The Conquistadors will be looking to claim a little piece of the desert as their own this weekend as they set their sights on the Gulf Men’s Social competition.
The team has been scrambled together at the last minute after initially being told there was no room for them, and will be raising money for the Mike Ballard Foundation.
Ballard, a former Abu Dhabi Harlequins player, suffered a severe spinal cord injury whilst playing for Quins against Jebel Ali Dragons in the West Asia Club Championship final in 2014.
The American teacher has since made excellent progress in his rehabilitation and returned to the UAE, taking up a place at his old school, the New England Centre for Children with Autism.
“It’s a massive call from Mike to return to Abu Dhabi and get on with life but it’s testament to his character,” said Mike Ballard Foundation co-founder Ed Lewsey.
“We are here to support Mike and initiatives like the Conquistadors really help Mike with some hefty ongoing medical costs.”
“Getting together the team was ridiculous,” said Winston Cowie, the team’s player-coach.
“In the space of a week, we had guys queuing up to play and support Mike.
“We have managed to get together some of the best players to ever play rugby in the Gulf. Most of the major teams are represented – it’s a Gulf rugby community story.”