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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

RAK Rugby and Arabian Knights to honour former teammate Nick Young

Veterans from the two clubs were playing as a combined side, under the name of the RAK Knights of Old, when Young suffered a fatal injury at the Sharjah 10s on April 27

Representatives from RAK rugby watch a friendly game between Abu Dhabi clubs Harlequins and Saracens at AL Ghazal on May 25, 2018. Pawan Singh / The National
Representatives from RAK rugby watch a friendly game between Abu Dhabi clubs Harlequins and Saracens at AL Ghazal on May 25, 2018. Pawan Singh / The National

Two sets of rugby players will be reunited in competition on Friday for the first time since the death of Nick Young, as they play a match in honour of their former teammate.

RAK Rugby and Arabian Knights, who compete against each other in the UAE Conference, the third-tier of domestic competition, will play a memorial fixture at Sharjah Wanderers.

Veterans from the two clubs were playing as a combined side, under the name of the RAK Knights of Old, when Young suffered the fatal injury.

The incident happened after a collision during the vets event at the Sharjah 10s, the tournament which traditionally brings the curtain down on the West Asia rugby season, on April 27.

The 43 year old was buried in Australia earlier this month and leaves behind a wife and two young children.

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Read more on Nick Young:

Tributes paid as RAK rugby player dies from injury

In pictures: Abu Dhabi rugby clubs honour UAE player who died after injury

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Because of the time constraints of his job as a ship’s captain, Young’s appearances for RAK were only fleeting.

He represented the vets side at the Dubai Rugby Sevens at the end of 2017, then again as part of the combined side in Sharjah.

RAK and the Knights have had a close relationship for some time. The Knights were the first team to be invited to play when RAK opened their new sand pitch last season, which marked the start of a rapid development of the northern emirates club over the past two years.

“There has been quite a long history between the two clubs and there is a friendship between us,” Simon Williams, the RAK Rugby chairman, said.

“Because we both played together, both teams were affected [by Young’s death].

“We wanted to come together and honour Nick, and this will also serve as a kind of wake.

“It is a chance for everyone to play rugby together again, and have some fun.

“It is a chance for everyone to remember, but also to realise that this was a man who loved rugby. He was a huge rugby fan.

“It will be bizarre to play on the pitch where [the accident happened], but it is also a tribute to him. The love of the game continues, and we want to remember that as well.”

The match kicks off at 7.30pm.