Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 November 2019

Abu Dhabi Harlequins look to player-coach duo after Mike McFarlane's exit

McFarlane is leaving the club midway through the season and Harelquins chairman Andy Cole has paid tribute to impact he has had

Abu Dhabi Harlequins coach Mike McFarlane is set to step down from the role. Satish Kumar for The National
Abu Dhabi Harlequins coach Mike McFarlane is set to step down from the role. Satish Kumar for The National

Luke Stevenson and Craig Nutt will serve as player-coaches for Abu Dhabi Harlequins for the remainder of the West Asia rugby season, after the departure of Mike McFarlane.

McFarlane is set to leave the UAE due to personal reasons, and his resignation midway through the season arrived as a shock to a club who had grown used to great success under his coaching.

No club in the region has won more trophies than Harlequins in the time since McFarlane succeeded Jeremy Manning as the team's coach in 2015.

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In that time, Harlequins have won all the major titles on offer, including the West Asia and UAE Premierships, as well as multiple Dubai Rugby Sevens crowns.

Stevenson, the fly-half, and Nutt, the prop-forward, will take dual charge for the remainder of the campaign, with the club planning to appoint a permanent replacement in the summer.

“Mike leaves us part way through the 2018/19 season, but he leaves us in very good shape, topping the UAE Premiership by a significant points lead, and just behind Bahrain in the West Asia competition,” Andy Cole, the Harlequins chairman, said.

“I know the players are motivated to finish the season strong for Mike. He was a true ambassador for Abu Dhabi Harlequins at all levels and upheld the club’s ‘one club’ ethos.

“From mini and youth, to ladies and senior men, he supported all areas. He was recognised last season for going above and beyond his remit by being awarded the chairman’s special recognition award.

“Mike has certainly raised the bar for coaches across the region and will be truly missed on and off the pitch.”

Updated: January 18, 2019 04:01 PM

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