UAE give Roelof Kotze a perfect send-off

A 29-0 win over Singapore means the national team finished seventh in the Asian Sevens Series.

Roelof Kotze , UAE Performance Manager. Pawan Singh / The National
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Roelof Kotze signed off at the helm of UAE rugby with a trophy at the Colombo Sevens and a mission accomplished.

The 29-0 win over Singapore in the final of the third-tier competition meant the national team finished seventh in the Asian Sevens Series.

Their target before the campaign was to finish in the top eight, to attain core-team status for next season.

Imad Reyal was in prolific form over the weekend, as the UAE followed up opening day losses over Chinese Taipei and Japan with wins over Philippines and Singapore yesterday.

It rounded off a three-tournament series which has brought more success than ever before for the representative side.

The UAE won the bowl in China and Sri Lanka, and reached the plate final in Thailand, meaning Kotze will be able to report a marked progression when he leaves Dubai on Thursday.

“We wanted to finish top eight, so this is mission accomplished,” said Kotze, who is returning to his native South Africa to take up a job with the Pumas.

“When I got here we had an all-Emirati sevens side. Those players from that team have grown and are making progress now.

“The expatriates who have come back in [at the start of this season] have gone for it all guns blazing. They haven’t come in just for a good time.

“They have come in to win and be competitive, and to take their place on the international stage. That is where we are now.

The national team players said before departing for Sri Lanka that they wanted to produce a performance to send Kotze off on a high.

“The boys are very proud of themselves as they should be,” Kotze said.

“They have worked very hard over the last few months. You only get results in life for the things you work hard for. These players have certainly done that.”

pradley@thenational.ae​