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rugby coaching courses in Dubai

Rugby Coaching World Rugby Courses – 2019!

Fancy yourself as the next Eddie Jones, Warren Gatland…..Steve Hansen? Why not become a fully fledged 15’s  or 7s rugby coach here in the United Arab Emirates? Rugby training courses are held at various locations around the Emirates. All rugby coaching courses are ran by the UAE Rugby Federation.

To apply for any of the UAE Rugby Training and Education Courses you need to complete the pre course information within each application listed below. You can download the applications by clicking on the links provided;

  • Match Official Course
  • Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Course
  • World Rugby Level 1 Coaching 7s Rugby
  • World Rugby Level 1 Coaching 15s Rugby
  • World Rugby Level 2 Coaching 7s Rugby
  • World Rugby Level 2 Coaching 15s Rugby
  • World Rugby Level 1 Medical Course

The UAERF have a full list of course dates and locations, where you can view current courses on offer at the moment.

Still unsure? Heres five great reasons for becoming a rugby coach

  • You stay involved with the game you love, the friendships the fun and the bants
  • You feel good knowing that you’re giving something back
  • You stay fit – mentally and physically
  • You develop yourself personally and professionally
  • You inspire the next generation of players

If this sounds like your cup of tea but you still have further questions, why not get in touch with the UAERF using the form below.

Enver Johns - new coach of Dubai Sharks

Left to right: Mike Quinn – Sharks Chairman, Enver Johns – coach, Matt Laubscher – Head Coach

Enver Johns – Sharks Appoint New Coach for 2019/20

The Dubai Sharks RFC has appointed Enver Johns as their new coach, joining fellow South African Matt Laubscher.

Enver has moved to Dubai with his wife and their young son, having lived in Johannesburg for over a decade.  Originally from Durban, Enver is a Fly-Half/Inside Centre and has played for Natal in the Craven Week tournament which is a school boys tournament held every year in South Africa, as well as spells for the Natal Sharks Academy, and Connacht Rugby Club in Galway, Ireland. He holds his rugby coaching certification from the Lions Rugby Union.

The newly appointed coach, Enver said:

“I am approaching my new role at the Sharks with great excitement. I am keen to learn all about the rugby culture in the Middle East and looking forward to contributing towards the success of the Dubai Sharks. My hopes for the upcoming season are that we stay injury-free as a squad and continue to build on the past successes of the team. I want to bring a strong team spirit to the squad and make sure that everyone enjoys their time at the Sharks.”

Pre-season training has just started for the Sharks, now taking place every Sunday and Tuesday at 7:30pm at North London Collegiate School near Meydan in Dubai.

Club Chairman Mike Quinn welcomed Enver to the club, saying:

“Its fantastic that Enver has joined the Sharks Family, and we all welcome him to our club. We are all looking forward to working with him alongside our Head Coach Matt Laubsher. Enver brings a wealth of rugby knowledge and experience from around the world, combined with his passion for player strength and conditioning, has the skills that will assist every player in achieving their goals and reaching their true potential, both on and off the pitch, while at the same time helping the club to grow again.”

Niall Lear - Director of rugby at Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Picture courtesy of Falkirk Herald

Abu Dhabi Harlequin announce Director of Rugby

The Harlequins have announced the arrival of their new Director of Rugby as Niall Lear. Lear has an extensive knowledge of delivering top level coaching to both mini and youth rugby players as well as at seniors club level. The new DOR has played at top level club rugby and as has earned international honour’s representing Scotland.

The newly appointed Director of Rugby, Niall Lear said:

“My goal heading over to Abu Dhabi is to make the club as successful as possible both on and off the field. There will be a mixture of on and off field sessions over the summer which will allow the players to get into the best possible shape moving forward into the season.”

Niall Lear takes charge of his first coaching session at 19:00 this evening (Tuesday 23rd July) at Zayed Sports City, aiming to start pre-season training as soon as possible, despite having only been in the UAE for less that 13 hours.

Lear hopes to bring his experience and knowledge to take Abu Dhabi Harlequins to the next level of their drive towards delivering rugby to its members. Previously based in Edinburgh, Lear was House Master and Rugby Coach for the internationally renowned Merchiston Castle School where he spent three years. Prior to this he was House Master and PE Teacher for eight years at the Queen Victoria Military School in Dunblane.

Club Chairman, Andrew Cole has welcomed the new arrival saying:

“Finding a suitable Director of Rugby for a club is not always an easy task and when you are based in the Middle East it certainly add’s to the challenge. Of course there are plenty of candidates out there but to find someone who fits the Club’s ethos and can coach at a Mini/Youth level as well as Senior Men’s and Women’s rugby narrow’s down the selection pool considerably. Myself and the committee have spent over three months vetting candidates and interviewing from as far a field as the USA, New Zealand, UK, Argentina, Europe and also locally within the United Arab Emirates.”

Lear’s achievements include representing Connacht Rugby A (2008- 2009), Loughborough University 1st XV Rugby (2000-2005), Scottish Schools Rugby (2000), Scotland U18 Rugby (2001), Scotland Sevens Training Squad (2006/07), Rosslyn Park 1st XV Squad (2005/07), Glasgow Hawks 1st XV Squad (2004/5), Scottish Schools Athletics and GB U23 Athletics Team.

Cole added:

“We have taken the selection process very seriously, ensuring we make the offer to the right candidate. I believe in Niall, we have found a well balanced and experienced DOR with the right personality for the role here at Abu Dhabi Harlequins. We will fully support him in his new role and try our utmost to provide the backup he needs to excel in his role, we wish him and his family well here in Abu Dhabi.”

Mansour al Zaabi Harlequins club captain

Harlequins Club Captain – Mansour al Zaabi representing Yalla Rugby Select

One of Our Own – Quins Club Captain Mansour Al Zaabi

Another recent appointment at the Harlequins was for the first UAE National to be appointed as Club Captain – Mansour Al Zaabi.

Al Zaabi has been part of the Harlequins rugby club setup for over four years and was nominated for the role of Club Captain less than a month ago.

“It’s the club’s 50th anniversary next year it’s one of the oldest sporting clubs in the UAE and as part of its history it’s important to recognise the club’s achievements over recent years. Abu Dhabi should be proud of this successful sporting club, certainly one of the largest if not the largest sports clubs in the capital city. We’re the current UAE champions, past West Asia Champions and the most successful club in competitions over the past decade.”

Before joining the Quins the local Emirati had no previous background or any understanding about playing rugby. As well as being part of the Harlequins, Al Zaabi has also represented our very own Yalla Rugby Select squad in the 2018 Dubai Rugby Sevens.

uae local emirati schools rugby

UAE Rugby and UAE Ministry of Education enters into landmark agreement which sees World Rugby’s ‘Get Into Rugby’ included in Emirati Schools Physical Education Curriculum

  • Landmark agreement will see World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby programme included in UAE Emirati Schools Physical Education Curriculum
  • Programme implemented at the start of the 2018 Emirati school year
  • Agreement will bolster Asia Rugby and World Rugby’s grassroots participation goals

UAE Rugby has entered into a landmark agreement with the UAE Ministry of Education which will see World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby (GIR) programme form part of the Physical Education curriculum in Emirati schools across the UAE. In a first for the region the agreement undoubtedly cements UAE’s position as a leader in development and sustainability of the grassroots game across both the GCC, and Asia.

This is a major milestone in UAERF’s Player Pathway Programme

“We are exceptionally pleased and encouraged the Ministry of Education has approved Rugby as an official sport by including it in their schools (physical) curriculum.” commented Qais Al Dhalai, UAE Rugby Secretary General.

“This is a major milestone in UAERF’s Player Pathway Programme. Through this approval, and the ongoing support of PPP partners; HSBC and Land Rover, rugby will continue to grow at grassroots, bolstering Asia Rugby’s ‘Impact Beyond’ strategy which is to grow participation numbers, across the Asian Unions, to one million by the Rugby World Cup in 2019.” he added.

sami-smara-uae rugby development manager dubai

At the ground level, leading the charge, is Sami Smara, UAE Rugby Federation’s Development Manager, who said; “The commitment of our team, and the Ministry can already be seen, where in early January the Ministry published the first ‘Rugby Workbook’, and where over 400 teachers were trained in delivering the programme in one day alone.” “More of these type of super-days will be held until we have all physical education teachers (at Emirati school) qualified to deliver the GiR programme, and we expect the numbers of Emirati-boys and girls to reach over two hundred thousand (across the UAE) in the next two years.” added Smara.

Hailing the efforts of the Federation in their commitment of growing the game and making it accessible to all, Rugby World Rugby Chairman, Bill Beaumont stated: “I would like to congratulate UAE Rugby and the UAE Ministry of Education on this landmark agreement that will significantly boost the ongoing development of the game in the UAE. Get Into Rugby is a wonderful introductory vehicle for girls and boys to begin their rugby journey and learn and live the values of the sport. We applaud the UAE Federation’s continued drive and approach to laying solid foundations to realise a stronger, sustainable game for the future of the sport.”

united arab emirates rugby team 2017

Perelini’s eyes firmly fixed on next weeks Asia Rugby Division One championship in Malaysia.

Yalla Rugby were lucky enough to be invited to Apollo Perelini’s last training camp before the upcoming Asia Rugby Division One Championship in Ipoh, Malaysia.

apollo perelini uae rugby coach 2017

The UAE Rugby National squad, are up against Malaysia, Philippines and Sri Lanka with the prospect of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in Japan up for grabs for the table topping team. We ask Perelini how his squad preparations have been coming on;

“It’s taken a little longer to get ready for the championship because of the players club commitments which narrowed down my contact with them, but the last two weeks and two warm up matches against tough Premiership and Conference Barbarian sides have brought the team closer and therefore team structures have been easier to put in place.”

“I’m happy, the team is coming together nicely with the Championship starting next week.” said Perelini.

uae rugby training

Over the past 3 years, the standard of playing rugby in the United Arab Emirates has improved a tremendous amount, with increased interest in the sport from all ages and abilities.

The quality of players and coaching has improved the competition within domestic rugby.”

Perelini said: “The quality of players and coaching has improved the competition within domestic rugby, which makes things easier for me when choosing players to represent the UAE, however we still have a long way to go in some areas.”

With the team setting out, not only to just compete, but actually win next weeks Asia Rugby Division One championship, local UAE rugby clubs could really feel the benefit from a successful campaign in Malaysia.

Perelini believes that the quality of rugby will only increase if they (UAE Rugby) make the top tier of Asia Rugby. He said: “The challenge I guess, will be how we keep these full-time, employed players committed and whether they can improve their skills if they’re not professionals, unlike some countries which are now fully professional.”

Asia Rugby Division One Championship rugby training with Apollo Perelini

Perelini has picked a 28-man squad for the three-match tour in Malaysia, with Jebel Ali Dragons dominating the selection with eight players picked. There are six from Dubai Hurricanes, five each from Abu Dhabi rivals Harlequins and Saracens, two from Dubai Exiles and two UAE Shaheen.

We’d like to wish Apollo and the UAE National rugby team the very best of luck and will keep you all up to date with their progress in the competition, which starts on the 14th May against Malaysia, then on the 17th they face Sri Lanka followed by their final game on the 20th against the Philippines.

By Alex Johnson

UAERF sign MoU with FFR

UAERF Sign MoU With The French Rugby Federation (FFR)

The UAERF have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the French Rugby Federation (FFR) where they hope to establish and implement a strategic partnership aimed at developing 7’s and XV’s players, coaches and match officials.

“Entering into this partnership, at this stage of UAE Rugby’s rapid growth, is very exciting.” said Qais Al Dhalai Secretary General UAERF.

Fédération Française de Rugby uae rugby

“Together, we (UAERF and FFR) have identified various training camps and tournaments for the benefit of our 7’s and XV’s players, as well as various training and officiating opportunities for UAERF’s match officials throughout the term of this partnership. As the recognised sports-hub in the Middle East we are thrilled to be in a position to utilise many of the UAE’s diverse high-class training facilities for these activities, and similarly the well-regarded FFR National Center of Rugby in Marcoussis (France)”. “We are looking forward to finalising these opportunities and to working closely with Bernard and his team.” added Al Dhalai.

That is why we want to work closely with the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation”

“The overall future of our sport will come through its development into new territories. This is crucial if we want to expand its popularity and the number of players to last. This international development has to come through the Middle East.” Bernard Laporte, President Fédération Française de Rugby said. “That is why we want to work closely with the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation; to actively participate in rugby development in this area of the world by giving UAERF players and officials the possibility to benefit from our human and material means to work and improve their performance.”

Officiating today’s MoU signing was Qais Al Dhalai, Secretary General UAERF and Bernard Laporte, President of Fédération Française de Rugby.

tigers rugby club coaching

Heartbeat Sports Tigers Rugby Club is set to make a push across all its rugby with major signings in their coaching set up.

Aaron Persico, with over 50 Test Caps and 2 World Cups under his belt as a player, is a major signing for Tigers. The New Zealand national of Italian heritage played for Italy debuted in 2000. During this time he competed at the 2003 & 2007 World Cups and was capped 5 times for the Barbarians. Persico has played professional in New Zealand, Italy, Britain and France including 73 Heineken Cup matches. Persico has also been involved with the New Zealand High Performance Academy.

Jaime Clarke has also joined Tigers as a coach. Clarke, who is no stranger to gulf rugby captained both Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Doha in his career and debuted for the UAE National side in 2011.

tigers rugby club aaron persico and jamie-clarke mini youth coaching

Aaron Persico (left) and Jamie Clarke (Right)

Heartbeat Sports Founder Shane Thornton says;

I am super excited to welcome both Aaron and Jamie to Tigers. Both were wonderful players and bring a wealth of experience and coaching skills to Tigers. Both of them were known across their careers for their hard tackling and excellent ruck work. I expect that all our teams will instantly improve with those two working with them. We continue to grow our club offering our players the highest level of coaching in the region. Both will be coaching across all age groups. I personally love watching a 56 Test international coaching our Under 6s. International rugby is hard but those Under 6s are ruthless if you show any weakness.

You can catch the Tigers Rugby Club this Friday when they take on the Dubai Sharks in the UAE Conference B5 Final fixture which kicks off at 3:00pm at Sports City ground.

UAE Rugby Federation has announced that its Elite Player Programme (EPP) will commence in January 1st 2017. The EPP is a long-term strategy aimed at identifying, increasing and developing future National representative Emirati players with it’s primary focus on the development of 25 talented U18 Emirati players every calendar year.

UAE Rugby Secretary General, Qais Al Dhalai said;

It is a necessity that these players show strong potential, in skills and mental aptitude, to progress to a higher level, with the ultimate aim being UAE National Team representation on the international stage.”

UAE Rugby’s Head Coach and High Performance Manager – Apollo Perelini, said;

In the first year our focus will be the Senior Elite U18’s, year 2 we will widen our reach to Junior Elite U16, and year 3 we will bring in a Junior U14 category.”

Perelini went on to say;

These 3 levels of development will give us a stronger platform to identify and develop our Elite players and provide us with a sustainable future for Emirati players.”

During each year, each group will participate in numerous training camps and focus on age-specific skills and fitness.

The U18’s will be exposed to game and training analysis, skills and game management and position specifics. U16’s will be exposed to the basic aspects of the UAE rugby union, including game awareness, and the U14’s will be exposed to basic fundamental skills of rugby.

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DSSC set to launch their tailored coaching programme for local Dubai rugby clubs

Desert Sport Strength & Conditioning (DSSC) are proud to launch their rugby strength & conditioning (S&C) programme across Dubai, delivering tailored coaching for local rugby clubs throughout the sporting year.

DSSC rugby training Dubai UAEDSSC is a unique concept brought to Dubai sport by a team of highly experienced, professional and passionate coaches, accomplished in sport, fitness & health and S&C. An opportunity has been recognised to support sport in Dubai, developing rugby teams with programming designed to maximise performance on the competitive field and avoid injury, something that has been prevalent during the 2015/16 season. DSSC is leading the industry as the only standalone institute to deliver a complete, holistic package of both S&C and health for players and teams.

DSSC’s Rugby Pre-Season Programme, commencing in the next few weeks (dates TBC), will be the first of it’s kind here in Dubai. Based at Smart Fitness, an award-winning facility in JLT, both players and teams will be invited down to undergo a 9-week programme across the summer months, tapering down to the start of the 2016/17 season. The main structure is briefly outlined below –

  • 3 training blocks – Strength, Hypertrophy, Plyometrics & Athletic Ability.
  • Initial, mid & final testing to show clear progression.
  • 27 sessions over 9 weeks on a 1:4 athlete:coach ratio, delivered by international standard coaches.
  • Nutritional coaching on how to maximise both body composition and performance on the field, with consistent support to ensure dietary adherence.
  • Educational support with articles & content shared among the group.
  • Exciting extras, such as seminars with international rugby stars, coach visits and team trips.

DSSC coaches come from a rich background of both playing rugby and careers in strength & fitness, so their ability to recognise the strategies that will maximise performance and have the ability to apply them as a team, is what makes the coaching unique. The coaches include:

Mike Poole – Try scoring record holder for Newport, with playing careers in Newport Gwent Dragons, Scarlets and the Welsh International 7s team.

Roan Kotze – Played professional rugby in South Africa before relocating to the Middle East to pursue a career in fitness & coaching.

Jarred Lowson – Experienced 7s & 15s player in South Africa, Kenya & Dubai, DeFranco Certified Physical Preparation Specialist (CPPS) and Personal Trainer of the Year 2015.

Max Physick – Experienced 15s player in the UK & Dubai, specialising in S&C, advanced body composition and hypertrophy strategies.

With the launch of the DSSC Pre-Season Programme just around the corner, the coaches are excited to get local players on board and start developing their strength, speed, power and conditioning!

For more information and to get on board, please contact:

Max Morrison – DSSC Business Manager
040 438 5055

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UAE Rugby Federation’s Regional Development Officer, Ben van Rooyen has been appointed Asia Rugby’s ‘Get into Rugby Coordinator’ on a six-month secondment commencing May 1st, 2016.

Van Rooyen’s primary task will be to oversee the implementation of World Rugby’s Get into Rugby (GiR) programme among Asia Rugby union members, working closely with these unions to ensure their GiR action plans are in place and conform to World Rugby guidelines.

He will also oversee the integration of World Rugby’s ‘Impact Beyond’ programme which focuses on activating rugby-influenced activities in the lead-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, to be hosted in Japan.

Introducing rugby to one million new players across the continent

A highly successful programme across the globe, World Rugby’s Get into Rugby has been embraced by the UAERF since the federation’s inception (in 2011) and found the programme to be a valuable tool to grow the game in local communities that required established structures and pathways to grow the game.

Speaking on his new role van Rooyen said:

“It is indeed an honour to serve the greater Asia Rugby community through this role. I see a bright future for rugby in Asia and I am looking forward to working with the various unions (around Asia) to realise the dream of ‘introducing rugby to one million new players across the continent’. Our successes at UAERF have prepared me for this opportunity, and I can only express my deepest appreciation for the visionary leadership and support I have received from the Board and all the members of the UAERF team.”

Asia Rugby Honorary Secretary General and UAE Rugby Secretary General, Qais Al Dhalai commented:

“We are very proud Ben has been recognised for his impact on growing the game at local grass roots level, and subsequently selected by Asia Rugby to take on this important role of introducing the game across Asia. All at the UAERF wish to thank Ben for his untiring, successful efforts in delivering the GiR programme and his commitment to our Player Pathway Programme. We wish Ben the very best and will be watching the progress of Get into Rugby across Asia with great interest.”

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The Modern Day Rugby Player Inforgraphic

Here’s an interesting new infographic demonstrating how the modern day rugby player differs from back in the amateur days of 1987.

Props now weighing in at an average of 124kg apposed to 108kg, energy from scrums equating to pushing two double decker busses the length of the rugby pitch and being tackled these days is like a fridge being dropped on you from 2m in the air. Good to know!!!

Yalla Rugby Players Dubai


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UAE Rugby has announced that Roelof Kotze, Performance Manager and National Coach, will be joining South Africa’s Pumas Rugby Union.

Kotze will join the Pumas as Amateur Rugby Manager, immediately after UAE Rugby’s Sri Lanka 7’s campaign (October 10th and 11th), in a role which will see him oversee and be responsible for all aspects of the union’s amateur development programmes and amateur players.

Speaking on his new appointment Kotze commented; “This (appointment) is one that I have been working toward, and, although earlier that I had planned opportunities like this simply don’t come around very often, so when they do you need to grab them with both hands.” “I would like to think I leave UAE Rugby’s development sides and national teams in better standing, and I know the programmes and players will be in good hands moving forward. I would like to thank the Federation for their complete support of my decision.” he added.

“We are very proud of this appointment for Roelof.” said UAERF’s Secretary General Qais Al Dhalai. “The Pumas sought him out, highlighting to us that his experience with developing our Emirati players, as well as his efforts with the National teams (XV’s, Men’s 7’s and U19’s), combined with his solid background and qualifications are what they need in their drive to grow their union, and its players.” “We wish him the very best for a successful future and will be keenly watching the growth of Pumas Union.” added Al Dhalai.

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Rugby Legend – Jonah Lomu In Dubai, UAE

It’s been almost 20 years since Jonah Lomu stunned international rugby audiences at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, when he scored seven tries in five matches, including four in the semi-final against England. Despite having just two All Black caps, Jonah Lomu was included in the squad.

The former All Blacks winger paid an impromptu visit to the UAE sevens squad who were training in Dubai last night, dishing out some advice and tips for the rugby players preparing for the Asian Sevens held in Hong Kong this September.

Lomu, now 40 years of age was visiting Dubai for a medical check up when he requested to meet up with Roelof Kotze and his 7’s squad who were training at the 7he Sevens stadium in Dubai.

The rugby legend ran through some drills with the lucky UAE squad who are currently preparing for the new domestic season as well as the Asian Sevens tournament, which will be held in Shanghai and Colombo during September and October.

The head coach of the UAE sevens squad, Roelof Kotze, was as shocked as the rest of the squad saying…

“It wasn’t at all planned. It was a last minute thing. He wanted to come to practice and asked if I minded.”

“A few of the players were shocked initially to see him there. He came in, observed the session for most of it then at one stage he just asked if I minded if he said one or two things and I said sure,” said Kotze.

“We were doing a drill and he just said he wanted to tell them one or two things about it, what they’re missing and one or two technical issues.”

“He called the boys in and gave them one or two pointers, on the technical aspects of the breakdown and communicating.”

“Communication has developed because there are guys that obviously don’t speak Arabic and guys that don’t speak English. He came on and told the guys they were too quiet. That was good because that’s what I’ve been telling them.”

Kotze added: “Afterwards the players all wanted to have their photos taken with him. It was really good and a nice evening. It was great for the guys. I’m sure everybody there was chuffed to see him and hear what he had to say.

He went on to pay tribute to Lomu, who also turned up at a training session in the UAE last year, when he was a guest at the opening of the 2014 UAE Rugby Annual Awards, saying: “He’s a nice guy. He was very complimentary, he said the guys were looking better than the last time he saw them. He thinks there’s been an improvement.”

“He was here for the UAE Rugby Annual Awards last year and attended one of our sessions and now he’s come out again, so it was nice to hear from him.”

“I spoke to him about coming again. When he’s around next I’ll definitely get him in. He always offers to come along when he’s here so perhaps next time we’ll just make it more formal.”

Lomu is currently on his Unstoppable UK Tour 2015 retired from rugby in 2007, but was persuaded to play in the Help For Heroes charity match at Twickenham a year later, although he had to withdraw after injuring his ankle in training.

He will be visiting Dublin, Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Newcastle, Swansea, Manchester, Southampton, Leicester and London throughout September and October.

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