Wasps coach Dai Young predicts a bright future for Georgia international Zurabi Zhvania

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Dai Young expects Georgian prop Zurabi Zhvania to be a big hit in the Premiership

Wasps Rugby director Dai Young has predicted a bright future for Georgia international Zurabi Zhvania in the Premiership.

Prop Zhvania has agreed a deal to join Wasps ahead of the new season, which starts next month.

The 26-year-old has spent the last six years with French Top 14 club Stade Francais, and won 34 caps for Georgia.

Zhvania joins a crop of new arrivals at Wasps for next term, following players like Brad Shields, Lima Sopoaga and Kieran Brookes to the Ricoh Arena.

Young said: “We have been tracking ‘Zura’ for a couple of seasons and are really pleased to finally get him on board.

“He is an experienced player, despite still being in his mid-20s, who I expect to bring plenty to our front row.

“The timing of this is also good, since both Matt Mullan and Simon McIntyre are currently recuperating from long-term injuries.

“We look forward to his arrival in Coventry and to working with him in the months ahead.”

Zhvania added: “I have big ambitions in the game, and I believe I can achieve these with Wasps both at Premiership and European level.

“They play a very attractive style of Rugby which I believe suits my game and will bring out the best in me.”

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UAE Rugby Federation’s Impact Beyond project gains momentum as bond with Ministry of Education develops

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The growth of rugby in the UAE among local children continues following the delivery of 800 balls to various schools in the country.

The UAE Rugby Federation’s Impact Beyond project gains more momentum as the federation and the Ministry of Education (MoE) strengthen their partnership, which will allow the sport to reach more school-aged Emirati children.

This bond has been strengthened through the collaboration for the federation’s Get Into Rugby initiative and highly successful Player Pathway Programme (PPP), supported by HSBC, which has been introduced into the school sports curriculum for Cycles 4 through 11.

Previously, the GIR programme was delivered to girls and boys in Cycles 9 through 11 with the 2017/2018 season seeing an impressive 17,000 girls and 13,000 boys introduced to the game in Emirati schools across the UAE.

“We are extremely pleased to have achieved this season’s performance goals as set by our board and the ministry” said Salman Hady, vice

chairman of the UAE RF and chairman of the development committee.

“It is incredibly rewarding for us to see the number of Emirati girls and boys participating in and enjoying our sport, and we are delighted to be able to take the game into five additional cycles.

“We extend our sincere gratitude to both the ministry and to HSBC whose support and commitment has made this possible.”

The federation recently presented the MoE with 800 rugby balls to be used in next season’s PPP. The handover of the balls was made at the MoE offices and was attended by Hady, UAE RF CEO Hamdan Suliman; rugby development manager Sami Smara, MoE director of health and physical fitness Aisha Al Siri, Ahmed Abdulrahman of the MoE’s schools sports department and Peter Moore, programme manager for physical and health education.

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Duane Vermeulen and Tom Curry feature in our stand-out players from South Africa v England series

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Brilliant goal-kicking by Owen Farrell and a superbly created Jonny May try gave England a 25-10 dead-rubber Test victory over South Africa on Saturday, which snapped a six-match losing run.

Here, we take a look at three of the stand-out players from the series.

FAF DE KLERK 

Minutes played: 223 (73, 74, 76)

The Sale man was one of the stand-out performers for the Boks, with his clever box kicking, razor-like passing, decision-making and ability to marshal his pack effectively around ruck time all key to helping the home side tick.

He made superb tackles on Henry Slade and Chris Robshaw and scored a try in a man-of-the-match performance in the first Test, but wasn’t afforded the same time and space to orchestrate proceedings in the win at Bloemfontein.

His powerful tackle on Nathan Hughes in Newlands – who is nearly a foot taller and 45kg heavier than him – brought the home crowd to their feet, but he struggled to get on the fronfoot against an in-form England attack.

A key conductor to Rassie Erasmus side and a monster of a man for just 5′ 6″.

DUANE VERMEULEN
Minutes played: 240 (80, 80, 80)

The former World Player of the Year nominee was in sctintillating form over the three matches, playing key roles in the wins at Ellis Park and Bloemfontein.

His experience and calmness helped the confidence of younger players in the first Test, forcing two penalties at ruck time, to put the Boks in firm control.

At Bloemfontein, he was imply immense, showing brute power and vision to spot the gap for try and he also completed nine tackles and was a general menace at the breakdown.

Even in the third Test defeat, his carrying was emphatic and he secured one brilliant turnover off Joe Launchbury. A true warrior of this improving Springboks pack.

TOM CURRY
Minutes played: 225 (65, 80, 80)

England’s stand out player of the series. Even in the two defeats, the Sale man stood up while all other Red Rose players wilted.

Barely 20-years-old, Curry showed signs of his supreme talents, getting over the ball and really growing into that number seven role – an area that has been a huge problem since England’s Six Nations demise.

He was a menace at the breakdown on Sunday, sealing a penalty that led to three points for Owen Farrell, as well as getting one clear-out on Vermeulen and providing the pass for Danny Cipriani’s chip through for Johnny May’s try.

Although England received little frontfoot ball in the defeats at Ellis Park and Bloemfontein, Curry still showcased his strong offloading, solid carrying and smoking footwork to try and force a way back for a gallant away side.

If Eddie Jones can leave South Africa with some positives then it is Curry’s emergence as he looks towards the autumn.

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