x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

'There is lot more to Dubai Wasps than Leota'

Hooker unavailable until November but the side remain not too concerned in their title push.

Trevor Leota is busy with commitments in Canada.
Trevor Leota is busy with commitments in Canada.

DUBAI // Domestic rugby union will be without one of its most recognisable personalities for the opening month of the campaign as Trevor Leota completes a short-term contract in Canada.

The former Samoa hooker has been helping with a youth development programme in Alberta, and he will return to play for the Dubai Wasps in November.

As such, the 37-year-old front-rower will miss the opening exchanges of the UAE Premiership campaign.

His absence will be noted at a club still establishing itself after two seasons of rapid development.

However, while Leota has been the high-profile figurehead of a team that was named after the English Premiership club he represented with distinction, they are not exclusively reliant on him anymore.

"Trevor obviously brings a lot of benefit to the club, but it is not just about him so much now, there is a lot more to the club," said Craig Gibson, the club chairman and first-team hooker.

While player numbers at evening training have been perfectly acceptable in the Wasps corner of Zabeel Park this summer, they might have been greater were it not for their own success.

Across the field nearest gate one of the park, the UAE national team have often trained simultaneously to the club.

As such, a variety of players have been training away from their club colleagues.

Wasps provide the main core of Emirati players for the UAE Shaheen development side, many of whom have been involved with the senior sevens team this summer.

Having finished fifth in their first season in the top flight, the club now hope to force their way in to the long-established core of four teams at the top of UAE rugby.

"Last season was very good for us," said Oliver Waite, the club captain who shared the first XV leadership duties with Jono Bester last year.

"We narrowly lost to a couple of the big teams, and we were able to put out two teams for the duration of the season, which not many other clubs did. We are very proud of that."

pradley@thenational.ae

 

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