The third edition of the Etihad Airways Junior Rugby Festival is set to take place at its new venue Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, later this month with more than 2,200 school children aged between 5 and 18 years taking part.

The festival, the largest youth rugby event of its kind in the region, takes place between October 19 and 30, and consists of two key events – the Etihad Harlequins Rugby Schools and the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Harlequins Junior Rugby Tournament.

This year’s hosting venue, Zayed Sports City, has additional capacity to accommodate the growing number of participants witnessed year-on-year since the festival was inaugurated.

Through its sponsorship of London-based rugby club, Harlequins, Etihad Airways has secured the participation of ex-Irish International and Harlequins Director of Rugby, Conor O’Shea, who will be able to scout the local youth rugby talent. Also in attendance will be Harlequins’ Second Row forward, James Percival, and members from the Harlequins Community Rugby Coaches.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Etihad Airways is proud to deliver its third Junior Rugby Festival.

“This year is set to become the biggest festival yet with children participating from more than nine countries, including Russia, Kenya, UK and various countries from the GCC. With support from our global sporting partners we remain committed to bringing sports excitement to Abu Dhabi and the region and making a contribution to the development of local grassroots sport.”

The inaugural Etihad Airways Junior Rugby Festival took place in 2008 and attracted more than 1,600 youngsters, both local and international, who took part in the rugby clinics and two-day junior tournament.

Following the Rugby Schools, Etihad Airways will jointly host with the Abu Dhabi Harlequins Rugby Club the region’s largest junior rugby tournament at the same location on October 29 and 30. More than 1,800 children will take part in the two day knockout tournament.