Tom Stapley – Former Exiles Player Selected For Ireland Rugby Sevens Squad
Tom Stapley, an ex Dubai Exiles player appears to be one step closer to his dream of a career in rugby. Stapley has been selected for Ireland’s extended sevens training squad.
The Exiles centre was sent on trial to Northern Ireland from the UAE last season, and he joined the academy of provincial side Ulster.
The former Jumeirah College schoolboy, who first aspired to a career in football as a goalkeeper before switching his attention to rugby, impressed to the extent he was retained for the season.
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Now he has been named in a 32-man squad from which Ireland will select their team for the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series which begins in June.
“He is delighted about the opportunity”
“He is delighted about the opportunity,” said Jacques Benade, the Dubai Exiles director of rugby.
“He has to go out, give it 100 per cent, and show what he can do. He was in the same squad last year, and just missed out on coming to the Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament.”
“Hopefully this year he can make it. He is a quality player, and with his size, speed and skill-level, it gives him opportunities to play up front and at the back as well.”
If Stapley does make the final cut for the Ireland sevens side, and the team themselves are successful, it could be the first step on a long road to playing back in Dubai in the format.
Ireland have a significant goal from playing on the European Grand Prix circuit. If they finish as one of the top two teams — excluding England, Scotland, Wales, France and Russia — they will play at next year’s Hong Kong Sevens.
That tournament involves a repechage competition, the winners which will qualify for the World Rugby Sevens Series for the 2018/19 season. Dubai will likely be the opening leg of that series.
By Paul Radley