x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Abu Dhabi is showing the way for UAE rugby to shine

Everything about the UAE capital has been good for the nascent rugby union so far.

The UAE Rugby Association have much to do if they are to make good on their ambitious plan to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. However, they already have one success story to reflect on, namely the progression of rugby in Abu Dhabi.

Everything about the capital has been good for the nascent union so far. The national team gained their first Test victory there against Kazakhstan last year.

More recently, Abu Dhabi Harlequins secured inter-region bragging rights by beating Doha to the Gulf Top Six title two weeks ago.

The Quins then cemented their status as the pre-eminent side by thrashing Toa, one of a number of Dubai-based clubs, in the opening game of the UAE Premiership.

Happily, they have been scooping up the trophies with three highly-promising schoolboys, Kyle Knox, Joe Teasdale and Christy McCormick, in their side.

Next week, Scott Robertson, a former All Black and a coach with the Canterbury Crusaders Super 15 franchise, will conduct a coaching clinic at the club. The long established Quins, have been pushed on to greater things this season by the arrival of the Abu Dhabi Saracens, the proactive new club based at Al Ghazal.

Where the two clubs have led, the union are now set to follow, having last month advertised for a full-time development officer for the Abu Dhabi beat.

"Rugby here is in its infant stages," said Chris Davies, the Quins director of rugby. "It will be great to have another development mind in the area."