UAE Rugby player profile: Niall O'Driscoll

Matt Jones 6/02/2018
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UAE Rugby player profile:

Niall O’Driscoll

Dubai Eagles

Height: 6’ / 182cm

Weight: 14st / 88.9kg

Position: Wing/centre

Age: 31

Birthplace: Cork, Ireland

Years in UAE: Five months

Honours: Munster Rugby U18s and sevens. Cayman Islands international 15s and 7s

Favourite childhood memory of rugby: I have been fortunate enough to have played in teams that won the Munster Junior Cup and Munster Senior Cup, however, on both occasions my dad presented the trophies and medals to the team as he was involved in the Munster branch at the time

Favourite player growing up: Simon Geoghegan, was the most exciting Irish back I can remember growing up. Pretty sure he was born in England, but I guess I’m willing to overlook that fact

Rugby team you support: Ireland/Munster

Best international at the moment and why: Hard to look past Beauden Barrett at the minute, probably the best 10 in the world right now, and the perfect replacement for Dan Carter

Rule you would change and why: I think that the new rules which have been introduced this season are very good for the game and they will favor attacking rugby and therefore make it more enjoyable to watch. I would, however, like to see the introduction of more free-kicks instead of penalties for certain infringements

Best game you ever saw: Munster winning Heineken Cup finals in Cardiff is up there with the most enjoyable games I’ve seen

Toughest opponent in UAE (team or player): I haven’t been here long, but Jebel Ali Dragons are a great team, and also seem like a decent bunch of lads

Funniest/most embarrassing moment in your career: I once injured myself by running into a scrum machine at training

Greatest achievement in any sport: Captaining Cayman Islands National 7s team in the North American Caribbean Rugby Championship

If you could be a professional in any other sport what it would be and why? Golf. Less chance of injuries and longer careers

Favourite meal: If I could just eat chocolate and natural confectionery jellies all day that would keep me pretty happy

Favourite place in the UAE: Just moved into the Marina, really like that area

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HSBC Rugby Festival Dubai a hit with 270 teams and 3,000 players featuring at The Sevens Stadium

Matt Jones 6/02/2018
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There was an extremely competitive yet friendly atmosphere at the HSBC Rugby Festival Dubai 2018.

Now in its ninth year, the tournament, held over the weekend of January 26-27, celebrates the excitement, diversity and enjoyment that rugby offers by bringing together over 270 teams from 20 clubs throughout the GCC region.

That’s around 3,000 of the finest young players performing across one spectacular weekend.

As in previous years, the festival was jointly organised on behalf of HSBC by Dubai Hurricanes and Dubai Exiles, with in excess of 600 games being played across the two days.

Exiles-Canes MY 2018

Aside from getting the opportunity to play at a the fantastic Sevens Stadium, a number of the teams got the chance to strut their stuff into front of former England and British & Irish Lions international Lewis Moody.

A member of England’s 2003 World Cup winning side, he was clearly impressed by the exceptional standard of rugby and the camaraderie among the young players.

“They never gave up, never backed down and fought to the end,” he said. Moody was just one among approximately 8,000 spectators who were enthralled by roughly 10,000 minutes of high-quality rugby.

Peter Clapp, joint event director from Canes, said: “Over the two-day festival there were 110 well-earned trophies presented, underlining the organising body’s commitment to doing everything possible to ensure all of the young players left with the festival etched in their minds forever, ready to return next year for another enjoyable weekend of rugby.

“Each and every one of the youngsters played hard and played fair. Easy to start, tricky to stop and impossible to forget.”

Exiles-Canes M&Y 2018 3

Role of honour

U6: Winners Tigers, runners-up Dubai Hurricanes

U7: Winners Dubai Exiles, runners-up Dubai Hurricanes

U8: Winners Tigers, runners-up Dubai Hurricanes

U9: Winners Dubai Exiles, runners-up Tigers

U10: Winners Dubai Hurricanes, runners-up Dubai Exiles

U11: Winners Abu Dhabi Harlequins, runners-up Arabian Knights

U12: Winners Tigers, runners-up Dubai Hurricanes

U13: Winners Dubai Hurricanes, runners-up Dubai Exiles

U14: Winners Dubai Exiles, runners-up Dubai Hurricanes

U16: Winners Abu Dhabi Harlequins, runners-up Dubai Exiles

U19: Winners Dubai Hurricanes, runners-up Dubai Hurricanes

U12 girls: Winners Arabian Knights, runners-up Dubai Exiles

U15 girls: Winners Arabian Knights, runners-up Dubai Exiles

U19 girls: Winners Dubai Exiles, runners-up Al Ain

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RAK Rugby hold inaugural golf tournament at Tower Links Golf Club

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Over 60 budding golfers took part in RAK Rugby’s inaugural golf tournament at Tower Links Golf Club last weekend.

Open to both organisations and individuals, the social team day – which involved an 18-hole tournament and BBQ – celebrated RAK Rugby’s recent success.

Rugby is a sport that has been played in Ras Al Khaimah since 1969 and continues to grow in popularity, with the club recently announcing it would be set up under royal decree with the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Humaid Al Qasimi.

RAK Rugby has plans to develop Emirati rugby locally in Ras Al Khaimah alongside the UAE Rugby Federation and is keen to also be a focal community club for all residence of RAK.

Chloe Hilton, Sales Manager at Pacific, said, “Promoting community and social initiatives across the beautiful emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is incredibly important to us.

“We were very proud to sponsor the first annual RAK Rugby Golf Tournament and wish RAK Rugby the best of luck for the rest of the season”.

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