x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Rugby union: Matthew Travers plans to move from Jumeirah College onward to Loughborough

Matthew Travers of Jumeirah College is hoping to land at Loughborough University in England to continue his studies and rugby career, writes Paul Radley.

Jumeirah College's Matthew Travers, centre, impressed during the Dubai College 10s tournament in the Under18 group.
Jumeirah College's Matthew Travers, centre, impressed during the Dubai College 10s tournament in the Under18 group.

As one Jumeirah College old boy treads steadily towards a career in the elite game, one of his former Dubai classmates is aiming to follow the same path.

Jordan Onojaife, 17, has been playing for England's age group sides for the past two years and has been offered terms at the academy of the Northampton Saints, the English Premiership giants.

He was given his initial break in the game after being spotted at a holiday rugby coaching camp, which he had attended with his schoolmate Matthew Travers.

While Travers has had to wait a little longer for recognition, his first forays into senior men's rugby with Dubai Hurricanes have suggested he has rare talent, too.

Having been the standout performer as JC reached the final of the Dubai College 10s last weekend, he helmed their win over Dubai English Speaking College on Thursday.

Travers is also on the bench for the Hurricanes men's side against the Dubai Exiles this afternoon.

"Everyone comments that he is a fantastic player, he is growing into it and fingers crossed he goes away and becomes the player he wants to be," said Richard Vivian, his coach at Jumeirah College.

Vivian is also one of his teammates at the Hurricanes.

"He has aspirations to have a go at it and who knows?," Vivian said. "We know he has the skills, sometimes you just need a lucky break."

The teenage fly-half hopes to attend one of Britain's leading sports institutions, Loughborough University, when his A levels are concluded this summer.

"He has skills money can't buy but he needed to learn the sort of game management skills a No 10 needs," said Vivian, who played professionally as a scum-half in the UK in the past.

"He is a grafter and he will take the disappointment of [not getting the same invitation as Onojaife] then go away, work harder and try to prove them wrong. He's always had that attitude and he has really matured."

Chris Burch, the Hurricanes coach who gave Travers his debut in the senior side having previously coached him in the UAE Under 19 squad, says the young fly-half is one to watch.

"He is a star of the future but unfortunately we are likely to lose him next year when he goes to university," Burch said.

"He is a very good player who controls the game well and if we can keep him in Dubai that would be really good for the club's future."

 

pradley@thenational.ae

 

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE