x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Whole new ball game for rising rugby star James Capon

The latest sporting talent from the prolific production line at Dubai College is not affiliated with a gulf club side and excels in football and swimming.

Dubai College's James Capon takes a breather during the match against British School al Khubairat at Zayed Sports City on Friday.
Dubai College's James Capon takes a breather during the match against British School al Khubairat at Zayed Sports City on Friday.

DUBAI // The prolific production line of sporting talent at Dubai College shows little sign of slowing, as the country's leading rugby school clinched three more UAE Schools League titles over the past week.

The chasing pack, led by the British School al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi (BSAK), are definitely closing the gap. However, the bad news for their rivals is that one of the leading lights of the senior Dubai College (DC) side will be back again next year.

James Capon, the DC full-back, had already been turning heads before his dazzling break set up victory for his side in the UAE Schools Under 18s final at Zayed Sports City in the capital on Friday. He converted his own decisive try in the 20-17 win over BSAK, as DC just about clung on to maintain their unbeaten record for the season.

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"It was a great moment knowing that we had won against such a good side," Capon, who is in Year 12, said. "It is brilliant to have a really good team like BSAK pushing us. The fact the other teams are getting better and putting more pressure on us makes it more fun."

Despite the general consensus of opinion suggesting he has a bright future in the game, he does not even have an affiliation with a club side yet, which is probably because his broad range of sporting exploits at school allow little time for much else. In addition to excelling on the rugby field, he plays centre midfield for the school's first XI football team, while last night he was competing in a swimming gala, "just to help out," he said.

"He is just an exceptional athlete," Andy Jones, the director of sport at DC, said.

"He came through as a footballer but he has really taken to rugby, and is a very, very exciting prospect, mainly because of how quick his feet are.

"He is not massively bulky, but if you were to do a test in terms of power to weight ratio, I think he would be up there with anybody.

"He packs a punch and really fights above his weight, and there is a lot of bravery in the way he plays the game, too.

"We played him at full-back and in terms of his attacking sense going forward he is second to none."

Jones knows a thing or two about talented young rugby players.

After the Under 18s final finished on Friday, one of his former charges, Cyrus Homayoun, a DC old boy, made his international debut for the UAE against Kazakhstan on the neighbouring field.

Capon has similar pedigree as an enterprising attacker from wing or full-back. Perhaps not surprisingly, given his attacking approach to the game, his two sporting idols are both showmen: England's former rugby union full-back or winger Jason Robinson and the New Zealand rugby league player Benji Marshall.

The UAE hierarchy would do well to monitor Capon's progress - if they can persuade him to stay off the football field for long enough, that is.

"It depends what mood I'm in on which I prefer, and I could not really separate them," he said.

"Just lately maybe rugby has been a little ahead of football. The season's do overlap but I have never really thought about fitting them both in. I love both, so I guess I just squeeze them both in."

Jones added: "We have a very open policy in that if he excels in other sports we hope he pursues them too. If football has an equal priority for him, we will give him that opportunity, too."

 

pradley@thenational.ae