x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

'Behind the scenes' work with London Welsh to benefit BSAK pair

Training with English rugby union club was an "eye-opening experience," says Kyle Knox and Joe Teasdale.

Joe Teasdale, left, and Kyle Knox.
Joe Teasdale, left, and Kyle Knox.
Lyn Jones, the former Wales flanker, may have left the UAE after a two-year stay in the capital, but his influence on the school rugby union landscape continues to be felt.

The Abu Dhabi Schools League, which Jones initiated while he was the director of rugby at the British School Al Khubairat (BSAK), begins again this week.

BSAK, the capital's pre-eminent rugby school, will take some beating, especially given the impressive pre-season experienced by two of the first XI's best players.

Kyle Knox and Joe Teasdale spent a week at London Welsh this summer, shadowing the first-team players at the English Championship club.

The duo were the first BSAK pupils to benefit from what the school hope will become an annual exchange scheme at the London club, where Jones is now the director of rugby.

"It was like watching a documentary where you see behind the scenes, and see how rugby players live their lives," Knox, 18, who is a Swansea-born openside flanker, said."It was physically very demanding, and I was so tired by the end of each day. For the [London Welsh] boys, it is day in and day out, so they probably get used to it.

"It was the sort of experience that made me want to become a rugby player. It was an inspiration."

Each of the A-level pupils hope to give themselves the chance to pursue careers in rugby after applying to universities with strong rugby programmes in the UK.

"It was an eye-opening experience, really testing, but well worth it," Teasdale, 17, who can play at centre and wing, said. "On the first day, we did a weights circuit, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I couldn't walk after it.

"After that we did rugby skills, and Lyn was enjoying it because I couldn't move my arms after that. It gives you an incentive to become that, and train harder."

Knox and Teasdale both play senior rugby with the Abu Dhabi Harlequins, meaning they could be set to share a field with some of their teachers at various points this season.

Alistair Thompson, the No 8 and former Quins coach, and Ed Lewsey, who replaced Jones as BSAK's director of rugby this term, are key players in the Quins first team.

Lewsey wants to continue the huge strides which BSAK has made, thanks to its vast recent investment in sport, as Abu Dhabi attempts to challenge Dubai's monopoly on school rugby.


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