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20 April 2024

UAE Rugby Al Ain Schools Festival attracts 900 students

By Staff

UAE Rugby Federation’s (UAERF) progress in developing the next generation of Emirati rugby players will be displayed on Thursday, January 29, where the UAE Rugby Al Ain Schools Festival, in partnership with HSBC, will be played at the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club.

Hosted by the Al Ain Amblers Rugby Club, 53 teams will compete in the festival with kick-off scheduled for 9am, and last games to be played at 1pm.
As an integral step in the Federation’s HSBC Player Pathway Programme (PPP) the festival will welcome a total of 900 Emirati Students, consisting of 325 girls participating in U10 and U12 divisions, and 575 boys competing in U10, U12, U14 and U16 divisions; each of the age divisions will be played in either a ‘Touch’ or ‘Tag’ format.

An addition to the ‘Touch’ and ‘Tag’ format will be up to 100 boys, incorporating four school teams, playing full contact rugby.

Schools that have fielded teams include Emirates National school, Al Sanawbar school, ATHS Al Ain Boys, STS Al Ain Boys, Al Dhafra school, Adhwa Private school, Al Ittihad National Private school, Al Nashaa Saleh Private school, Madar International school, International Future Academy, Gulf International Private Academy, United School of Al Yaha, and Al Ain American Private School.

“We have been working very closely with the principals, school administrators and the PE teachers since September (2014) to create this tournament and to have a strong Emirati representation. Currently, there are 47 PE teachers in Al Ain who have been through the IRB’s GiR (Get into Rugby) programme and we are pleased to see their continued involvement and commitment to developing the game, as part of the schools sporting curriculum,” said Sami Smara, UAE Rugby Regional Development Office - Al Ain.

“I am very excited to see this festival happen and am looking forward to a great morning of rugby with these students,” he added.

Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby’s Secretary-General, commented: “This festival is a great achievement for the federation, and we consider this tournament a very important stage in the growth of our young Al Ain-based Emirati players. We are very proud of our RDO team, Sami and Ben (Van Rooyen) have been working tirelessly with Al Ain’s schools and the students to develop and deliver on this tournament. We are extremely grateful to HSBC, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), to Andre Fourie and the Al Ain Amblers Rugby Club, who through their commitment and support have helped us reach this achievement."