x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE name squad for Gulf Barbarians challenge

Tim Fletcher to captain side in absence of Alistair Thompson for match at The Sevens. Audio interview

The UAE national rugby team training with coach Duncan Hall.
The UAE national rugby team training with coach Duncan Hall.

UAE Rugby's 22 man squad that will compete in their second and final Asian Five Nations warm-up friendly against the Gulf Barbarians at The Sevens has been named.

The first friendly in the UAE's Asian Five Nations preparations was a bruising encounter against IRB 37th-ranked Tunisia last weekend, which saw an impressive effort from the UAE side to keep the Tunisian's score contained. At the final whistle UAE had conceded five penalties to lose to the hosts 15-7. UAE's No.10 Murray Strang was the only try-scorer of the match, a feat this newly formed unit intends to build on through this game.

"The squad is almost at full strength" said performance manager Duncan Hall. "With the Five Nations almost on us, our focus is to build the strongest team available for the opening game [against Hong Kong]. The key focus of our game against the Barbarians will be to develop our ability to cover positions across the team and we will be playing a few players that, for half a game, will play in another position."

"We also have a few squad members playing in the Barbarian's team to give them valuable game time".

These players are Jon Bester, Peter Sampson and Antoine Bertheuil.

"These warm-up matches have been integral to squad's mental and physical development. We have presented over 10 new caps to the 2012 National squad, and to provide these players with the opportunity to bring the best from their respective Clubs and unify as one team representing their country is exceptionally vital" added Qais Aldhalai, the UAe deputy secretary. "We are very pleased and encouraged by the camaraderie we have seen by this squad so far".

Most notable changes to the squad include an absent Alistair Thompson who is resting a knee injury so stepping up to captain the side is Tim Fletcher and Andy Russell pulling on the No.10 jersey.

SQUAD

1. Graham Murphy - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

2. Jonathan Greenwood - Sharjah Wanderers

3. Christopher Jones-Griffiths - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

4. Tristan Barnett - Dubai Hurricanes

5. Simon Osborne - Dubai Hurricanes

6. David Matasio - Dubai Wasps

7. Sam Cook - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

8. Greg Thompson - Dubai Hurricanes

9. Patrick Hegarty - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

10. Andy Russell - Jebel Ali Dragons

11. Steve Smith - Dubai Hurricanes

12. Jonathan O'Connor - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

13. Imad Reyal - Dubai Exiles

14. Mohammed Alsulaiman - Dubai Wasps

15. Tim Fletcher (C) - Jebel Ali Dragons

16. Charles Lilley - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

17. Dan Boatwright - Dubai Hurricanes

18. Brett Williams - Dubai Exiles

19. Murray Strang - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

20. John Fawls - Dubai Exiles

21. Joel Pikari - Abu Dhabi Harlequins

sports@thenational.ae