Colin Charvis plays it forward

Former Wales rugby union team player tasked with nurturing grade level talent in the UAE.

Colin Charvis, seen here training students during a coaching clinic at The Sevens in Dubai yesterday, would love to see a player from the region in action for a top professional club. Pawan Singh / The National
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DUBAI // Colin Charvis, the former Wales captain, conducted his first "coaching masterclass" for the inaugural inductees of the newly formed Dubai Rugby Academy at The Sevens yesterday.

The academy was conceived by the Dubai Hurricanes, with the intention of assisting the development of junior players in the city and to help bridge the gap between age group and men's rugby.

In his role as ambassador for the venture, Charvis, who won 94 caps in an 11-year career with Wales, will be conducting at least one coaching clinic per six-week term.

In the intervening weeks, he hopes to call on assistance of former colleagues from a playing career which also took in the British & Irish Lions to help school the young players of the emirate.

The 39 year old believes the ultimate marker of success for the scheme would be for a player raised in the region to earn a professional contract at a club in a leading rugby-playing nation.

"There are some very good coaches out here already, and if I can enhance that in any way that would be great," Charvis said.

"The best thing that could possibly happen would be if we saw a player from this region playing on television for a top professional club. If it doesn't happen, nothing ventured nothing gained, but if it did it would be a huge boost for rugby in the region."

Some players have already proved the transition can be made from the playing fields of the UAE to those of the game's recognised leading nations. Jonny Macdonald, who was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, played for Scotland in the World Sevens Series last year, while Stephan Venter, a former Dubai Hurricanes, is now part of the Western Province Under 20 side in South Africa.

"There is tremendous talent here, but there has been no vehicle to enhance their level of rugby," said Simon Lewis, the secretary of Dubai Hurricanes.

"This is about having another channel for children to help develop their game. Dubai is a transient society, and it is important that they have a passport to play rugby when they go elsewhere."

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