Perelini pleased with UAE Under-19 trial match

Matt Jones - Editor 23:03 08/10/2016
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The UAE will be playing in Division I of the tournament alongside hosts the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea from December 14-17.

Almost 60 budding youngsters took part in a 60-minute trial match at The Sevens in Dubai yesterday evening with UAE Rugby performance manager Perelini and coaches Zayn Gardner and Josh Ives casting their eye over the up and coming talent on display.

The red team beat the green team 35-19 in an entertaining encounter.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins youngster Oakeley Mellish caught the eye with his goal-kicking and link-up play from full-back, while Al Ain Amblers scrum-half Shaquille De Klerk showed lightning pace to finish off a lovely handling move with a try.

Lock Toby Hodges, hooker Hendre Venter and flanker Jessie Te Wharau also shone and Perelini admitted he and his coaching team have plenty to work with.

“The guys flowed quite nicely considering they don’t play together,” he said. “They came here and got together within an hour and played 60 minutes and it was good. I thought there were some good, classy players out there, some skill. I saw a lot to encourage me.”

The players have gathered from clubs and schools across the UAE and will hope to have done enough to convince Perelini of their talent.

The second and final trial – this time an 80-minute match – will be held at the same venue next Saturday.

Perelini will then likely choose a 24-man squad to take to Manila on December 12.

“There’s some nice clay to mould,” added Perelini.

“We’ve got plenty to work with, there’s a lot of good kids to work with which is going to be fun for us, and we’re going to make it fun for them.

“I’m not worried about their structures because that’s something we put in. All I look for is there application and attitude, where their rugby brain is and their work rate around the field, so I thought it was good for the coaches.”
Perelini described it as an honour to be invited to the tournament, but said he will be going there with only one aim.

“We’re going there for one thing and that’s to win it,” he said.

“We’ve never been in Division I so to be invited is quite an honour, and suggests they’re taking us seriously. We’re looking forward to participating and actually looking forward to going there and competing. The Philippines, Singapore and Korea will be very good competition.

“We’ve got some time to work with these talented individuals now. After next Saturday we’ll look to select the team a few days after and spend the next couple of months building into a team.”

Perelini’s men are scheduled to play Singapore on December 14 and will meet the winner of the Philippines v Korea if they manage to get through their semi-final.

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