Lots of UAE rugby teams have been defying the heat to train during the scorching summer months, but you will have to go some way to beat Arabian Knights’ preparations for the new season.
The UAE Conference side had a month of ‘pre’ pre-season training prior to Ramadan, with many of the club’s male and female players being teachers who are away for the majority of the summer.
— Arabian Knights Men (@GetyourOrangeon) July 15, 2015
Even when the educators left, those left were still hard at work training on the beach ahead of the club’s first official pre-season session that took place at Dubai Sports City earlier this week.
Knights UAE international prop Tyson Byrne says the players have been putting in the extra work in order to be ready for the new campaign.
“The first official training was on Monday night, mainly ball handling drills with fitness built in to them. It’s been hard graft but the positivity from the group made you want to push harder,” said the 24-year-old Irishman.
The club has a new head coach this season, Ian Dawson stepping into the void left by John Taimana, who has moved upstairs into a role supporting the senior sides and liaising with the executive committee.
Dawson has been coaching the CNCF (Christina Noble Children’s Foundation) Legends for the last few years and led them to the International Veterans title at the 2014 Dubai Sevens and Byrne has been impressed by what he’s seen so far.
“All reports say that he is a good coach and players who have previously worked with him say they enjoyed working with him,” said Byrne.
“In the short time that he’s been at the helm of Knights he has impressed me. He knows what he wants and how to get there.”
Knights finished sixth in the Conference last season, qualifying for the post-Christmas Top 6. They were sixth there, giving them sixth place overall, and Byrne says the club want to better that this season.
“Our goal is to finish fourth this season,” said the front row.
“The management of the club think this is a realistic and an achievable target, while we also want to be the highest ranked first team in the conference.”
Knights open their Conference season against Heartbeat Tigers at Dubai Sports City on Friday, September 25.
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