Abu Dhabi Harlequins youngsters Adel Al Hendi and McMillan Chiwawa say they are hoping to learn from their American adventure as they prepare to feature at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas this weekend.
The event, the fifth leg of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series following December’s opener in Dubai, is being staged in the desert, with the duo keen to get everything they can from the experience.
Former Quins player-coach Jeremy Manning played for the Selects team they will be playing for and put a good word in for Chiwawa, 21, and 20-year-old Al Hendi.
“I’m very excited as it’s a learning experience and I’m humbled I’m getting the chance to travel and play at this level,” said Chiwawa, who has been plagued by injury this season and has been playing mainly for Quins’ second team after being a prominent member of the first team squad last year.
“We will be playing for a team called the Selects. Jeremy Manning played for them last year, they are in the elite division alongside Germany and USA Falcons. I’m excited to be playing with top players.”
Injured Quins and UAE sevens winger Chris Marshall is also on the trip, although he will assisting with the coaching as he is sidelined.
Al Hendi, the Emirati Player of the Year at the UAE Rugby Player Awards in April 2014, is hoping to use the trip to kick-start his season as he has been out of favour at Quins.
“I’ve been looking forward to seeing how I get on in a new environment other than the Asian series,” said Al Hendi, who featured prominently for both the senior and Under-20 UAE sevens sides towards the end of 2015.
“It’s a great opportunity for me and Mac. The coaches there are from the American rugby football union (USA Rugby), and we’ve all seen how far America have come on the World Rugby circuit, so it’s a chance to see things from different perspectives, hopefully without changing my game too much.”
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