Perelini Rugby Academy opens in Dubai

Matt Jones 13/04/2015
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Solid foundation: Get the skill in place and the rest will follow.

If you’re an aspiring young rugby player in the UAE there’s not many better coaches to learn from than former dual code international star Apollo Perelini.

– Abu Dhabi Saracens take top honours at UAE Rugby Awards 2015
– VIDEO: Joe Roff and Brett Gosper celebrate development of rugby in UAE
– Dubai Hurricanes’ Ferry to deliver match ball at World Cup game

Perelini burst onto the global stage in the 1991 Rugby World Cup as part of a talented and powerful Western Samoa side that captivated the rugby fraternity.

Perelini went on to transcend rugby, appearing at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup, thereafter enjoying a successful career in rugby league with St Helens of Super League, ending his playing days with a stint back in union at Sale Sharks.

So, where better place to go to enhance your skills than becoming part of the Apollo Perelini Rugby Skills Academy, which started again on Saturday.

The academy programme will run over the next 10 weeks, carrying the motto of ‘good coaching is all about the detail’.

The main point of this, according to Perelini, is that his academy focuses on players and their individual skills, which will enhance them as a player and also help them contribute more to their team.

The academy is ideal for rugby-mad youngsters aged five to 18 and is expanding this term, putting on a new clinic at Dubai College.

Sessions will also be held regularly at Repton School, as well as once a week at Dubai Sports City.

“All skills taught encourage the involvement of thought, interpretation and movement, challenging the child to improve their motor skills through active movement,”said Perelini.

“My philosophy is that players should be exposed to a variety of skills during these early formative years.

Apollo Perelini has played at both codes of rugby for Western Samoa.

“By doing so, the player will broaden his or her vocabulary of movement that can be used later to refine the more specific rugby skill taught in training.

“All sessions are aimed at developing the player individually. Whatever may be said of fitness training and the psychological aspects such as motivation, dedication etc, the skills of the game are of the utmost importance.”

Individual sessions for the new term cost Dh200 or you can choose to pay Dh1,500 up front for one session per week over the course of the programme.

Perelini added: “The main point of difference between us and a club or school is the players get to focus on their individual rugby skills at the academy.

“Whereas club rugby is more team focused, we feel that we can up-skill a player at any level who can then contribute to their team as a better player. This term is exciting as we are opening up a new site for the academy based out of Dubai College.

“Our biggest number of academy players from the ages of 11-18 from a single school has come from Dubai College over the past five years, so it is only right that we look to have an academy based at the school servicing all players based around the Lakes, Hills, Greens, JLT, Marina and Jumeirah areas.”

The history of the academy was originally aimed at players aged 11-18, to provide the young players of Dubai with the professional and technical coaching that they would probably only previously have received in their home countries.

“My background in skills coaching, development and training professionally and internationally in both rugby league and union formed the basis of starting up such an academy,” said Perelini.

“We create pathways for players looking to head back to their home countries whether it is for rugby clubs, schools or universities.”

What:  Apollo Perelini Rugby Skills Academy
Where: Dubai College and Repton School and Dubai Sports City, Dubai
When: Sundays (Dubai College 11-18yrs, 17:30-19:00); Mondays (Repton School and Sports City 5-10yrs, 17:30-19:00); Tuesdays (Repton School 13-18yrs, 17:45- 19:15); Wednesdays (Repton School 5-12yrs, 17:30-19:00)
Contact: 050 551 0727 or email [email protected]

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Legends celebrate rugby in UAE

Scott 12/04/2015
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VIPs from the world of rugby – including World Cup winners Joe Roff and Steve Thompson and World Rugby chief Brett Gosper – celebrate the development of the sport in the Emirates at the UAE Annual Rugby Awards 2015.

The gala awards night, organised by Sport360 in partnership with the UAE Rugby Federation, was held recently at The Address Montgomerie Dubai.







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Sarries take top honours at UAE Awards

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The winners on stage at the Montgomerie in Dubai.

Abu Dhabi Saracens were the big winners as the great and good of the local game were recognised at the 2014-2015 UAE Rugby Annual Awards.

– Hurricanes' Leon Ferry to deliver match ball at Rugby WC game

– VIDEO: Qais Al Dhalai enjoys unforgettable night at Rugby Awards

– VIDEO: Steve Thompson on rise of UAE Rugby 

More than 300 people were present at The Montgomerie, Dubai on Thursday to see the achievements of people from 16 

updated categories celebrated in the second running of the event.

The 2015 edition of the Rugby Awards – backed by Daman Active Life, HSBC, National Ambulance and Emirates Airline – ensured the work of the players, officials, sponsors and volunteers that have boosted the sport in the UAE were acknowledged.

A trio of globally-renowned names saw the capital outfit sweep the boards, including Australia’s 1999 World Cup winner Joe Roff, 2003 champion Steve Thompson of England and World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper.

More than 22,000 public votes were registered for the 121 nominees, the winners being selected in a process that also 
included the views of an expert judging panel.

West Asia Cup trophy winners Sarries came away with the night’s two premier prizes – Ali Thompson being named Coach of the Season and captain Jaen Botes taking home the much-coveted Player of the Season gong.

“This is the icing on the cake,” Botes said. “All credit to the guys for making this possible.

“This is a confidence booster, but it is thanks to the players who were behind me and the club that has made me their leader. It is one of the highlights of my rugby career.”

South African No8 Botes was a driving force behind his club’s push, putting in a succession of dominant displays as Sarries finished second in the Gulf Top Six. Visa issues then prevented him playing in last month’s epic West Asia Cup showpiece, though his absence from the 26-20 win at Doha did not stop him being selected as leading player.

Player/coach Thompson was unable to attend Thursday’s event to collect his prize in person. The UAE stalwart has enjoyed a stellar first season in charge of Sarries and Botes was quick to pay credit.

He said: “He has built a team from nothing at Saracens. He is a great coach and player, who is someone everyone looks up to.

“Trying to fill Ali’s boots at No8 was a big challenge. I have learned a lot from him and so has the club.”

The night began in a sombre mood when the family of deceased Arabian Knights founder and chairman Neil Palmer came to the stage as the UAE Rugby Federation renamed the Ultimate Recognition Award in his honour.

The 45-year-old passed away at his home in February, sending the local fraternity into shock. Son Maximilian and wife Louise heard about how the Neil Palmer Award will recognise those who have invested time, energy and passion and made a significant contribution to growing the UAE game.

The family of deceased Arabian Knights chairman Neil Palmer receives tributes.

The awards themselves represented the gamut of UAE rugby. From the increasing engagement with Emirati players, to the fantastic efforts from volunteers and the bright talent of youth players.

Versatile Al Ain Amblers and UAE back Hareb Al Azri claimed the Emirati Player of the Season title, an achievement he hoped would spur him on to even greater success with the national team.

He said: “Out of all the Emiratis, I feel it was a tight draw.

“We have many good Emiratis in the seniors. Hopefully, it will be motivation for the future.”

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