x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Rugby union: Chris Davies moves from Abu Dhabi Harlequins for greener pastures

Citing the offer as an incredible opportunity, Chris Davies is leaving Abu Dhabi Harlequins to coach the DeA Tigers of Hong Kong.

Chris Davies will move from Abu Dhabi Harlequins to Hong Kong to take over DeA Tigers.
Chris Davies will move from Abu Dhabi Harlequins to Hong Kong to take over DeA Tigers.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins are assessing candidates for a new director of rugby after Chris Davies resigned in order to take up a new coaching position in Hong Kong.

The Welshman has been recruited by the Hong Kong rugby union to become the club coaching officer of DeA Tigers, one of the teams in their domestic league.

Davies, who hopes to assist with the handover to his successor before he departs for his new role in August, said the chance to work within one of Asian rugby's most progressive unions was too big a lure to dismiss.

"It is a very exciting opportunity to further my development but it was still a hard call to make," Davies said. "A lot of hard work has gone in to the past two years, with a lot of help from a lot of good people. I'm leaving on good terms."

Davies enjoyed a successful two-season stint at the capital's most established club, after taking the reins from Alistair Thompson.

"Everything is in place" for the further the development of Quins, he said, "and I will be doing my best over the coming weeks to help ensure the transition is as smooth as possible."

In 2011/12 Quins won the Gulf Top Six and the UAE Cup, before retaining their Top Six title this term. There is still work for his successor to do, however, in terms of re-establishing the club as the leading force within UAE rugby.

They were leapfrogged as the country's top club last season when Jebel Ali Dragons beat them in three major finals over the course of the campaign.

The departure of Davies is likely to prompt a change in the way the structure of the club works, with a move to separate the role of first-team coach from the extended coaching apparatus governing the rest of the club.

Ratifying the new structure, as well as potential replacements for Davies, will be the main items for discussion when the club's committee meet at the start of next week.

"We feel we need to increase the support [to the senior coach] to get to where we want to get to," said Andy Cole, the Harlequins chairman. "The role Chris has had has been so diverse because he has been covering every aspect of club rugby. With such a large mini and youth section I think there is enough for two roles here."

Davies's departure is the latest move in a summer of upheaval in the domestic game, with three leading clubs as well as the national team experiencing changes at the helm.

The UAE Rugby Federation are looking for a replacement for Duncan Hall as performance manager after the former Australia player resigned this week.

At club level, Jebel Ali Dragons and Dubai Hurricanes have both installed new coaches after the roles were vacated by Shane Thornton and Chris Burch respectively at the end of last season.

Harlequins already have a variety of experienced coaches associated with the club. Ed Lewsey, their scrum-half, is the director of rugby at British School Al Khubairat.

His colleague, Thompson, also has impressive coaching credentials.

Jeremy Manning, the former professional player turned personal fitness instructor who plays fly-half for Quins, has also emerged as a popular choice to take over among his club colleagues.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

 

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE