More than just wins at stake for UAE sevens squad

If there was a sense of trepidation enveloping the UAE sevens squad when they landed in China this morning, then it was perfectly understandable. Not only will the 12-strong party have to adjust their circadian rhythm to the four-hour time difference of the inaugural HSBC Asian Sevens Series in Shanghai that starts tomorrow, they will also play with the knowledge their performance in the event will go a long way to determining whether they will compete in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in December.

If there was a sense of trepidation enveloping the UAE sevens squad when they landed in China this morning, then it was perfectly understandable.

Not only will the 12-strong party have to adjust their circadian rhythm to the four-hour time difference of the inaugural HSBC Asian Sevens Series in Shanghai that starts Saturday, they will also play with the knowledge their performance in the event will go a long way to determining whether they will compete in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens in December.

Their attempt to convince the International Rugby Union Board they merit a place in the HSBC World Series event will be hindered by the fact only two members of the squad - which features four Emiratis - have played sevens at the top level. More seriously, the Rugby Association are yet to appoint a sevens coach.

The fact the job description keeps changing is the main issue. Initially the association were seeking a full-time sevens coach before deciding they wanted a sevens consultant to oversee the Asian sevens campaign, giving them more time to appoint a performance director by December.

Now the board have refined their search to a high performance director who will look after both codes. With 15s matches against Hong Kong, Kenya and Brazil scheduled for Dubai in December, the need for a swift, judicious appointment is acute.

 

kaffleck@thenational.ae

Published: August 26, 2011 04:00 AM

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