x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dubai College's loss will be national team's gain

Cyrus Homayoun has been called up to play for UAE, which means he will not appear for the education institution's old boys' side at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Former rugby players Jason Robinson, third from left, and George Gregan, far left, have some fun with pupils of Dubai College during their training session in Dubai on Tuesday.
Former rugby players Jason Robinson, third from left, and George Gregan, far left, have some fun with pupils of Dubai College during their training session in Dubai on Tuesday.

DUBAI // Cyrus Homayoun's call up to play for the full UAE team at The Sevens this weekend is another commendation for his alma mater, Dubai College (DC).

However, Homayoun's elevation means the school's old boys' side will be deprived of a key players for their own pursuit of the International Social title.

There is a good chance they will be able to cope, though. This weekend, five of the team's players are flying in from the UK.

"We have lost in the semi-finals in the past two years, so we want to go one better than that this time," Patrick Cannie, the team's manager, said.

Whatever the side have forsaken in terms of preparation, they make up for with their abundance of sevens knowledge.

Cannie first played in the Dubai Rugby Sevens for Ras Al Khaimah in 1980. His last one as a player was for the Dubai Exiles in 2005, by which time his sons James and Greg were taking over the mantle as players in the DC school side.

Greg a winner in the school's sevens competition in 2007, is back to play this weekend, en route from university in Scotland to playing club rugby in Australia.

The fly-half turned down the chance to represent the Arabian Gulf team when he was 18, as he harboured aspirations of one day making the grade with Scotland.

Having dovetailed his studies in Edinburgh with playing for the Premier One club, Boroughmuir, he will join the elite development side of Northern Suburbs in Sydney after Christmas.

In a neat quirk of circumstance, Greg will celebrate his birthday on National Day, which falls on the middle day of the Sevens weekend on Friday. While the UAE turns 40, he will turn 21. And he is happy to be back."The rugby in Scotland is quite attritional, so it is good to come back and play more fast-paced rugby and throw the ball around a bit more," he said.

pradley@thenational.ae

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