Abu DhabiI Saracens Boosted by Link up with English Cohorts
UAE rugby as a whole can benefit from a new link up between Abu Dhabi Saracens and their famous English namesakes, according to the club’s director of rugby Steve Botha.
Part of the arrangement will see the English Premiership club regularly send coaches to the capital, and Botha feels that can only improve the standard of rugby in the UAE and help integrate the game into local sporting culture.
“The formal association with Saracens is fantastic news for UAE rugby because it will create opportunities for young players,” explained the South African.
“It’s also great news for us, as a club, because we will enjoy the benefits of sharing in the most innovative and fastest growing brand in world rugby.
“The regular visits by Saracens coaches and staff will inspire our youngsters to realise their full potential, both as people and players, and provide a strong boost to the evolving rugby culture in the Middle East.”
That sentiment was echoed by Nigel Wray, chairman of the English club, who were Premiership champions in 2011. He said: “We are delighted Abu Dhabi Saracens have joined the newly formed global network of Saracens clubs, and we look forward to helping Abu Dhabi Saracens prosper both on the field, leading the way in Emirates rugby, and off the field, running programmes that support their community.”
The partnership, which will wear the same colours as the Premiership club, has helped enhance a feelgood factor at the club with them enjoying good numbers so far in pre-season.
Indeed, a number of players have already switched from the city rivals Harlequins ahead of the new campaign. Dave Jackson, CEO of the Abu Dhabi outfit, said the deal was a measure of how far the club has progressed in recent years and their commitment to the future.
He said: “This is a proud achievement for our club and for our wonderful city of Abu Dhabi. It is an honour for Abu Dhabi Saracens to be included in the Saracens global network. Over the past two years, we have grown in stature as a family and community club with aspirations of playing excellent rugby while maintaining the community spirit.”