Thousands of sports fans are expected to converge on the UAE this week, as the Dubai Rugby Sevens event gets underway.The seven-a-side version of the game has proven extremely popular in recent years and almost 100,000 people are predicted to visit The Sevens - a purpose-built stadium on the Al Ain Road - over the course of the three-day tournament.Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens has been running for 43 years and the event is always a colourful celebration of the game.This year will see 16 world-class national male sides and 12 women's teams battle it out in the emirate.Many pundits expect New Zealand to perform well in the competition after making a very solid start to the Sevens season.Coach Gordon Tietjens is looking forward to taking his team to Dubai."Dubai is a climate we like playing in and a tournament we want to win again," he remarked."England have won it over the past couple of years, but there are six or seven teams that could win it. Dubai is my favourite tournament out of all of them."Tietjens reserved special praise for the "first-rate" facilities in the city and also highlighted Emirates' strong backing of the competition as a major positive.History will be made this year, as the inaugural IRB Women's Sevens World Series will be held alongside the men's tournament.It is sure to be a real family affair and a "Rugby Rock" concert will take place after the games have finished on the Friday and Saturday (November 30th and December 1st).Chairman of the UAE Rugby Federation, Mohammed AR Falaknaz, said the game is becoming increasingly popular throughout the country and the sport is being taught to more children.Indeed, more than 1,800 youngsters are now playing the game on a weekly basis, he confirmed.This is just one of a number of high-profile international sporting events to be held in the UAE this year, highlighting the nation's status as a great place to stage world-class competitions and tournaments.