x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Chris Davies' heart is at Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Director of rugby thinking of moving clubs despite the emergence of Jebel Ali Dragons.

Chris Davies is a Quin at heart. Sammy Dallal / The National
Chris Davies is a Quin at heart. Sammy Dallal / The National

DUBAI // Chris Davies, the director of rugby at Abu Dhabi Harlequins, says his heart remains in the capital despite a new coaching vacancy opening up at the Jebel Ali Dragons.

Shane Thornton officially stepped down as the head coach of the Dragons on Friday after seeing his side claim their third major title of the season.

It has been the New Zealander's most successful campaign in charge as the club finally surmounted the Harlequins, their great rivals, and Doha, the previous winners, to be called the best side in West Asia.

Paul Hart, the first team captain, revealed after Friday's final that his club had already been in discussions with "prominent figures within rugby" here about replacing Thornton.

The summer promises to be a busy one among the management of each of the clubs. The Dubai Hurricanes are also in the market for a new coach after Chris Burch opted to take a year out of the game for personal reasons.

As a resident of Dubai, the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence is the closest club to Davies's home and would cut his daily commute by around an hour either way.

However, the Welshman says his job at Zayed Sports City with the capital's longest-established club is nowhere near done yet.

"My heart is at Quins, as simple as that," said Davies, whose Quins side won the Gulf Top Six and the UAE Cup titles in 2011/12. "I'm certainly going to sit back and reflect on things but that is not an option for me.

"These guys have put in more than 100 per cent and there is more still to come from this club. We have a great junior section and it would be nice to do a lot more with those players."

pradley@thenational.ae

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