Of the 12-strong squad selected for the Johor Sevens by Apollo Perelini, 10 are from the Garden City club.
The UAE face an uphill task in Johor on the country’s south coast, with Perelini’s men facing Thailand, Japan and the Philippines in Group B on Saturday.
They struggled in the ARSS 12 months ago when Roelof Kotze’s team finished eighth of eight teams across the tournament’s two legs, following five straight defeats in the second leg in Hong Kong. Hopes are high, however, in the camp that the Al Ain chemistry will yield success.
“Ten of the boys are from Al Ain so that should set us up well as we all know each other, and we’re looking forward to it,” said Emirates Aviation University student Tomasi Tirikula, 19.
“We’re excited because we have a really good team. We definitely want to win. We have more chemistry because it’s basically an Al Ain Amblers team.”
His optimism was backed up by clubmate Jerry Kilicanasau.
“Lots of the boys know each other,” said the 18-year-old vice captain, who hopes the UAE can put the disappointment of 2015 behind them.
“The only way is up after disappointment of last year. I hope for better this year and taking the UAE back up, the target is the top six.”
The team, skippered by Devante Steele, who gained senior UAE sevens honours earlier this year, began training last month and leave for Malaysia in the early hours of Thursday morning.
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