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Jo Czerpak in action with Abu Dhabi.
Jo Czerpak in action with Abu Dhabi.

Dubai Sevens: UAE veterans will look for home advantage

One Abu Dhabi schoolteacher will have a vested interest in several games at the Dubai Sevens on Thursday - not least because he will be facing the mighty Christina Noble veterans.

DUBAI // As if the prospect of facing the mighty Christina Noble veterans side is not challenging enough already.

An Abu Dhabi schoolteacher will lead his side of ageing social players against Percy Montgomery and his all-stars while juggling a schedule that means he has a vested interest in nine matches on Thursday.

Happily for Jo Czerpak, the coach of the British School Al Khubairat Under 18s side, his stable of teammates have a little bit of pedigree, too.

They might not have quite the international renown of their lauded rivals in their pool of the International Veterans competition. But Czerpak, a former England colt and later fly-half for the Abu Dhabi Harlequins, is one of a number of former Arabian Gulf players playing for the Stefan's British Heart Foundation vets.

The likes of David Clark, the longest serving Arabian Gulf captain, and Manu Barry will be lending their local knowledge - and considerable talent - to the victory effort.

"Looking on the positive side, playing Christina Noble in the groups means you will hopefully avoid them later," Czerpak said. "We are aiming for second place in the group."

The Stefan's BHF team, which was set up to raise awareness of the British Heart Foundation in memory of Jo's late father, are long-term participants in Dubai.

For the first time the vets side are joined by a team in the International Social competition, for which Alistair Thompson, the former UAE captain, is making a comeback.

The former Abu Dhabi Harlequins No 8 - and school colleague of Czerpak's - retired from all rugby at the end of the national team's Asian Five Nations campaign in May.

Six months in to his retirement, however, the prospect of a last hurrah at the Sevens proved enough of a lure to coax him back.



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