Dubai schoolboy, Rory Arthur, ‘excited’ to train with Saracens in England
DUBAI // A Dubai-based schoolboy will take a step closer to his dream of a professional rugby career when he trains with the English champions Saracens this summer.
Rory Arthur, a pupil at Dubai English Speaking College, will join up with the academy of the London-based club next month.
The outside-centre has just completed his GCSEs after his second year in Dubai since family relocated from Scotland.
He will now get the chance to try to prove himself alongside some of the other teenaged talent at an academy that has produced the likes of Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje in recent years.
“I am very excited about this opportunity, because it is obviously a really high standard that I have not been used to before,” Arthur, 16, said.
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“I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to see how I measure next to them.
“Professional rugby is something I have always sort of looked to do since I was younger. It is what I would like to do.”
He was recommended to Saracens by Apollo Perelini, the UAE coach, who has been fine-tuning Arthur’s skills at his academy in Dubai in recent months.
“I have watched Rory and admired him since he arrived [in Dubai],” Perelini said.
“I just wanted to fine tune some of the areas in which I thought he was lacking, then throw in some scenarios I thought he might be confronted with at the level of training he will be faced with in the UK.”
Perelini was a former colleague of Charlie Hodgson, the former England fly-half who is Saracens’ new head of recruitment and talent identification.
Hodgson has enlisted the help of his former Sale Sharks teammate to spot and recommend young players from the Middle East and beyond.
A variety of young prospects have already passed through the Apollo Perelini Skills Academy at Repton School in Dubai.
Jordan Onojaife, who first took up rugby when his school age-group side at Jumeirah College were short of players, has played for the Northampton Saints first XV.
His younger brother Devante is also on the books of the Midlands club having joined last season.
Much is also being expected of Perelini’s own son, Noah, who left earlier this month to take up a scholarship at a leading rugby school in New Zealand.
Perelini believes Arthur has the skills to excel in similar company.
“Charlie asked if I had any young lads in mind, and I said, ‘Yes, I have’,” Perelini said. “This is a great opportunity for Rory and I fully expect him to take it with both hands. He is a very good talent and I know he will do well.”
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Updated: July 5, 2016 04:00 AM