x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

With two big events on same day, what is a UAE rugby fan to do?

The West Asia Final and Sharjah 10s will kick off on same day and Paul Radley says it is a crime to make UAE fans choose between them.

Rugby legend Carlos Spencer will be one of the high-profile players that will compete on a charity side during the Sharjah 10s on Friday but because the West Asia Final is the same day, the UAE rugby fanbase will be split. Shaun Botterill / Getty Images
Rugby legend Carlos Spencer will be one of the high-profile players that will compete on a charity side during the Sharjah 10s on Friday but because the West Asia Final is the same day, the UAE rugby fanbase will be split. Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Rugby fans in the UAE have a mouth-watering choice of action to see on Friday.

They can watch the very best the amateur game has to offer in this region when the Abu Dhabi Harlequins take on the Jebel Ali Dragons in the capital. Or they can go and see one of the most elegant talents the international game has produced, when Carlos Spencer – as well as a couple of his stellar buddies – make a guest appearance for a charity side in the Sharjah 10s.

But the great pity is, it will have to be one or the other. You cannot do both, unless you fancy the 170-kilometre trek between Sharjah and Zayed Sports City. And that would have to be travelling by some sort of wrinkle in the space-time continuum, given the West Asia play-off final between the region's best teams culminates at roughly the same time as the country's oldest 10s event.

The fixtures computer was not to know, back last summer, that the likes of Spencer and Conrad Jantjes would rock up for a game in Sharjah. It still seems a touch unlikely, even now that they all are here.

But that is beside the point. It is a crime to have scheduled the grand finale to the domestic season on the same day as one of the most important institutions of this country's rugby history has its club day.

Clubs like the Sharjah Wanderers need all the help they can get, not to be undermined by having the number of attendees cut because they are obligated to be somewhere else instead.

pradley@thenational.ae

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