x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Rugby union: Abu Dhabi Harlequins look to set blueprint to build upon

UAE rugby clubs setting the example for their governing body to follow. Paul Radley comments.

Coach Chris Davies is moving from Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong, but the Harlequins look at this opportunity as a chance to redefine the organisation.
Coach Chris Davies is moving from Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong, but the Harlequins look at this opportunity as a chance to redefine the organisation.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins hope the imminent revamp of their coaching structure might become the model for other rugby institutions in the country to follow.

With Chris Davies, the incumbent director of rugby, heading for pastures new in Hong Kong, the way the club is run is set for a tweak. From now on, they will have a coach in charge of senior team affairs. In a separate role, they plan to recruit a full-time employee to oversee the club's thriving colts section, as well as the 60 or so volunteer coaches which service it, who is possibly also Arabic-speaking and a qualified coach educator.

Clearly, the capital's biggest club realise the over-arching remit of the director of rugby has been too much for one person to bear.

The UAE Rugby Federation would do well to take heed. Duncan Hall, their performance manager, is also in the process of clearing his desk, having resigned this week.

Sadly, the Australian has nothing tangible to show as evidence of success over his 18 months in the job. It is not his fault. His role was neither fish nor fowl and he has been spread so thinly he had no chance. While the overwhelming majority of rugby people here see the national team's defenestration from Asia's top flight as a sign of a failing regime, the powers that be themselves seem happy with life as there are more Emiratis playing the game now.

The fact there is such a disconnect in aspirations between the general rugby public and the administrators is an unhealthy state for the game to be in.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

 

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