks-off on Thursday.
He said: "I don't many of the guys in the squad but I'm pretty sure that after our first captain's meeting we'll have swapped some great stories from our glory days! It's really inspirational to see so many experienced guys getting back out there and putting a bit of hard graft back into it.
"My preparation has gone well, it's been great to have a bit of a motivator to get myself out to do a bit of training and I'm really looking forward to the challenge that's been set."
The Xodus Steelers will be competing in the International Veterans Tens tournament at the Dubai Rugby Sevens from 29 Nov - 1 Dec. Follow them all this week on Twitter @SteelersRugby
Caleb Ralph is second on the all-time list of Super Rugby try scorers, just one behind Doug Howlett and this week in Dubai he's hoping to run in a few more tries - this time for the Xodus Steelers in the International Veterans Tens tournament.
The former All Black played 15 times for New Zealand and during an illustrious career represented the Chiefs, Blues and Crusaders, as well as the New Zealand national sevens team.
Speaking exclusively to steelersrugby.com ahead of the Dubai Sevens, which kicks-off on Thursday, he said: "I've only been to Dubai once when I played for New Zealand in 1995 and I'm really looking forward to going back there. I've just turned 35 and I'm feeling pretty fit, so I'm hoping to score a few tries this week "
Although he enjoyed playing sevens, Caleb believes playing 15s is the highlight of every player's career.
"I love sevens because it's a bit more relaxed and by playing a few shorter games each day you get a bit more down time. With only 12 guys in the squad you get pretty close to them compared to the normal 30-man squads you get in the 15-a-side game.
"15s is the pinnacle for everyone and looking back now I realise how special playing for the All Blacks actually was. At the time you're just a young guy doing what you love with your mates but when you finish you definitely appreciate what it means to you."
The Xodus Steelers will be competing in the International Veterans Tens tournament at the Dubai Rugby Sevens from 29 Nov - 1 Dec. Follow them all this week on Twitter @SteelersRugby.
Caleb Ralph, who has been named in the Xodus Steelers squad for the Dubai Sevens later this month, played for the All Blacks 15 times and represented Crusaders on 126 occasions. He also played for the Chiefs and Blues and amassed an incredible 58 tries in Super Rugby - the second highest number of tries scored in the competition's history - just one behind Doug Howlett.
Now living in Australia Caleb knows more than most about Scotland's opposition this weekend and speaking exclusively to www.steelersrugby.com he believes this New Zealand team seems pretty much untouchable coming of the back of successes at the World Cup and Four Nations.
However, he believes they'll play a number of inexperienced players in their first two tests against Scotland and Italy and that could be one area for Scotland to try and exploit.
He said: "They've got a few young guys in the squad so the games against Scotland and Italy will be a good opportunity to blood them alongside some of the more experienced players.
"Steve Hansen has said he's going to try and give everyone game time in those first two tests as he probably has a few names up in the air, so depending on how those guys do he'll finalise his strongest team for the last two games against Wales and England."
Ralph has huge admiration for captain Richie McCaw, who has played an incredible 113 times for the All Blacks, and believes he's up there as one of the all-time greats to have pulled on the famous black shirt.
"He consistently performs and especially in that position where he's obviously targeted he's done tremendously well to perform like that. Just having his presence out there gives everyone a huge lift.
"Only he'll know when he's ready to stop playing but it would be awesome to see him out there for a while yet, although I think he's probably feeling it a bit these days."
Playing for the All Blacks was the pinnacle of Ralph's career but he says at the time he maybe didn't appreciate it as much as he does now.
"I think looking back now I realise how special it actually was. At the time you're a young guy playing and just doing what you love with your mates and it can't get any better than that, but when you finish you definitely appreciate what it means to you."
Caleb feels that Scotland will have to raise their game to another level against the All Blacks, following their successful summer tour to the Southern Hemisphere, which included wins against Australia, Fiji and Samoa.
"I don't get to see Scotland play much living in Australia and although the Wallabies probably weren't at their best when they lost to Scotland, any test win is good and Scotland will have been happy with that.
"Obviously Scotland will be ready for New Zealand but I think it'll be a different level for them than it was against Australia."
You can follow the progress of the Xodus Steelers at the Dubai Rugby Sevens with live coverage from Sunday 25 November at www.twitter.com/SteelersRugby
The Xodus Steelers have launched their new 2012 Canterbury kit, which they'll wear at this month's Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament.
The stunning new pink and blue kit has a reversible shirt, offering two sets of colours for the team to wear when they compete in the International Veterans Tens tournament from 29 November to 3 December.
Former Scotland captain and Steelers' ambassador Jason White launched the kit in Edinburgh, along with former Scotland prop, Gavin Kerr, who joins former Springbok Thinus Delport and All Black Caleb Ralph in this year's squad for Dubai. The remaining 12 players will be announced on www.steelersrugby.com on Sunday11 November.
The home shirt is predominantly pink with a blue trim and the change shirt is predominantly blue with a pink trim. Both shirts include the Xodus Group logo on the front and back, the OKI logo on the front and left arm, the Red Sky Management logo on the right arm and on the back is the Famous Grouse logo and a saltire. The shorts are blue and the socks are pink with blue hoops.
A limited number of the 2012 Xodus Steelers shirts are now available to buy online at www.steelersdirect.co.uk.
Gavin Kerr has 50 for Scotland and represented Leeds Tykes, Border Reivers, Edinburgh and Sale Sharks, before retiring in 2010.
Jason White amassed 77 caps for Scotland and led his country to famous wins over France and England at Murrayfield in 2006. The versatile forward played for Glasgow, Sale Sharks and Clermont, before retiring at the end of last season.
Jason White, who'll be traveling with the squad to Dubai this year as one of the coaches, said: "I love the new kit and I'm sure the boys will too. It's really comfortable to wear and will definitely stand out in Dubai.
"This is my first trip with the Steelers and Frank (Hadden) and I will be working hard to ensure the team is well prepared for each game."
Gavin Kerr added: "From what I've heard it'll be a fun trip. We've all been training hard over the last few months and we now just want to get out there and start playing."
Two Southern Hemisphere rugby heavyweights will be joining up with the Xodus Steelers squad in Dubai next month.
South Africa's Thinus Delport and All Black Caleb Ralph will be part of the Steelers' 15-man squad that will compete in the international vets tournament at this year's Dubai Rugby Sevens.
Caleb has been capped 15 times for the All Blacks and has represented the New Zealand national sevens team. He is the second top try scorer of all time in Super Rugby with 58 tries, just one behind Doug Howlett and ahead of the likes of Christian Cullen and Dan Carter.
The former Auckland and Canterbury centre had spells with the Chiefs and Blues before going onto to play 126 times for the Crusaders.
Thinus has 18 caps for the Springboks and has played in English rugby for Gloucester and Worcester. The pacy winger, who can also play at full-back, represented Worcester more than 100 times, scoring 112 points for the Premiership club.
The versatile back can play at centre or on the wing and has scored more than 330 points during an illustrious career.
The Xodus Steelers, who are sponsored by the Xodus Group, OKI and The Famous Grouse, will compete at the Dubai Rugby Sevens from 29 November until 1 December.
The full Xodus Steelers squad for this year's tournament will be announced over the next few weeks.
Thinus Delport said: "I've heard so much about the Steelers and I'm really looking forward to competing in Dubai. We have a strong squad with a lot of international experience and that will help us to gel quickly."
Caleb Ralph commented: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me to return to Dubai to play in a tournament which is highly regarded throughout the world.
"My former team-mate Brad Fleming played for the Steelers in Dubai and from what I've heard we'll have to work extremely hard to have a successful week out there."
Frank Hadden, Xodus Steelers manager added: "These two individuals have achieved so much in the game and have played at the very highest level. It is a major coup for us to have them in our group next month."
Scottish-based invitational rugby club, the Xodus Steelers have today agreed a shirt sponsorship deal with global whisky brand, The Famous Grouse.
The Famous Grouse logo will be displayed on the back of the 2012 Xodus Steelers shirt, which will be worn at the Dubai Rugby Sevens in November.
The Famous Grouse has been synonymous with the Scottish national rugby team since 1990 and the partnership with the SRU is the longest national team sponsorship in the world of rugby.
The Xodus Steelers have recently announced new sponsorship deals with Aberdeen-based Xodus Group and OKI.
Glen Gribbon, director of The Famous Grouse said: "We have a long standing relationship with Scottish rugby and this helps continue that association. The Steelers have quickly established themselves at the Dubai Rugby Sevens and we hope to help them achieve more success this year."
Frank Hadden, Xodus Steelers head coach said: "It is a major deal for us to be associated with a world famous brand synonymous with Scottish rugby. We welcome Famous Grouse on board for the third year running and look forward to working closely with them."
The Xodus Steelers will compete in the International Veterans Tens tournament at the Dubai Rugby Sevens from 29 November to 1 December.
Scottish-based invitational rugby club, the Xodus Steelers will play against Caithness RFC on Saturday 18 August, under the guidance of former Scotland coach Frank Hadden.
The match will be played in Thurso and will kick off the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations with the Xodus Steelers squad including Scottish rugby legends Rowen Shepherd, Craig Joiner, Jonny Petrie, Cammy Mather, Gavin Kerr, Derrick Lee, Stuart Reid and Duncan Hodge. The Steelers have never played a 15 a-side fixture on home soil before.
Frank Hadden was Head Coach of Scotland from 2005 until 2009 and has joined the Xodus Steelers coaching team following Gregor Townsend’s appointment as head coach of Glasgow Warriors.
The Game in Caithness will be covered live on the Xodus Steelers twitter feed (@SteelersRugby).
The team will once again complete at this year’s Dubai Rugby Sevens from 29 November until 1 December 2012 and have recently announced new sponsorship deals with Xodus Group and OKI.
Xodus Steelers head coach, Frank Hadden said: “I am honoured to join the Xodus Steelers coaching team ahead of this special game against Caithness RFC. We were thrilled to be invited up to take part in the celebrations and we will be fielding as strong a team as possible in what will be a unique game for us.”
Rowen Shepherd added: “Caithness Rugby Club is where it all began for me so it will be a great game to play in. The Dubai Sevens is an important tournament for us but it is nice to be able to support Caithness RFC and bring such an exciting squad to the far north of the country.’’
Scottish-based invitational rugby club, the Xodus Steelers and global brand, OKI have agreed a shirt sponsorship deal for 2012.
The deal means that the OKI logo will once again be displayed on the Xodus Steelers kit, which will be worn at the Dubai Rugby Sevens in November and at a tournament in Scotland in August. It will be the fourth consecutive year that OKI has sponsored the Steelers.
OKI employs 17,000 people across the world and is represented in 125 countries, including Dubai in the UAE. The global business-to-business brand is dedicated to creating professional printed communications products, applications and services.
John Ross of OKI said: "Xodus Steelers and OKI work really well together. We have supported the team since 2008 and we are excited about the opportunity of continuing our association with them."
"We had no hesitation in getting involved again this year and we look forward to cheering on the team in Dubai."
Rowen Shepherd of the Xodus Steelers added: "It is a huge boost to everyone associated with the Xodus Steelers to have OKI on board again for 2012. We have worked closely with them over the last few years to ensure that the return on their investment is maximised and they are now seeing the benefits of this.
"The support of our sponsors is crucial to us being able to compete each year in Dubai and we are hugely grateful to OKI for their continued backing of the team. This announcement demonstrates there is a strong appetite amongst global brands to be associated with the Steelers."
The Xodus Steelers will compete in the International Veterans Tens tournament at the Dubai Rugby Sevens from 29 November to 1 December.
Steelers Rugby has today announced that the international energy consultancy, Xodus Group, has renewed its title sponsorship of the team.
The Xodus Steelers will once again compete at the Dubai Rugby Sevens in December and are also set to play in an additional tournament on home soil, with more details to be announced soon.
The Xodus Group has sponsored the Steelers since 2010 and during this time the team has reached two Dubai finals, with a group of players including, Duncan Hodge, Gregor Townsend and James McLaren.
Stephen Swindell Chief Operating Officer of Xodus Group said: "We are thrilled to have agreed an extension to our title sponsorship deal with the Steelers. It is very exciting to have the additional tournament this year and we look forward to supporting the team both at home and in Dubai."
Rowen Shepherd of the Xodus Steelers added: "This is further evidence that we can attract and retain high quality sponsors. We have been busy working on this deal since the turn of the year and we are hugely grateful to the Xodus Group for their continued support of the team."
The Xodus Steelers have raised £1200 from the auction of Bill McLaren’s ‘big sheet’ from Scotland v England in 2000, signed by Scotland’s point scorer Duncan Hodge.
The money raised will be split equally between The Bill McLaren Foundation and the Steelers official charity Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.
Last year the Steelers raised £1000 for Maggie’s and are already more than halfway to achieving that amount again in 2012.
Steelers Rugby is delighted to announce an exclusive auction in aid of Maggies Cancer Caring Centres and the Bill McLaren Foundation, during the build-up to this year’s Calcutta Cup showdown between Scotland and England on 4 February.
For the first time a limed edition print of Bill McLaren’s pre-match note sheet used during Scotland’s famous 19-13 victory over England at Murrayfield in 2000, is available in our special online auction. Duncan Hodge, who scored all of Scotland’s 19 points that day has only signed three of these special prints and will never individually sign anymore.
In the run up to every game legendary Scottish rugby commentator, Bill McLaren added every detail of the match to a large blank piece of paper, taken from his database of players, officials and grounds, to create the work of art that his family call ‘Bill’s Big Sheets’.
Duncan Hodge said: “It was an incredible day back in 2000 and one which I’ll remember for the rest of my life. This sheet is very special and I will only ever sign three of them individually. The detail that went into Bill’s preparation is astonishing and quite simply he was the best rugby commentator of all time.”
The auction will end on Saturday 4 February, the day of this year’s Calcutta Cup match at Murrayfield so to bid for Bill’s Big Sheet’ click here now:
The Teams (Sunday 2 April 2000):
Scotland: Paterson, Moir, Townsend, McLaren, G. Metcalfe, Hodge, Nicol, Smith, Brotherstone, Stewart, S. Murray, R. Metcalfe, White, Pountney, M. Leslie.
Replacements: McIlwham, G. Scott, Grimes, Reid, Redpath, Shiel, A. Bulloch.
England: Perry, Healey, Tindall, Catt, Cohen, Wilkinson, Dawson, Leonard, Greening, Vickery, Archer, Shaw, Hill, Back, Dallaglio.
Replacements: McCarthy, Woodman, Corry, Worsley, Gomarsall, King, Balshaw.