Some of the leading prospects in regional rugby will get their chance to shine when the top school and club teams play in the Gulf Under 19s tournament at the Dubai Rugby Sevens at the weekend.
Dubai Rugby Sevens: Five local talents to watch in the Gulf Under 19s tournament
Jamie Mackinnon (Dubai College)
Dubai College have been off the winners’ podium for the past two years, a rare fallow spell for the competition’s most successful side. Fly-half McKinnon will pilot the 2017 side’s pursuit of top honours.
First chance to see him: Thursday, 5pm, Pitch 2, DC v Dubai Sharks
Mitch Kennedy (DESC)
Dubai English Speaking School won the title for the first time in 2016. They have plenty of firepower this year, too, including scrum-half Mitch Kennedy, who has attracted the attention of Sale Sharks, the UK Premiership club.
First chance to see him: Thursday, 4.40pm, Pitch 3, DESC v Gems World Academy
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Sam Relton (BSAK)
The vice-captain of UAE U19, and captain of the British School Al Khubairat side who are looking to go one better than last year, when they were runners up to DESC. The loose forward has trained with Saracens academy in the UK.
First chance to see him: Thursday, 4.40pm, Pitch 4, BSAK v Bahrain Colts
Jack Manson (Gems World Academy)
Little pedigree in the game. In fact, like the rest of his GWA teammates, he only took up rugby at the start of the school term. The converted football centre-back has taken to his new sport with great dexterity, though.
First chance to see him: Thursday, 4.40pm, Pitch 3, Gems World Academy v DESC
Alex Said (Jumeirah College Lions)
The speedy centre is the biggest try-scoring threat for Jumeirah College. This will be his third Dubai Rugby Sevens, having first broken into the side while still in Year 11. He will look to better the semi-final finish of two years ago.
First chance to see him: Thursday, 4.40pm, Pitch 4, Jumeirah College Lions v DESC 2