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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 January 2019

Forwards coach Apollo Perelini determined to help UAE rise up the rugby ladder

Apollo Perelini, the UAE forwards coach, says a desire to help arrest the decline of representative rugby in this country prompted him to join the national team’s staff for their 2015 campaign.
Apollo Perelini, left, in action during the 2013 Dubai Rugby Sevens. Credit: Jake Badger / The National
Apollo Perelini, left, in action during the 2013 Dubai Rugby Sevens. Credit: Jake Badger / The National

DUBAI // Apollo Perelini, the UAE forwards coach, says a desire to help arrest the decline of representative rugby in this country prompted him to join the national team’s staff for their 2015 campaign.

Perelini ended a celebrated, 14-year association with rugby in the UK when he moved to Dubai to take up a coaching role at Repton School in 2008.

Despite having his wealth of wisdom on their doorstep, the Rugby Federation were unable to empower Perelini to officially help out until this year.

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In the intervening seven years, the representative side has changed from Arabian Gulf to the single-state UAE in 2010, and dropped down from the top tier of Asian rugby to the third.

Perelini has assisted Roelof Kotze, the performance manager, with preparations for next week’s Asian Rugby Championship Division 2 matches.

“I was approached, I made a few sacrifices to be involved, but I want to help with development and help get the country back up a few tiers,” Perelini said.

“We have lost a lot of places since the disbandment of the Arabian Gulf, and it is important we start working to bring up the UAE flag.

“It is not just for the top level national side, but also at the development level of the game and trying to help with the long-term development plan.”

In addition to Perelini, Kotze has enlisted the help of Steve Thompson, England’s World Cup-winning hooker in 2003 and fellow Dubai resident, at times in the build-up to the tour of Malaysia.

Kotze is grateful for the expertise they have been able to bring to bear on the squad of players assembled.

“We have a lot of ability, which is where guys like Steve and Apollo will help,” said Kotze, who will oversee his second Test when the UAE face Thailand on Sunday.

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Updated: May 6, 2015 04:00 AM

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