WATCH: Middle East Touch junior competition

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

The Abu Dhabi Touch event featured 350 kids in the Under-9s and Under-11s age groups. The event was a roaring success with plans in place to introduce Middle East Touch to over 50 schools across the region encouraging kids to get active and healthy.

The competition was part of a bigger series of competitions similar to HSBC Sevens, where 35 teams play 152 fixtures across three junior school competition in October and November. All teams are then invited to compete in the UAE National Schools Championship in February.

For more videos like this, visit the Abu Dhabi Sports Council YouTube page.










Most popular

Dragons travel to Sarries

Matt Jones 12/10/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Capital clash: Dragons’ Matt Henry.

Jebel Ali Dragons head to the “graveyard” on Thursday night knowing that all their hard work in a resounding 51-20 triumph against Dubai Hurricanes last week will be buried if they are beaten at Abu Dhabi Saracens.

Dragons were impressive as they won for the first time under Henry Paul’s stewardship a week ago – but everyone at the club is aware it will count for little if they don’t build on that momentum.

“As a first team we feel that we are still a long way from fulfilling our true potential,” said director of rugby Paul Hart. “Therefore we go to Sarrries hoping to improve further still in terms of performance levels.

“In terms of the results we know to expect a very tough evening as Sarries have a very strong forward pack and physical back line.”

Dragons’ UAE international full-back was happy with last week’s win but said he and his team-mates have already consigned it to memory.

“We have spoken about it at training that the past weekend’s result against the Hurricanes was good and we are happy with the result, however that is something of the past now and we’ll focus on (today’s) game,” said the South African, who feels compatriot and former Sarries star Gio Fourie can be an asset for Dragons.

“It is never easy to win at the graveyard in Abu Dhabi but if we stuck to our structure and game plan then hopefully we can get the result.

“It will be a full 80 minutes of grinding it out. I have to say that we will definitely benefit with one of their key players Gio that joined us this season.

“He has been performing excellently in all his games and contributed a lot so far.  Saracens has a really good forward pack and we are hoping to match them up front.

“We have played one less game so far, so to get some points out of the game will be crucial.”

Fellow UAE man Matt Hutchings believes things are finally starting to come together for Sarries. They had an opening day win against Al Ain Amblers chalked off and were then well beaten by Doha.

They battled diligently in a 20-13 defeat to Abu Dhabi Harlequins last week and Hutchings claims Sarries, who could welcome back talisman Jaen Botes for the game, are building up some momentum.

“Obviously being three games in and only having the one losing bonus point to show for our efforts means we need to start picking up some wins,” said the Welshman.

“Last week was really only our second game together as a whole squad and we feel we put in a good shift even with the result not going our way. So again this week it’s about building on that performance and getting the win against a confident Dragons side.”

Most popular

Related Sections

Dubai born and bred Sole is a familiar face at Exiles

Matt Jones 11/10/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Michael Sole in action during pre-season against Harlequins.

The 23-year-old was born and raised in the UAE and returned to the Emirates this season after several years away learning the game in both the southern and northern hemisphere.

He attended high school in Australia and university in Wales but now he’s back and hoping to propel his new/old club to further greatness after claiming a fabulous West Asia Championship and UAE Premiership double last season.

“I’m kind of a new, old boy at Exiles but it feels good to be back,” admitted centre Sole, who returned to Dubai to work as a nutritionist.

Much has changed at his boyhood club since Sole has been away. As a youngster he recalls playing and training at the club’s old Al Awir ground [now Meydan Racecourse], while the senior side are now the team to beat after a return to prominence in 2015/16.

“There’s a bit of a difference in location to where I played when I was younger. I had a season with the first team a few years ago but unfortunately I injured my knee so I only played half a season. It’s great to be back permanently now with a long season ahead,” he said.

Sole studied at The Southport School and All Saints on Australia’s Gold Coast before heading to Wales to study sports biomedicine and nutrition at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

He added: “This is home for me though. I was born here, my family are still here, mum, dad and my sister, everyone’s here, so it’s nice to be back.

“A lot of people born here will go off for school or uni, but they’ll come back here because their families are still here. During holidays I would always come back here, it was strange. It’s a bit different of course.

“People think it’s all glamorous, and it is, but for me it was always just going back home. It’s just the weather’s a bit better, and it’s nicer than the UK at Christmas time when it’s warm and not cold.”

Sole has featured prominently in the first weeks of the new rugby season. He was hugely impressive in the 23-23 draw with Abu Dhabi Harlequins in the curtain-raising Asia Rugby Western Clubs Champions League tournament.

He was injured in defeat when the two UAE heavyweights clashed again in the second round of the West Asia Premiership a few weeks ago, but he’s excited to be part of a new era at Exiles.

“There’s very much a change in environment surrounding the club,” admitted Sole, who’s fulfilling a family legacy by playing for Exiles this season. Dad Tony also played for the club during the 1990s and still plays for the vets team.

“There’s a lot more professionalism around the club,” he added. “I know we had a good year last year but everyone’s fired up to go better this year and get the Dubai Sevens title too. We want to win that and defend the other two. I’m really looking forward to the Sevens this season.

“Starting the season with Exiles definitely feels like coming home. It’s nice to have dad down here too, it brings back a few memories, just in a different location. The club is going strong again and I think it will be an important year for the club.

“There’s a good mood at the club, it’s competitive. Players are fighting for positions week in week out. People are eager for a starting spot and II think we will gel together

“It’s nice to play under Jacques [Benade, head coach], someone who brings a lot of structure. I’ve done a few good things early in the season but there’s still a lot I’ve got to work on.”

Most popular

Related Sections