Adel Al Hendi admits he has got something to prove after making the move across Abu Dhabi from Harlequins to Saracens.
Al Hendi won the Emirati Player of the Year honour at the inaugural UAE Rugby Player Awards in April 2014, but slipped into obscurity last season following a succession of injuries. He has only just turned 21 and is hoping to get his promising career back on track with a switch Al Ghazal.
“I think I’ve got something to prove,” said the winger, born to an Emirati father and Welsh mother. “I took a season off and have been in the shadows but I feel like I’m going to be a lot fitter and play some good rugby. That’s the aim, I’m really motivated and I want to put my name back out there.”
Al Hendi was a revelation during the 2014/15 season, regularly appearing on the scoresheet for Quins as they won the UAE Premiership and Dubai Sevens titles.
However, he was always playing catch-up last season as he tried to battle back from injury and with Quins boasting a strong squad under new head coach Mike McFarlane.
Al Hendi feels fit and healthy as he joined his new club for the start of their pre-season schedule this week under new coach Winston Cowie.
“Hopefully I’m free and clear now. The body feels good,” he added. “I struggled with injuries last year. I had a persistent Groin injury and wasn’t playing at all. I came back for Dubai Sevens with UAE where we made the semi-final but I injured my ankle. Now I’m looking forward to new season.”
Al Hendi spent six seasons at Quins and admitted it was a wrench to leave the Zayed Sports City-based club, but he is targeting a fresh start across the capital.
“It was a difficult decision to make, I accomplished a lot with Quins, I won the UAE Premiership and the Sevens, but now I have new targets and goals to achieve,” he said.
“I want to challenge myself. It will be interesting to see how I get on in a new environment, that’s what it’s about for me, a fresh start. Something to push myself.
“Winnie used to coach Quins 2nds so he knew me and wanted me to play. I decided why not. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me. New targets, new goals, new season and let’s see what I can do.”
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