x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Ibiza 10s proves team is closer to attaining goal

Chester Williams eyes coaching role in Dubai after a runners-up finish for UAE's Goal Attained side proves there is talent here. Paul Radley reports.

Chester Williams says he would love to coach in Dubai to help point the way forward.
Chester Williams says he would love to coach in Dubai to help point the way forward.

Chester Williams hopes to return to Dubai later this year to coach, after a successful opening engagement in charge of a scratch side from the city last weekend.

The former South Africa World Cup winner oversaw Goal Attained's advance to the final of the Ibiza 10s event in Spain on Saturday.

To finish runners-up was a notable achievement for a squad of part-timer players from the UAE, given the quality of opposition in Ibiza. They even held a half-time lead against Ramblin Jesters a touring invitational side including the likes of Sonny Parker, who has played 31 Test matches for Wales before subsiding in the second half.

Williams, who only met up with his side for the first time upon arrival in Ibiza, believes many of the players under his charge are good enough to play the game professionally. More pertinently, he says the future of UAE rugby should be bright, given the talent he has seen and he would be keen to play a role in developing it.

The former Springbok winger could rejoin the Goal Attained side in Dubai ahead of the start of the annual month-long sevens series starting in November.

"I would love to come over [to Dubai to coach] and am available to, it all depends on how negotiations go from here," said Williams, who is currently coaching in Romania.

"I must admit, there were people in the squad who I could work with and help becoming full-time professionals in the future.

"Even in Dubai, I think they would do well at international level, provided they received the right coaching and preparation there."

The side representing Goal Attained in Spain was made up of the leading club players in the UAE, including Jeremy Manning, Taif Al Delamie and Chris Gregory. As such, it is unlikely they will play together again when the side is reassembled for the International Invitational tournament at the Dubai Sevens at the end of the year, as the event runs concurrently with the Gulf League matches.

However, the organisers of the team are buoyed by their experience in Ibiza and hope it represents the start of an increased involvement within UAE rugby.

"It was a big compliment to us when a coach from one of the other teams came up and said he didn't realise rugby was professional in Dubai," said Bruce King, the manager of the Goal Attained side.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

 

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE