DUBAI // Dubai Exiles have signalled their intentions to rejoin the elite of Middle East rugby by announcing the appointment of a new director of rugby.
Jacques Benade, who represented Natal Sharks and captained South Africa A during his playing days, will officially take charge on July 1.
He takes over the running of the club’s rugby section from Jan Venter, the popular coach who has opted to move into an administrative position instead.
“I am delighted to secure Jacques’ services,” Mike Wolff, the chairman of Dubai Exiles, said on Tuesday.
“Jacques has a proven pedigree playing and coaching at a consistently high level.
“He is known to some of our Irish players who speak highly of him and his approach to the coaching and mentoring of players at all levels.”
After a notable playing career in his native South Africa, as well as one with Treviso in Italy, Benade moved to Northern Ireland to start his coaching career.
A qualified teacher, he was the director of rugby at Malone and Ballymena, two prominent Ulster club sides, during his time there.
In his new role he will be tasked with overseeing the Exiles’ thriving junior section, as well as the attempt to restore the senior men’s side to a position among the region’s elite.
Last season, the Exiles, the city’s oldest club, missed out on qualification for the elite, cross-border Gulf Top Six for the second succssive season.
“As a club we are keen to both continue our steady revival within the mens game to achieve the goals we have set for that part of the club,” Wolff said.
“It is important for us to offer our mini and youth coaches access to someone with immense technical knowledge and experience within the younger sections of the game.
“Next year is our 50th anniversary and with the construction of our own large club facility at The Sevens, allied to Jacques’ appointment, it’s going to be an important year for the club”.
Venter, the outgoing coach, believes his replacement is well credentialled to make the Exiles challengers again.
“I committed to three years coaching the first team,” Venter said. “This has now come to an end and we need a coach to take our club to the next level.”
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