UAE rugby: Dubai Hurricanes raising funds for treatment of player Dave Matasio’s wife
DUBAI // While the country’s leading players bid to restore the UAE to the top of the Asian game this week, the wider rugby community back at home is working towards a greater goal of its own.
Next Saturday the national team hope to clinch their Asia Rugby Championship Division 1 success when they play their third group match against Philippines in Ipoh, Malaysia.
On the same day, back in the UAE, players and supporters of Dubai Hurricanes will be undertaking a 100-kilometre run to raise funds for the former UAE player Dave Matasio.
Matasio, a flanker from Kenya, played for the UAE in the Dubai Rugby Sevens, as well as at XVs level. In the domestic arena, he currently represents Dubai Hurricanes and was previously with Dubai Wasps.
His wife, Doreen, is suffering from colon cancer, and his rugby club hope to raise Dh80,000 to assist with the cost of her chemotherapy treatment.
Starting at 8am along Dubai’s Kite Beach running track, teams of four will make sponsored relay runs between the 2km and 4km markers as many times as they can, with the total combined to reach a minimum of 100km.
Representatives of other domestic clubs, as far apart — in geography as well as league standing — as Jebel Ali Dragons, RAK Rocks and Al Ain Amblers, have also signalled their intention to take part.
“This is just one of things we are doing to try to help,” said Mike Palmer, the manager of the Hurricanes men’s section.
“So far we have 17 teams of four or five, and more are welcome to take part. The rugby community have really come together on this, which is great to see.
“The UAE team over in Malaysia are putting their hands in their pockets, too, and plan to make a donation when they get back on May 21. Ben Bolger [the UAE captain] and the players have all been really supportive.”
The Hurricanes are well represented at national team level. As a result, leading players such as Dave Knight, the first XV captain, and his predecessor Daniel Perry will be absent when the run gets under way.
They are playing for the UAE in the Asian Rugby Championship in Malaysia, but Knight said their thoughts will be with their club mates back at home.
“We may be away for it, but as a squad we can donate, as Dave Matasio is an ex-UAE player as well, and there are a number of Dubai Hurricanes players in the squad,” Knight said.
“From the wider rugby community, it will at least be nice to give something, even if we can’t be there in person.”
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