Bath Rugby Community team visited Dubai for the Club’s first international engagement initiative in December 2019. Rugby is a rapidly growing sport in the UAE and participation rates among grassroots clubs is huge, creating an exciting opportunity for Bath Rugby to assist and help facilitate this growth.
Throughout the week Bath Rugby delivered coaching sessions and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshops with local grassroots clubs and completed a five-day coaching camp for local children and conducted a live video Q&A for rugby-mad students with England World-Cup stars Anthony Watson, Sam Underhill, Ruaridh McConnochie and Jonathon Joseph.
The appetite and talent shown at local grassroots was hugely impressive, coupled with outstanding facilities across Dubai. Bath Rugby worked very closely with Dubai Knights Eagles RFC based at Sports City and delivered their last sessions of 2019 for their mini and junior age groups. The RFU qualified coaches also worked with the local coaches, delivering CPD workshops during these sessions. After discussions with senior figures at the club, Bath Rugby will look to form a close relationship with Dubai Knights Eagles and Sports City in the future.
Bath Rugby also formed a partnership with Nord Anglia International School in Dubai, hosting the five-day coaching camp using their facilities. Just under 2000 students’ study at Nord Anglia, largely made up of expats from England, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The 40 children who attended focused on technical and tactical aspects of the game, as well as focusing on specific skills and techniques.
Bath Rugby’s Community Engagement Manager Tom Giles expressed his delight at the successful trip: “We are so pleased to be able to hold our first international community initiative in Dubai. The huge appetite for rugby in the UAE is extremely exciting and we look forward to strengthening our relationships with key stakeholders and partners in 2020. A big thank you has to go out to all that made us feel so welcome during our time there, especially Dubai Knights Eagles RFC, Nord Anglia International School and the UAE Rugby Federation.”
In addition to the coaching elements, these lucky children had the opportunity to speak to Bath Rugby’s England World-Cup stars who dialled in from Farleigh House back in Bath. With many of these children looking to attend a UK college or university for higher education, we look forward to offering these students an insight into elite rugby schools at our summer residentials.
Bath Rugby had a very positive meeting with UAE Rugby Federation during this week, who were extremely supportive of our work and intentions in Dubai. The club have gifted official signed shirts to key partners in Dubai who will be proudly displaying blue, black in white in offices, clubhouses and schools. It is the beginning of an exciting long-term plan with intensions to develop these links throughout 2020 and beyond.