Dubai: UAE Rugby’s 24-man squad that will compete against Singapore in 2014’s Asian 5 Nations Division 1, at 7he Sevens in Dubai on April 23 has been announced.
Wednesday night’s matchup with a kick-off at 7.30pm is crucial to both sides as this solitary game will decide who will stay in Division 1 and who will be relegated to Division 2 for 2015’s revamped Asian Championships.
UAE is ranked first in the Asian 5 Nations Division 1 rankings, after relegation in 2013, while Singapore is ranked fourth, after winning Division 2.
Newly appointed performance manager and national coach, Roelof Kotze, has been impressed with the talent he has seen since his arrival in February, after monitoring player performance at both the UAE Rugby Conference and the Gulf Top 6 — where the top two teams competing for the title were UAE-based clubs.
Kotze is also acutely aware of the federation’s mandate to integrate Emiratis into representative rugby. After consultation with technical team of Wayne Marsters and Ben van Rooyen, including valuable insight from former Seven’s captain and recently accredited IRB level 1 coach, Yousuf Shaker, five UAE nationals have been named in the squad, including Adel Al Hendi — winner of Best Youth Emirati Player at the first annual UAE Rugby Awards.
Preceding the main game’s 7.30 kick-off, there will be various youth matches.