Dubai Exiles hope Jacques Benade will build on Jan Venter’s good work

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Tough task ahead: Jacques Benade.

Dubai Exiles chairman Mike Wolff has praised the impact outgoing head coach Jan Venter has had on the club in his three years in charge.

– UAE: Coach Kotze confident of sustainable Union future
– EXCLUSIVE – Mike Brown: Fearless full-back dreaming of ‘special’ RWC
– UAE: Ali Thompson resigns as Abu Dhabi Saracens head coach

Venter was replaced as director of rugby by fellow South African Jacques Benade earlier this week, the former Emerging Springboks captain to officially take the reins at Exiles on July 1.

Benade, who played as a fly-half for Natal Sharks and the Blue Bulls, as well as Treviso, will arrive in the UAE after a number of years coaching in Northern Ireland.

Venter will remain at the club as commercial director and Wolff hopes the new man can take on his compatriot’s mantle of returning Exiles to their glory days.

“Jan Venter has made a huge contribution to this club and is someone I rate very highly as a colleague and as a rugby person. He’s someone I call a friend,” said Wolff.

“We used to be a club that dominated UAE rugby, we were very successful. The planning wasn’t what it should have been and before Jan came along there was a yawning gap for about two or three years.

“There were eight players at his first training session three years ago but he has since attracted some very good talent to the club.

“He is a real rugby person who has introduced things like respect, punctuality, a dress code and got the club back to basics.

“We’re now a very young side with an average age of 23/24 and we’re a very exciting side. Jacques’ arrival is a serious indicator of where we want to go.

“Jan oversaw the revival of the men’s section and hopefully Jacques can carry that on.”

During his time in Northern Ireland, Benade was director of rugby at Dromore High School in County Down, spent three years in the same role at Ballymena RFC and enjoyed two stints with All Ireland League Division One club Malone, one of the province’s oldest and most prestigious clubs.

Wolff, chairman of Exiles, who are the Middle East’s oldest rugby club, said he always knew Venter would be leaving at the end of this season and had been making enquiries for months, which had included discussions with some Exiles players who played under

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Pan Emirate Schools Rugby Tournament kicks off at DSC

Sport360 staff 24/05/2015
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The tournament is to be played in a 6-a-side Touch Rugby format.

UAE Rugby Federation (UAERF) announced the Pan Emirate Schools Rugby Tournament will kick off on Monday May 25th, 10am at Dubai Sports City’s indoor arena.

– UAE: Coach Kotze confident of sustainable Union future
– EXCLUSIVE – Mike Brown: Fearless full-back dreaming of ‘special’ RWC
– UAE: Ali Thompson resigns as Abu Dhabi Saracens head coach

To be played in a 6-a-side Touch Rugby format, participating teams will represent schools from Dubai, Sharjah, Kalba, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.

Each team will consist solely of grade 10 students with each team made up of 12 to 15 players.

“On 14 April UAERF development officers trained 6 coaches to implement the World Rugby ‘Get Into Rugby’ programme across 6 regions.” said Rugby Development manager Ben van Rooyen.

“Each region was provided with the necessary equipment and the coaches training was conducted in Arabic by the Federation’s RDOs Sami Smara and Walid Naouali.”

Each of the training sessions was overseen by van Rooyen to ensure all regions were making equal progress.

Now, in another exciting step in the development of the sport into the Emirati community, the 6 regional teams are ready to compete in the first Pan Emirate Schools Rugby Tournament.

“This project is in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Education and World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby programme,” added Al Dhalai.

“We are thrilled with the amount of enthusiasm among the players and coaches” said Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Federation’s Secretary General. 

“This is the first time that an inter-Emirate rugby tournament has been played and we are especially honoured by the recognition of the UAE Olympic Committee and its Secretary General Mohammad Al Kamali.”

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Rugby League finale off as teams withdraw from competition

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The Rugby League season is all but over due to the withdrawal of two teams.

Renewed hope of completing the rugby league season in the UAE all but ended on Wednesday after two clubs withdrew from the competition.

After a difficult few weeks for the sport in the Emirates, which had seen head of the Rugby League Commission Sol Mokdad arrested and the final games of the season cancelled, it was announced earlier this week that the one outstanding fixture between Dubai Sharks and Xodus Wasps would go ahead on May 29.

– UAE: Coach Kotze confident of sustainable Union future
– EXCLUSIVE – Mike Brown: Fearless full-back dreaming of ‘special’ RWC
– UAE: Ali Thompson resigns as Abu Dhabi Saracens head coach

The Grand Final was then scheduled to take place a week later on June 5.

In what has been a bewildering few weeks, chaos reigned on Wednesday as Al Ain and Abu Dhabi players initially seemed convinced the season was all set to resume.

Quins player McMillan Chiwawa told Sport360: “Rugby league always helps me cope with the union season being over so I don’t miss the game too much, so with that being said I’m very happy to have a chance to play in the final I think the boys worked way too hard not to deserve a chance at a final.”

Amblers counterpart Kini Natuna added: “Great news to hear that both parties have agreed to the resumption of the league comp.”

However, Wasps later revealed  that Sharks had cancelled their scheduled, outstanding league fixture due to Al Ain Amblers and Abu Dhabi Harlequins pulling out of the competition.

Wasps’ former Halifax Rugby League star Jaymes Chapman said the players had been informed via a group WhatsApp message that the game had been called off yet again.

“We were told Sharks were cancelling the game due to Harlequins withdrawing from the league,” said Chapman.

“Nothing is now going ahead with regards to the end of the season, it was a false dawn.”

It is understood that although the season had been given the go ahead to recommence, it needed the backing of all four teams, with Quins and Amblers thought to have reservations.

End of season tours organised since the season was originally cancelled and ratification from the General Authority of Youth and Sport Welfare (GAYSW) are also believed to be concerns.

Chapman added: “I don’t understand really, it’s a game of rugby. The UAE is a nation proud of its sports and we’re putting league on the map.

Renewed hopes of completing the league ended after two clubs withdrew from the competition.

“It’s all politics. It’s baffling.”

The UAE Rugby Federation announced on Monday that official committees to represent and continue activities for the codes of league and touch in the UAE were well underway, and both committees were set to be formalised by the end of the week.

A meeting had been scheduled for Wednesday to formalise and endorse the separate committees of UAE Rugby League Committee and the UAE Touch Rugby Committee, and to endorse the UAERF Board member, Saoud Belshalat, as chairman of the newly established UAE Rugby League Committee.

Meanwhile, the UAE RF announced it had officially withdrawn its case against RLC head Mokdad on May 11.

The matter relating to Mokdad residing in the UAE illegally is a matter for UAE Immigration.

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