Before Roelof Kotze signs off, UAE rugby side will go on the attack at Sri Lanka Sevens
DUBAI // Roelof Kotze has been able to name the strongest squad of his 22-month tenure in the Emirates, just as he gets ready to sign off from his role as UAE rugby performance manager.
The South African coach is due to head back to his homeland after the Sri Lanka Sevens this weekend to take up a new position as amateur rugby manager with the Pumas.
He will seldom have had a better chance of success at an international competition, having named a side rich in attacking talent for the final leg of this year’s Asian Sevens Series in Colombo.
Most notably, Kotze has been able to recall Imad Reyal, the outstanding Sri Lankan back, after a lengthy spell in the international wilderness.
Reyal, who was absent for the whole of last season as he pursued a professional contract in New Zealand, had a stunning debut for the UAE at the 2011 Dubai Rugby Sevens.
He marked himself out as a player of rare talent when he scored a thrilling solo try against Samoa in front of thousands on Pitch 1 in the main international competition. But unfortunately for the national team, he has only played sporadically since then.
Reyal’s selection may be a boon for the national team, but it is another blow for Jebel Ali Dragons, his club side.
The team had started the new campaign with lofty ambitions about regaining their status as the best side in West Asia, but they have made a faltering start.
They lost their first two matches, against Dubai Exiles then Abu Dhabi Harlequins. They will now be without six of their players – half of the UAE sevens squad, on tour to Sri Lanka – for their meeting with cross-city rivals Dubai Hurricanes on Friday.
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Published: October 5, 2015 04:00 AM