x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lunjevich considers position

Mike Lunjevich is contemplating stepping down as head coach of the Arabian Gulf sevens side after his team went winless at their home World Cup Sevens.

DUBAI // Mike Lunjevich is contemplating stepping down as head coach of the Arabian Gulf sevens side after his team went winless at their home World Cup Sevens. The team that Lunjevich brought to the World Cup bore no comparison to the one he took over three and a half years ago. Back then, the "social players" from the Gulf, as their captain Stephen Cooper termed them, were no-hopers.

This time, a controversial refereeing decision was all that stood between them and a pool stage win over Italy, and they were one clean catch away from leading against New Zealand. Their campaign was prematurely ended in the Bowl quarter-finals, when they lost to Ireland, who defeated Australia the previous afternoon. When asked if he would still be in his role by the time the next Dubai Rugby Sevens comes round in late November, Lunjevich said: "That is undecided.

"I have to sit down with my family and decide. It is a big commitment. "I have dedicated three years to these guys. It is a volunteer position, which takes up a lot of time. "I am a partner in a law firm which takes up a lot of time too, so I have to sit down and reassess." As a part-time coach, Lunjevich was put in a strange position earlier this season when the Gulf employed a full-time coach, the former Scotland sevens player Charlie Keenan, to work under him.

Keenan is keen to extend his stay in the Gulf, and they have made a considerable advance under the dual-leadership of him and Lunjevich. Marcus Smith, the Gulf's leading try-scorer in the competition, said: "Letting people score against us on the hooter is just not good enough. It was a good tournament, but not good enough." pradley@thenational.ae