Ahead of this weekend’s world renowned Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, global title partner HSBC felt it only fitting to bring together two former heavyweight rivals to the UAE – Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll and South Africa speedster Bryan Habana.
The pair are at the Sevens this weekend to launch a timetable of inspiring coaching clinics in the fan village aimed at accelerating the development of young rugby talent in the UAE.
Fifteen lucky schoolchildren were thrilled to find former British & Irish Lions centre O’Driscoll and Springboks winger Habana waiting for them on the pop-up pitch, with the two legends joining local coaches to sprinkle their rugby wisdom on the rookie youngsters, in the first of 11 high-paced, energetic coaching clinics to run across the weekend.
In a year where rugby has been added to the national curriculum in the UAE, the coaching clinics form part of the banks continued efforts to support the growth of rugby in the Middle East, with children aged eight-16 able to sign up for the introductory rugby tasters at any point during the weekend.
Those interested in taking part simply need to visit the pop-up pitch with a parent or guardian and register their interest, where they will receive a time slot for them to return to strap on their trainers and get involved on a first come first served basis.
Speaking at the launch of the HSBC skills zone, Habana, international rugby’s second highest ever tryscorer with 67, said: “To continue growing, it’s important that rugby is always looking to reach out to new players and new fans.
“Starting with the next generation is crucial, which is why I’m excited to hear that rugby has been added to the national curriculum here in the UAE for the first time.”
O’Driscoll, who is Ireland’s leading appearance maker with 133 caps and eighth on the all-time tries list with 47, added: “Rugby sevens is the perfect format for attracting kids to the game.
“Coaching clinics like this are being run by HSBC across the weekend. Encouraging them to have fun with their friends and give rugby a go.”
In 2018, HSBC had over 100,00 children participating in grassroots rugby initiatives globally with many of those involved coming from the UAE. A total of 36,576 children went through the UAE Rugby Federation’s Player Pathway Programme in 2018, of which 16,970 were girls.
The HSBC coaching clinics will run on a first come first served basis at the following times on Saturday, December 1: 11.00 – coaching clinic; 13.00 – coaching clinic; 15.00 – coaching clinic (13-16); 16.00 – coaching clinic; 18.00 – close.
To learn more, follow @HSBC_Sport on Twitter and Instagram and HSBC Sport on Facebook.
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