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Kyle Bennie From RAK Rugby Is With Us For This Weeks Choosday Chat

Kyle Bennie RAK rugby

We have a Choosday Chat with RAK Rugby‘s Fly Half, Kyle Bennie.

FACT FILE

Age: 30
Born: Larkhall, Scotland
Club: RAK Rugby Club
Position: Fly Half
Height: 178cm
Weight: 93kg

“I’m pretty good on the triangle”

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

Two people really spring to mind; Firstly my big brother Mitchell, he got into rugby and was obsessed. We used to throw the ball about for hours trying to perfect passing off both hands and then move onto kicking with both feet, we also used to watch as many rugby games as possible! We even used to rent old international games which were recorded on VHS. Secondly, my old school teacher Mr Jon Kendry, a proper Welshman, he would push me to my limits in the majority of sports but helped me focus on my rugby and was one of the main reasons I stuck at it and didn’t go down the football route. Thank God!

Whats been your proudest moment playing rugby in the Middle East?

Being in the UAE on and off for over 20+ years has many great and proud moments, but to some it up in three selfish points, they would be;

  1. Representing the Arabian Gulf (Rugby Union) and UAE Falcons (Rugby League)
  2. Being part of a band of brothers who revived Sharjah Wanderers and a band of misfits who established Dubai Wasps
  3. Running out onto a field with my brother, few really close mates and a heap of different international players

Do you have any nicknames?

When I was younger and playing with the wrong shaped ball, I was nicknamed “Wee Barra” after a famous Rangers player but when I turned to the proper egg shaped ball I didn’t really have one. Everyone just referred to me as “Bennie” or “KB” until I joined the Lakes Legends many moons ago, unfortunately with bad hair doos and a few questionable dressed to impress moments at 7am for training – they refer to me as “Corey Jane” or “Corey”.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I have four kids and a corporate job so I don’t have much spare time but when I do…. I like to spend it with the family out exploring and camping or playing golf or going out motorbiking in the dunes.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Ironically I asked the Mrs recently if she knew any of my hidden talents and she said YES! “Looking busy and achieving Sweet FA around the house!” Apart from that, some say I am pretty good on the triangle and not to shabby around the kitchen.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

Easy – Eat and Drink, Charcoal Chicken, full service with mutton soup and extra fries. I’m not even ashamed.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Definitely flying. It would be easy to travel about and I’d never sit in another traffic jam again!!

What do you miss most about back home?

I miss the usual – the family, the fresh air of the countryside and the different seasons (usually within the same day in Scotland!) and reality! Sometimes being here, you get engulfed with living the expat lifestyle.

Who are the jokers at RAK Rugby?

Of late it would have to be Brian O’Discin (Disco) for his constant messing about and pulling some funny snide remarks out the bag and Dale Rooney, simply because he is a Northern lad and rugby league convert, bringing a completely different yet hilarious chat to the group.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be and why?

It would be a mix between Tomas Young (Mossy) as on his day, he is a tackling machine and seems to be everywhere around the park or Kieran Dorgan as he is lighting and has a great kicking game from his Gaelic football background.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Elvis Presley, I’m pretty sure he would have a few good stories to tell. Sir Richard Branson, business knowledge and his approach/views on life and one of my late grandparents, purely from a personal perspective on who, what, where, when, why and the old family stories.

Who has the worst Dress sense in the squad?

They are all contenders in their own right, but it would have to be Oisin MacPartlin for his horrendously bright training gear or Neil Jose Carleton with his “don’t give a s&%t attitude (Yes mate – green trainers, yellow socks, blue shorts and a red t-shirts does work! Looks spiffing).

What are the best things about being part of RAK Rugby?

Being part of an up and coming rugby club like RAK is great, there is excitement, growth potential and real belief! It does unfortunately have its down sides, like being so remote and purely relying on teacher retention and new recruits. If the Gaelic football is on the same weekend we play, then we loose 40% of our squad, but all in all the camaraderie is solid and everyone gets stuck in. There is a real family feel and we’re performing the best we have since reviving the club. I hope it can only move forward. Oh….cheap membership and free Dubai 7’s tickets too. (Bonus!)

How’s life in Ras Al Khaimah?

RAK is good. I have only been here 2 years but it reminds me of the “Good old Dubai days”. The community isn’t too big, so you can always see a familiar face or two around town. There is also lots on offer, more adventurous and outgoing opportunities as the mountains are in the back drop and there is a slight temperature difference.

‘Mystic Mike’ Gives Us His 2019 Six Nations Predictions Video

Click Video Above To Watch Or View On YouTube

Mike Phillips Rugby Academy & Yalla Rugby Team Up To Bring You His Six Nations Rugby Predictions For 2019

Mike Phillips Rugby Academy

Mike is promoting his Half Term Holiday Camp which will be running on the 20th and 21st of February 2019 at Foremarke School in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For further details you can visit his website on https://www.mikephillipsacademy.com/

Video Transcription

Hi it’s Mike Phillips Academy here with Yalla Rugby and here are my predictions for the Six Nations.

6th – Italy

Ok so, the team I think is going to unfortunately finish at the bottom of the table – Italy for me, I think they haven’t really progressed in the last couple of years. I think they’ll find it very difficult during the 6 Nations. The Italian player to look out for in this years Six Nations would be Tommaso Allan.

5th – Scotland

The team I think will come fifth in the competition will be Scotland. They’re a team that improved dramatically over the last few years, but because of injuries and because of the way the fixtures have fallen for them, I think they’ll end up fifth. The Scottish player to look out for would be Stuart Hogg.

4th – France

For me, the team that will end up fourth in this competition will be France. They’ve got so much potential, a great squad, but don’t seem to quite click in the big matches so I think they’ll come in fourth. The play I think to look out for in the French will be Gaël Fickou.

3rd – Ireland

The team that will end up coming third will be Ireland. Obviously they’re one of the best teams in the world at the moment, beating New Zealand in November and constantly improving under a great coach, but for me, they will end up third. Well for me the best Irish player would be Jacob Stockdale. He’s an outstanding player.

2nd – England

A close second for me will be England. I think without doubt, one of the favourites going into the World Cup. Whatever happens in the 6Nations they’ve got so much depth within their forwards and their back division, they’ve been a lot more creative so a close second for England. How do you do a Bristol accent? O’right Governor, the England player to ‘boss it’ will be Henry Slade…apples and pears!

1st – Wales

The team that is going to end up top of the Six Nations this year will be Wales. I think purely because of the way the fixtures are lying, they host England in their third match and Ireland in their last match and I think that they will be victorious in both these matches at home for Warren Gatland’s last 6 Nations Campaign. Well, for me you know, the best Welsh rugby player would be Ken Owens.

Thanks for being with Mike Phillips Rugby Academy and Yalla Rugby. I hope no one was offended by my accents.

I’ve got my Half Term Rugby Camp coming up in Feb from the 20th and 21st, see you there!

Matthis Bathe, Knights U16’s Scrum Half Has A Choosday Chat

Matthis Bathe, Arabian Knights Rugby Player

Arabian Knights Scrum Half – Matthis Bathe talks idols, favourite food and proudest moments.

FACT FILE

Age: 15
Born: Dubai, UAE
Club: Arabian Knights RFC
Position: Scrum/Fly Half
Height: 167cm
Weight: 57kg

“I’d like to understand how difficult a full game of rugby is for a prop”

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

My idols when I was growing up were Jonny Wilkinson and Danny Care. However there were many coaches such as Apollo Perellini and John Taimana who encouraged me to continue playing and practicing.

Do you have any nicknames?

Some of my friends call me Mathitha.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

In my spare time I either play video games, do homework or play around outside.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I love languages and can speak French, Spanish and Arabic.

Who does the cooking at home?

Mainly it’s my Mum but sometimes my Dad cooks.

What would you like to do when you leave school?

I would love to be a Chemical Engineer when I’m older, that would be pretty cool.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would like to be able to control time and I’d travel into the future to see what it’s like.

Have you had any injuries whilst playing rugby?

I haven’t had any major injuries, but I have strained some ligaments in my fingers.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be and why?

I would like to be Umberto and understand how difficult a full game of rugby is for a prop.

Who’s the best dancer in the Arabian Knights.

The best dancer is probably Dan Okenome, he’s got some moves!

What are the best things about being part of the the Knights RFC?

The best things about the Knights Rugby Club is that we are so close, like a family.

What’s your favourite food?

My favourite food is pepperoni pizza.

What do you miss most about back home?

I miss the cold weather and the ability to train at the local rugby pitch whenever I’d like.

Whats been your proudest moment playing rugby in the Dubai?

My proudest moment playing rugby in Dubai was when my team won the HSBC league in U10s.

Sandy Naylor From Dubai Eagles Has A Choosday Chat With Us

Sandy Naylor Dubai Eagles Rugby

We speak with Dubai Eagles Womens forward – Sandy Naylor on flakey people, wet socks and some “alone time”

FACT FILE

Age: 33
Born: Manila, Philippines
Club: Dubai Eagles RFC
Position: Front row in 7s. Back row in 15s
Height: 177cm
Weight: 69kg

“I think I function better in chaos!”

Do you have any nicknames?

I respond to Sandy, Sands, Nayls, and ‘Wife’.

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

At LSE University Sports Sign Up Week 15.5 years ago I was making my way to the netball table and a lovely lady called Hannah tapped me on the shoulder, said “it’s better you come here” and gently ushered me to the local rugby sign up table!

What are your bugbears?

Flaky people, being ripped off, and cold weather.

Do you have any tattoos?

Yes, and I want them lasered off!

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I am a part time personal trainer and have 3 crazy boy children – so between managing them, their activities and my own training at the gym and rugby I really do not have spare time! That said I love being busy and I think I function better in chaos.

Do you have any phobias?

Cockroaches, losing a tooth, and wet socks.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

EASY – Lime Tree Cafe carrot cake. Oh and buffets.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Invisibility so I can walk past my children without them shouting “I NEED A SNACK” at me.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

My husband, we don’t get much alone time together 😁 (YR: Giggidy)

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Hollie for the wheels. Not only is she absolutely rapid over short distances, but she completed the Dubai marathon last weekend that she didn’t even train for in 3hr36!!!

Who’s the best dancer in the Eagles Ladies squad

It’s gotta be the Beth and Chaz twerking twins!

What are the best things about being part of the Dubai Eagles RFC?

The camaraderie, the friendships, and the winning.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Wow I don’t even remember! I don’t actually drink or brunch often because a) I’m a total liability after a few drinks and b) I’m a really incompetent parent when hungover.

How’s life been in Dubai?

Love it. My parents and brother live here, I grew up here so it really is home to me.

Mike McFarlane – A Final Farewell ChoosdayChat With The Quins Head Coach

Mike McFarlane Harlequins

As Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Gulf Rugby bid farewell to Head Coach, Mike McFarlane, after his shock resignation last week, we dedicate this week’s ChoosdayChat to the quintuple trophy winner.

FACT FILE

Age: 33
Born: Kent, England
Club: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Position: Head Coach
Height: 188cm
Weight: 100kg

“The passion that boy puts into his rugby is nothing compared to what he puts into his singing”

Do you have any nicknames?

‘Mikey’ is the only nickname that has ever really stuck.

When you’re not coaching, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend time with the littl’un, be it swimming, the beach or doing jigsaws. I also like Keeping fit and getting outdoors, but I especially enjoy eating great food and BBQing.

What do you miss most about England?

Proper butcher’s sausages! You just can’t get them like back home.

Do you have any hidden talents?

It’s been a while now, but I used to play flute and saxophone.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

KFC… I’m guilty for a Twister!!

Who do you think will shine as a coach in Japan this year?

Gregor Townsend with Scotland and Warren Gatland on his last outing for Wales: both have the draws, squads and potential to push into the knockout stages of the World Cup.

What’s been your favourite moment as a coach?

The 2016/17 season, winning everything when the league was at it’s strongest. About 4 teams could have won every trophy that year but the boys were phenomenal, in quality and depth, both 1st and 2nd XV.

Whats your favourite punisher drill for the boys?

I’m not a fan of flogging the boys but one which is a killer in terms of skills under fatigue is the “Fiji touch 4v2 drill”.

Who’s the best dancer/singer at the Quins?

Muneeb Galant…the passion that boy puts into his rugby is nothing compared to what he puts into singing “Senses” in the sheds with a few shimmys…if he’s not recording it all.

If you could be one of the Quins players when you were playing, who would it be?

Oooo…I’d take Barry Dwyer’s wheels, Brian Geraghty’s chip n’ chase, Andy Shields lineout calls and Semp’s distribution…oh and Luke Stevenson‘s turnover skills haha

How’s life in Abu Dhabi?

It’s a great lifestyle with some fantastic opportunities and over 8 years I’ve been lucky enough to attend a range of brilliant events and meet some top quality people.

What are the best things about the being part of Abu Dhabi Harlequins rugby club?

The “One Club” culture has been epic to build and see flourish. For me, the players – hands down the best lads on and off the pitch you could hope for. It’s always been a pleasure singing with the boys.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

For sports chat around the table, I’d say Freddie Flintoff, Anthony Joshua and Johnny Wilkinson. For a general chat I’d say Sir David Attenborough, James Corden and Sir Richard Branson.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

Travel as much of the world as possible, experience more cultures and learn more languages.

More On Mike McFarlane

McFarlane oversaw the Harlequins’ rejuvenation in UAE rugby and memorably steered the club to a clean sweep of major trophies. The quintuple, back in the 2016/17 season, included lifting the West Asia Premiership, West Asia Cup, UAE Premiership, Dubai Sevens and Asia Rugby Western Clubs Champions League titles, after which McFarlane revealed he had considered leaving for the second time, having first entertained the thought in the summer of 2016.

Set to leave the UAE due to personal reasons, his resignation midway through the season arrived as a shock to a club who had grown used to success under his coaching. No other club in the region has won more trophies than Harlequins in the time since McFarlane succeeded Jeremy Manning as the team’s coach back in 2015.

Andy Cole, the Harlequins chairman, said:

“Mike will be sorely missed at Harlequins. The guy has been completely dedicated to the club and rugby in general and has been a great ambassador for us and to UAE rugby. He was a great player and coach and it will be difficult to find a replacement like him. We wish him well for the future and thank him for all he’s done.”

Saracens Captain Taylor Has A Choosday Chat With Us

Jonathan Taylor Abu Dhabi Saracens rugby player

We have a quick Choosday Chat with Abu Dhabi Saracens Flanker and club captain, Jonathan Taylor

FACT FILE

Age: 30
Born: East London, South Africa
Club: Abu Dhabi Saracens
Position: Flanker
Height: 182cm
Weight: 85kg

“You would swear he is colourblind”

Do you have any nicknames?

I just get Jonny or JT. My mates aren’t very creative people when it comes to nicknames.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate.

Do you have any phobias?

Nope.

What do you miss most about your home country

Obviously my family but also a proper beach with waves.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Dr Jordan B Petersen (a Canadian professor of psychology at the University of Toronto)

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

My father, he was the coach of my school’s 1st XV so rugby was always part of our household and just a way of life. Some of my earliest memories are playing indoor knee rugby against my brother and inevitably breaking something.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Francesco… Everyone wants to be Francesco, some have even tried…. Have you seen him?

Who are the jokers at Sarries?

There’s a few contenders here but it would have to go to Morne, Jakes the snake and our biggest supporter Riad. I don’t think I can elaborate on this publicly.

Who has the worst Dress sense at the club?

Without a doubt it’s Stallone, the guy can’t even wear Sarries gear without clashing colours somehow. You would swear he is colourblind.

How’s life in Abu Dhabi?

Every year seems to be getting better. My wife and I are now expecting our first child as well, so I couldn’t be happier.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

It was a KFC Boxmaster.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Back home, rowing was my main sport and I always considered myself a better oarsman than a rugby player.

What are the best things about the Saracens rugby club?

The club really is like having a big family. It’s almost impossible to leave training without spending three hours having “just one beer” and just about every week someone is hosting an event and it’s the entire club together again. Off and on the pitch I couldn’t be happier with the boys and girls of Sarries.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Definitely flying but I’d probably trade it in for an extra 10kgs.

Jamie Clarke From The Tigers Has A Choosday Chat

Jamie Clarke Dubai tigers

Dubai Tigers Flanker Jamie Clarke has a quick Choosday Chat

FACT FILE

Age: 33
Born: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Club: Dubai Tigers
Position: Flanker
Height: 180cm
Weight: 88kg

“I saw his wallet for the first time at the weekend, but only because his subs were due”

Do you have any nicknames?

It’s boring really, I just get JC, Clarkey or J.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of spare time. If I do and there are some waves in Dubai I’ll be out on the water, other than that I like to get outdoors as much as I can. I do try and get out of Dubai and travel as much as possible though.

Do you have any phobias?

Yeah, I hate snakes.

What do you miss most about New Zealand?

The outdoors along with the surf, the Kiwi food, the beer and of course, my family.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Probably Richard Branson, at least I could learn a thing or two whilst I was in there!

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

It’s a way of life back home in NZ. Most New Zealanders play rugby, it’s part of our culture and life growing up!

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

None of them because they are all pests…. haha Mandy Garry he’s got the best tan in the team!

Who has the worst Dress sense?

It would have to be Fitzy, because most of the time he doesn’t have any clothes on.

Who’s the tightest?

Noel, aka Leon Dashwood. I saw his wallet for the first time at the weekend, but only because his subs were due in at The Tigers!

How’s life in Dubai?

I can’t complain about life in Dubai, it’s been 12 years in the Middle East so pretty settled here right now and I recon I’ll be around the UAE for a bit longer!

What was the last brunch you went on?

Oktoberfest down at the Hyatt. A decent set up there.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Non that the general public need to know about!

What are the best things about Tigers?

It’s a great club, and an environment where rugby is the reason we show up week in week out, but there is also an understanding that family and work come first because that’s why people are here and it seems to be working well for us.

Who do you listen to to get pumped for a match?

Not much of a music man pre match to be fair, if it all, I’ll blast some sounds from back home, Six60, Fiji, Herbs, Katchafire.

RAK Rugby’s – Gloria Patil Has A Choosday Chat

Gloria Patil with RAK team mates – front row, second from the right.

RAK Rugby Club Ladies Prop Gloria Patil talks phobias, dream dinner guests and Rocky Balboa!

FACT FILE

Age: 28
Born: Mumbai, India
Club: RAK Rugby Club
Position: Prop/Hooker
Height: 152cm

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Do you have any nicknames?

I get ‘Glo’, ‘Glory’ and nowadays some of my teammates call me ‘Baby Dinosaur’ as I’m short but tough on those tackles made on the rugby field!

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Workout, Eat, Sleep and watch some series or movies on Netflix.

Do you have any phobias?

Yes, I’m an acrophobic…petrified of heights!!!

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Any day with my fiancé. [YR – Awwwww]

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Jane Leonard. She’s funny and at the same time an absolute beast on the field.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Well, I guess they’re still hidden…

What do you miss most about India?

My mom, my fiancé, Leo – my dog and the chaos in Mumbai. Here in RAK it’s too quiet and I am so used to the chaos of India.

What annoys you?

Having to wake up at early each morning.

Who do you like to listen to, to get pumped for a match?

Orlagh, Kylie Minogue, Virginia and our coach – Craig are all good motivators to get me pumped before a big game.

Who’s the best dancer in the RAK Ladies squad?

Well that has to be Briana, she dances very well.

What are the best things about RAK Rugby Club?

The respect and togetherness I get from my teammates and the friendships I’ve made within the team, and also our coach.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Richie McCaw – All Blacks Rugby Player, John Abraham – Bollywood Actor and Sunny Leone – Bollywood Actress.

How’s life in the UAE?

It’s just been 2 months since I moved here, so far it is going great. The best time is when I have rugby training with the squad and match days… It’s the highlight of my week!

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

I started playing rugby because of some of some friends in college back in 2009. I was the only one who continued to play after college after all my friends stopped playing. I love rugby due to the physicality of the game. In the words of the great Rocky Balboa – “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Alex Lee From The Dragons Has A Choosday Chat

Alex Lee from Jebel Ali Dragons RFC

Jebel Ali Dragons Scrum Half Alex Lee talks dislocations, potato sack fashion and life with the Dragons in Dubai

FACT FILE

Age: 31
Born: Hong Kong (But I’m not Chinese despite my last name!!!)
Club: Jebel Ali Dragons
Position: Scrum Half
Height: 178cm… Down hill, with the wind behind me.
Weight: 83kg

“The club and all the boys in it have absolutely helped me. Whether they know it or not!”

Do you have any nicknames?

Just Al. Short for Alex but also because it’s my initials.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Gym, paddle boarding, drink coffee, people watching, McGettigans, Barasti, Rock Bottoms and Netflix. I’ve just finished ‘The Sinner’ the other day. Although Jessica Biel is easy on the eye it’s pretty disturbing. Good though!

Do you have any phobias?

Seeing joint dislocations usually makes me feel sick.

What do you miss most about England?

Even after 5 years there’s something not right about going to work on a Sunday. I miss a good roast and a pint in a decent pub!

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Jimmy Saville. Jim’ll fix it and get us out.

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

I can’t remember initially but watching the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, Neil Back, Mike Catt, Martin Johnson and a young Jonny Wilkinson etc back in 1998 definitely inspired me. I remember going down to Twickenham that year, which is a long way from Fleetwood, to watch England v Australia and remember the atmosphere being unreal.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Paul Hart. He’s an absolute stalwart, evergreen. He tried to retire this season but he’s just done 80mins in the front row for the 1s XV last weekend. Massive shout out to his wife for letting us have him back!

Who has the worst Dress sense?

Probably our Chairman, Quinney. Despite the constant abuse he likes to regularly don a t-shirt that can only be described as a potato sack. Although saying that there was a pair of purple loafers left at training one night but no one claimed them funnily enough.

Who do you listen to to get pumped for a match?

Usually something chilled like Ben Howard in the car on the way, then Artic Monkey’s in the changing rooms.

Who’s the tightest?

I’ve been told by Matty Henry’s girlfriend he’s pretty tight…

How’s life in Dubai?

People have this preconception of Dubai being very extravagant etc but it’s very much what you make of it. Expat rugby attracts people from so many different backgrounds that you may not otherwise meet out here and our club is very much a family, as cliche as that sounds. So being part of the Dragons makes life out here good. I also work with the UAE Military so this has taken me all over the UAE. Places that people otherwise wouldn’t go to and meeting some very interesting people.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Wanderlust. We’d just lost to ‘Canes the night before so needed to forget that!

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yeh rugby. I’m actually really good but keep it really well hidden.

What are the best things about Dragons?

As I mentioned before about us being a mix of people from different backgrounds, it has to be the people. Otherwise there’s no club. We have a great culture that has definitely evolved over the 5 seasons I’ve been involved.

Being an expat can be tough at times and when life throws some pretty sh*t things at you, it can be even harder. There’s a big awareness of mental health at the minute which I think is great, and I can honestly say that when I lost everything back home, the club and all the boys in it have absolutely helped me. Whether they know it or not. Having a culture that is inclusive of life off the pitch is so important and we’ve got that in abundance. You can guarantee there’s always buy-in whether it’s conditioning work in pre season or a Christmas brunch. There’s a lot of new faces this season and they have definitely become a great part of that. The kit Tsunami provide for us is pretty cool as well! Stops Quinney wearing his potato top for a day anyway!

Mr Lee… it’s been an absolute pleasure. [YR]

Barrelhouse Coach Taylor Hamilton’s Choosday Chat

Taylor Hamilton Choosday Chat

Barrelhouse Fullback Taylor Hamilton talks about noisy eaters, hiding evidence and an inspirational teacher.

FACT FILE

Age: 27
Born: Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Club: Barrelhouse RFC
Position: Fullback
Height: 187cm
Weight: 82kg

“Smart giants in the front and fast silky feet in the back.”

Do you have any nicknames?

The Barrelhouse boys have given me the nickname of ‘Butters’, obviously it’s because of my slick passing!

What annoys you?

I can’t stand the noise of people eating.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Between running a rugby club and a new business, you’ll usually find me at the local beach or hitting the gym.

Who are the jokers at Barrelhouse?

The jokers are definitely Ryall and Kurt. They’re always great craic.

Do you have any phobias?

Just the eating thing as above!

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be and why?

Probably PJ. The boy could easily play pro rugby!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

There’s nothing better than eating a full family pack of crisps and then hiding the evidence.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I Would like to say I can impress on the dance floor. But I’ve recently seen some videos, and now I’m not so sure.

Who has the worst Dress sense?

Matt Rubin, I’ve never seen him with anything other than shorts and a pair of Air Max.

Who do you listen to to get pumped for a match?

I love blasting System of a down just before a big game. It totally gets me in the zone!

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

Probably my primary school coach, Paul Austin inspired me the most as a kid to play rugby.

What are the best things about Barrelhouse?

The camaraderie and brotherhood is like nothing we’ve had before. It’s a team topped with ‘smart giants’ in the front and fast ‘silky feet’ in the back.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

I’d love to have a sit down with Jonny Wilkinson, Jeremy Clarkson and Eminem.

What was the last takeaway you ordered?

It has to be Projeto Açaí. If you’re into your healthy food, you can’t go wrong!!!

Choosday Chat With Knights Scrum Half Shane Narara

Shane Narara Arabian Knights Rugby Club

Arabian Knights Scrum Half Shane Narara talks about useless facts, island life and scented bubble baths.

FACT FILE

Age: 28
Born: Lae, Papua New Guinea
Club: Arabian Knights RFC
Position: Scrum Half
Height: 168cm
Weight: 82kg

“I learned a lot of capital cities and useless facts growing up.”

Who or what inspired you to play rugby?

Being from PNG it has to be rugby league with the NRL and State of Origin. Queenslander!!

Do you have any nicknames?

The standard ‘Shano’.

What was the last brunch you went on?

I can’t really remember hahah. Possibly McGettigan’s.

What are the best things about Knights?

The culture and ethos, and of course the Orange!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation I reckon, because my side step’s not that great.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I play a bit of guitar…well, try to anyway.

What do you miss most about PNG?

I miss the laid back, simple island life, and the natural scenic beauty.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

Maybe Geography. I learned a lot of capital cities and useless facts growing up. [YR – We asked Shane for a useless fact: that Africa is the only continent which is located in all four hemispheres!]

Do you have any phobias?

It’d be between spiders and drunk people with buzz clippers!

Who are the jokers at The Knights?

Definitely Luke Spiteri – “The Dragin” (correct spelling… ask Luke why when you see him next!!) and Willy Njoya.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Either Charlie Willis (the captain), or Samson Narokobi. They’re both beasts on the playing field.

Who do you listen to to get pumped for a match?

Some Foo Fighters or Tool.

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Probably Dave Chapelle, Dan Carter and Eric Clapton.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

That’s a tough one mate. I don’t know, I guess just to enjoy the finer things in life; you know, like nice long walks on the beach, scented bubble baths, and a cold pint of Guinness. [YR – Who doesn’t like a nice scented bubble bath?]

Yalla Rugby Sign New Partnership With Gulf Rugby Management

Alex johnson - Yalla Rugby Founder

Yalla Rugby are delighted to announce that we have been selected as the official media and results partner for Gulf Rugby for the 2018/19 season. Gulf Rugby Management is a new organisation that is part of Emirates Airline – responsible for managing all competitive Mens, Women’s, Schools and Mini & Youth competitions in the UAE.

Operating out of The Sevens Stadium the Gulf Rugby Management team have been looking at ways to manage the publication of results, choosing Yalla Rugby as the obvious choice to be the official media partner. Under the new partnership, Gulf Rugby Management and Yalla Rugby will be hoping to increase the already huge interest in rugby union here in the UAE.

Yalla Rugby will be first to publish all official match fixtures and results and league table standings for the season. Founder of Yalla Rugby, Alex Johnson said;

“I’m really looking forward to the season ahead. I think the additional exposure that Yalla Rugby and Gulf Rugby Management will bring will be great for rugby here in the Middle East.”

 

Ghaith Jalajel with Alex Johnson and Stephen McCafferty from Gulf Rugby Management

Ghaith Jalajel with Alex Johnson and Stephen McCafferty from Gulf Rugby Management

Jim Fitzsimons, Manager of Gulf Rugby Management said;

“It was clear from our early conversations with Alex that his commitment and dedication to providing a first class service on the reporting of results and coverage of UAE rugby matches was just what we wanted. We are delighted to be working with him to help get timely publication of results and fixtures, including all Mini & Youth fixtures’.

It is sure to be a busy season again for rugby in the UAE and the Gulf. For all the latest news and results don’t forget to follow Yalla Rugby and check in every Friday night for the first look at the weekend results and every Sunday for confirmed results and table standings.

Choosday Chat With UAE Referee Jaco de Wit

 

Jaco de Wit - UAE Rugby Referee

Referee Jaco de Wit talks Sushi, Golf and the Big C with us.

FACT FILE

Age: 27
Born: Prince Albert, South Africa
Level: World Rugby Level 3

“Keeping up with play and his holiday diet… now that’s impressive!”

How’s life in Dubai?

Life is busy, but Dubai is such a great place and full of opportunities.

What’s the best thing about being a UAE referee?

The best thing is being part of improving UAE rugby as a whole and the Dubai 7s is always a special occasion for me.

Do you have any phobias?

Apparently nomophobia (being without my mobile).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I love playing golf and playing on Fifa.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Any international prop… let’s talk scrum time!!

Do you have any nicknames?

Yeah, I get Jakes a lot.

What’s your favourite type of food?

Bring me Salmon Sashimi… I could have Sushi everyday.

If you could be one of the other UAERF referees, who would it be and why?

Norman Drake, keeping up with play and his holiday diet… now that’s impressive!

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

I’d like to be successful in whatever I do and along the way hopefully inspire people to be the best that they can be.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m not too bad at hitting little white balls with an iron stick.

What was the last brunch you went on?

Caramel’s Saturday Brunch. Good wine and the food was not too bad!

What do you miss most about South Africa?

I really miss the farm that I grew up on and Karoo lamb chops.

Do you have any tattoos?

Not yet!

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Tiger Woods, he can tell me all about comebacks. Cristiano Ronaldo, he can share his knowledge of hard work and Jessica Alba, because you have to have some beauty at the table.

Cheers, Jaco. Jaco de Wit is a cancer survivor which unfortunately ended his playing days.

“I obviously had a love for rugby and picking up the whistle was the perfect way of being part of this amazing sport”.

Jaco is one of the UAE Rugby Referees and earlier this year he represented the UAE on the global stage at the Singapore 7s! If you would like to become a UAE rugby ref, then click the button below.

Choosday Chat With Exiles Centre Alice Luckhurst

Alice Luckhurst Dubai exiles u18s gurls

Dubai Exiles U18’s Centre Alice Luckhurst talks travel, tongue skills and the All Black Ferns

FACT FILE

Age: 16
Born: Dubai, UAE
Club: Dubai Exiles
Position: Centre
Height: 169cm

“They lifted our players onto their shoulders for photos, it was really cool.”

What’s been your proudest moment playing rugby in Dubai?

Winning every tournament in the season when I played touch U15’s rugby for the Dubai Exiles.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

In my spare time I like to see friends, go to the beach and do some Wakeboarding and hit the gym.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

When we trained with the Black Ferns (All Blacks Ladies 7s team) rugby squad before last years Dubai 7s, they lifted our players onto their shoulders for photos, it was really cool!

Do you have any phobias?

Crunching! I hate hearing people eat, especially crisps.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I’d love to be able to fly, so I could beat all the traffic!

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

It would be Sami Dronfield. She’s an all round amazing player. Skilful, fast powerful, strong and talented!

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

To graduate, get a degree and to travel the world!

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes, I can fold my tongue into 3. Most people curl their tongue at the front but I can do the sides as well!

Who does the cooking at home?

Mum and Dad usually but my brothers and I enjoy cooking too, especially sushi.

What do you miss most about England?

Family mainly, but I don’t miss that much as I was born here so I see Dubai as my home.

Who’s the best dancer in the Exiles team.

Sophie Millward, she’s got all the moves.

What are the best things about playing for the Exiles?

The best thing about being a member of the Exiles RFC is the social events that happen throughout the year and everyone gets on well with each other. It’s fun and not too serious.

Choosday Chat With Sharks Hooker Armel van Erck

Dubai Sharks hooker Armel van Erck

Dubai Sharks hooker Armel van Erck talks mind reading, broken noses and secret tattoos

FACT FILE

Age: 40
Born: Brussels, Belgium
Club: Dubai Sharks
Position: Hooker
Height: 174cm
Weight: 98kg

“He tried to tackle a bloke with his nose, which ended up getting broken.”

Do you have any nicknames?

I have many… Shorty, Fatty, and Belgie seem to be the most frequent ones used in the changing room!

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Coaching kids’ rugby, cycling, and spending time with my boy, which is the best thing in the world.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

A few years ago, our fullback – Robbo, tried to tackle a bloke with his nose, which ended up getting broken in the process. There is even a picture showing him in mid air with only his nose touching the guy’s heel. [YR – Look what we found!]

broken nose tackle dubai sharks

Do you have any phobias?

I have an irrepressible fear of heights, which is going to make many people chuckle…

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to read people’s minds!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can cook up a pretty good dinner!

Who has the worst dress sense at the Dubai Sharks?

Definitely Philip Smurthwaite (Smurf).

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Probably Dan Griffiths, just to see how life is as a short, fat, angry bloke.

Who does the cooking at home?

Easy. Me. I’m the best at cooking in the house.

What do you miss most about Belgium

The forests and the lakes around where I live, the incredible Belgian food, and obviously, my family.

Do you have any tattoos?

Yes. Enough said. [YR – Must be the French flag!!]

Who would be your three dream dinner guests?

Barack Obama, Sandra Bullock and Sebastian Chabal.

How’s life in Dubai?

Life in Dubai is great! Rugby plays a big part in making life so good here! I’ve made lots of great friendships over the past 13 years that I’ve spent here too.

Choosday Chat With Canes Hooker Max Physick

Max Physick Dubai hurricanes hooker

Dubai Hurricanes hooker Max Physick talks teleportation, life on Mars and budgy smugglers

FACT FILE

Age: 27
Born: Bangor, North Wales
Club: Dubai Hurricanes
Position: Hooker/Flanker
Height: 178cm
Weight: 90kg

“No guilty pleasures, if they’re not guilty.”

Do you have any nicknames?

Not really one specifically but I do get called a few different things like; Maximus, Maxibon, Ant McPartlin.

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Usually picking things up and putting them down again, though I do like to get out skating and paddle boarding.

Do you have any phobias?

Looking at my Emirates NBD messages after a session.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation for sure. Instant global travel and swift Barasti Beach Bar exits.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Harry Hughes because he’s gas…🙄

What’s your guilty pleasure?

No guilty pleasures, if they’re not guilty.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Opening a bottle with pretty much anything.

Who’s the best dancer in the Canes squad?

Josh Elliott. The man’s a weapon on the dance floor.

Who’s in charge of the team music?

Weissenborn usually. It could probably do with a shift change though!

Who’s the tightest?

Tightest? Definitely not Liam Stead, get him drunk and he’ll pay for your night for you. Cheers pal.

What are the best things about the being part of the Dubai Hurricanes?

They’re a sound group of lads to be around, but most important of all…..custom budgy smugglers.

How’s life in Dubai?

Dubai’s great. It has so much to offer in such a beautiful part of the world. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here in the UAE so far. The only downside I would have to say, is living on the surface of Mars for 6 months of the year.

More About The Physick

With a surname that you couldn’t have made up with the profession he’s in, Max is a personal trainer at Embody Fitness, Dubai. He sometimes graces the web pages of Yalla Rugby with his training articles guiding us in the right direction to the sacred six pack journey that we all seek. You can often see him taking dodgy photos of his heath food too. Thanks Max!

Choosday Chat With UAE Referee Tony Duminy

Tony Duminy UAE rugby referee

UAE Referee Tony Duminy talks nicknames, braais and condensed milk

FACT FILE

Age: 37
Born: Uitenhage, South Africa
Level: World Rugby Level 3, Asia Rugby B-Panel & #1 on UAE Premiership Panel.

“I quickly apologised and changed it to a yellow card”

Do you have any nicknames?

I’ve obtained quite a few over the years. You can always tell where someone knows me from simply by which nickname they’re using: TD, TonyD, Smiley, T-Dog, T-Bone and Pastor.

What are your bugbears?

I dislike rude people (and idiots!).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Mostly I get up to entertaining my daughter, but I enjoy playing golf, fishing and cooking up a good braai! (YR: For those not in the know, braai or braaivleis is South African for a picnic or barbecue where meat is grilled over an open fire)

Tony Duminy

What’s been the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

It’s a long list really, but it ranges from players’ expressions when they’ve been stitched up by a team-mate when they’ve been given a hospital pass to the wry smile they give me when they realise they’ve been caught out “bending the laws”, but last year… a premiership fly half made his way to the line out where he wanted to query/complain to the ref (who he knew rather well). This started to create a scene, so the ref simply asked him “are you here to lift?” It broke the ice, everyone laughed and they got on with the game. (YR: Brilliant!)

Whats been your most embarrassing moment during a game?

Once I mistakenly pulled out the red card for repeated infringements, not understanding why the player was so distraught, until the opposition captain said “Reds a bit harsh Mr Ref”. Realising my mistake, I quickly apologised and changed it to a yellow card.

If you could be one of the other UAE Refs, who would it be?

Norman Drake, He’s forever on holiday!

What would you like to achieve outside of refereeing rugby matches?

I’d like to be a good husband and father.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Condense Milk or Caramel Treat. (YR: No strawberries???)

Do you have any hidden talents?

I used to play the guitar pretty well.

What do you miss most about South Africa?

Phuza Thursday, College (schoolboy) rugby derby days, the post match fines and meetings at Buffs and Old Selbonians.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

Teleportation, I spend so much time driving at the moment that it would make life a lot easier if I could just click my fingers and be where I needed to be in an instant, instead of just being stuck in the Dubai traffic.

Who has the worst Dress sense out of the refs?

Oh I’d be the last one to judge on that!

Who do you like to listen to, to get you ready for a big match?

Most commonly Coldplay and Tiësto but I like to change it up a lot.

Choosday Chat With Quins Fly Half Luke Stevenson

Luke Stevenson Harlequins rugby player

Abu Dhabi Harlequins fly half Luke Stevenson talks real ales, Vince McMahon and down time.

FACT FILE

Age: 27
Born: Chester, United Kingdom
Club: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Position: Fly Half
Height: 182cm
Weight: 90kg
UAE 15’s Caps: 3
UAE 7’s Caps: 5

“He thinks he’s Brad Pitt but wears a suit like Vince McMahon”

Who do you like to listen to to get you ready for a big match?

Whatever Murray Reason pulls out the bag, but if he’s not there then either some Oasis or Stereophonics.

What do you miss most about the UK?

I really miss the simple stuff like real ale and proper pubs… and a decent club house!

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

It would have to be Phil Abraham, for having the most seductive voice on the continent.

Who has the worst Dress sense?

Definitely Andrew Powell (Kiwi), he thinks he’s Brad Pitt but wears a suit like Vince McMahon (below) from back in the 90’s.

Vince McMahon

Do you have any hidden talents?

None :(

Do you have any phobias?

Heights, I’m not a fan. I did a bungee jump when I was in New Zealand and have never looked so pathetic.

Who are the jokers at the Harlequins?

Malcolm Greenslade, when he’s not searching eBay for a new Fishing Rod. he turns up occasionally, but when he does he’s painfully good value.

Do you have any nicknames?

None that I know of.

Which team-mate would you most definitely not like to be stranded in the desert with?

Jonathan Stannard – It’s just too painful to see him struggle with no signal for Tinder.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Phil Abraham’s voice.

What’s been the most embarrassing moment on the rugby pitch?

There isn’t one particular moment that I can think of but pretty much anytime I miss an ‘easy’ kick (unfortunately there’s been a few).

What do you get up to in your spare time?

I’m trying to chop my way around the local golf course more at the moment, it’s not going well.

Choosday Chat With Al Ain Ambler’s Hannah Hall

Hannah Hall - Al Ain Amblers Rugby Player

Al Ain Amblers speedster Hannah Hall talks Baywatch style rescues, local driving etiquette and chucking salt

FACT FILE

Age: We don’t ask!
Born: Gloucester, United Kingdom
Club: Al Ain Amblers
Position: Wing/Scrum Half
Height: 158cm
Weight: 49kg

“Simultaneously the scariest and most embarrassing moment of my life!”

What do you get up to in your spare time?

(laughs) Spare time isn’t something I’m familiar with but I try and grab as much time in the gym as possible.

What annoys you?

When I am driving and I give way to someone but they don’t say thank you. Grrrrr!

Do you have any nicknames?

Pocket Rocket. I’m small enough to fit in your pocket and run like a rocket!

Any superstitions?

I have issues with passing someone else on the stairs or dropping salt and having to throw it over my shoulder afterwards. You don’t want to be within a 2 metre radius of me when that happens!

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Do you think The All Blacks would fit in a lift?

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Definitely Courtney because she always looks so stylish.

Who are the jokers at Amblers WRFC?

My entire team! It’s always a laugh a minute with them.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Well I didn’t know I would be any good at playing rugby until 12 months ago so I’d have to say that.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Basking Robbins sundaes, they rock!

Who does the cooking at home?

Me. I do everything.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

Being a good Mum.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I’d like to be able to freeze things… I love the snow!

Most embarrassing moment?

Getting stuck on the rocks as the tide had come in around me, whilst exploring a beach in Sydney. Anyway, to cut a long story short. I had to be rescued, by a lifeguard who looked about twelve years old, in an inflatable dinghy whilst the entire beach watched. Simultaneously the scariest and most embarrassing moment of my life!

Choosday Chat With Dubai Eagles Player Conor Coakley

Conor Coakley Eagles rugby player

Dubai Eagles second row Conor Coakley talks changing room calamities, shares in Snapchat, and dodgy dress sense.

FACT FILE

Age: 33
Born: Arklow, Republic Of Ireland
Club: Dubai Eagles
Position: Second Row
Height: 193cm
Weight: 105kg

“One of my phobias is nuns…. they scare me. I would also have to say I’m a bit of a Trypophobic”

Song to get you pumped for a match?

Rocky Road to Dublin, by The Dubliners.

Who are the jokers at Eagles?

They would have to be Daniel Crumplin, Gorgeous George Agius, Mark Sumner.

Do you have any nicknames?

I have too many to name and none that are flattering.

What annoys you?

Jamie Webb. (Eagles player)

What do you get up to in your spare time when not playing rugby?

I love to travel as we’re pretty much the gateway of the world here in Dubai. I also play guitar, and I sometimes like to give myself motivational talks too.

Do you have any phobias?

One of my phobias is nuns…. they scare me. I would also have to say I’m a bit of a Trypophobic. (We’ll let you look that one up!)

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have one superpower, it would have to be the ability to fly. No more Dubai traffic!!!!

What’s the daftest thing you’ve ever bought?

There’s too many that come to mind… but some shares in Snapchat were probably the daftest thing I’ve bought.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Padraig ‘Podge’ Crowley. We are all only participants in Podge’s world.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Art; I paint. I can also sing in full “Dancing at the Crossroads” by The Wild Swans. Oh and archery, I’m good at that too.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

It wasn’t on the the pitch but in the changing rooms before a big game, circa 2010 for Doha, when Angus Frasier broke his own nose pulling on his sock. (Ouch)

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Joe Rogan, he’s a standup comedian and martial arts commentator.

Who has the worst Dress sense in the Eagles?

There are several contenders but it must be Cameron Dearie for his pointy shoes with spikes. I think he got them from Dragon Mart.