General Club News

Director of Rugby’s Welcome to 2019/2020 Season

It is my pleasure to welcome the Sarries Family, old and new, to the 2019/20 Season! A lot has gone on behind the scenes since the end of last season. I’d like to say in the ‘off season’, but to be honest for the committee and many others there really hasn’t been one!

This season sees the Abu Dhabi Saracens Rugby Club better prepared than ever before. As I’ve said many times, and will continue to do so, rugby clubs exist for rugby players. It is my job, and pleasure, to ensure our players are given every opportunity to be the best they can be by providing all resources within our means to achieve this.

As always, our mantra of ‘club, team, me’ defines a Saracens Rugby Player. Rugby is bigger and better than all of us. There are few, if any, games that demand so much of a person physically, mentally and socially. It is called Rugby ‘UNION’ which means we exist within this club to look after each other. We put the needs of our Sarries Family before those of ourselves. Rugby challenges every aspect of us and this season, like others, will test every one of us.

Many will go through challenging personal matters, some will be frustrated, and some will be excited and happy. OUR Sarries Rugby UNION will always be there to stand behind and support every Saracen. Remember, OUR club and YOUR team is what gives you the support that defines our club.

One club, one family.

With all that said, it is my pleasure to formally introduce you to the coaching team and expectations for this upcoming season.

It is my privilege to remain as Director of Rugby / Head Coach. This is something I’m extremely passionate, proud and committed to. Since joining Sarries in 2013, coaching in 2014, and taking over the role of Director of Rugby and Head Coach in 2016, I believe the initiatives and direction myself and the committee(s) have worked towards are truly bearing fruit today.

Luca Mene has once again eagerly accepted the position of Ladies Team Coach. Luca’s personality and passion for the Ladies’ Team is truly inspiring and shares our combined goal of lifting a trophy this season.

This season we will see a new addition to the Ladies’ coaching team. Siphato Quinisile (AKA: Phanta), from South Africa, will be assisting Luca. Phanta’s experience comes from top level provincial rugby for the Lions in South Africa, as well as much experience playing in the UAE Premiership.

For the Men’s Team, I am proud and excited to welcome Jason Brown, Steve De Maré and Farrell Jacobs as Assistant Coaches.

Jason Brown who grew up in Pontypridd, South Wales will be our backline coach. As a player he played alongside the likes of Neil Jenkins at Pontypridd RFC, and then Rhydyfelin RFC before joining the Royal Air Force in 1990. In addition, he was selected to represent County level in Wales. Other accolades include U21s for the Royal Air Force and Chippenham RFC. Unfortunately, Jason had to end his playing career due to an injury at the age of 25 years old. On the positive side, this injury then allowed the making of a young coach as he completed his IRB Level 3 in 2003, and quickly moved on as a Backs Coach for Treorchy RFC. After this, he was appointed Head Coach for the RAF Wolves Divisional team where he won consecutive seasons. In 2007 he was appointed Head Coach for the RAF Academy, leading them to unprecedented success by winning the George Crawford Cup and the Buckinghamshire Trophy the following year. Jason then went on to become Backs Coach to the Welsh RAF Seniors. During these years he was appointed Head Coach to the Combined Services for the UK Military where he was victorious at Twickenham Stadium two out of three years. After leaving the RAF, Jason went on to become the Backs Coach of the Welsh side, Taffs Well, winning the Welsh Division 3 as Champions and a narrowly beaten finalist in the Welsh Bowl at the Principality Stadium.

Steve De Maré who joins us from Belgium will be our second team coach. In Belgium, Steve was coaching First Grade standard in the respective European Leagues. As a player, Steve began his career after a mis-placed bet at a bar in 1998! From there he remained a one-club-man playing for 9 Heusden Zolder and relished playing in the second and back row, then eventually playing for the Belgium national team. Steve played for undefeated teams, winning titles until his playing career came to an end in 2010 when his coaching began. As a coach, Steve holds his IRB Level 2 and began coaching Colts teams and was quickly promoted to the clubs first grade ladies team. In addition to his achievements, Steve recently attended an international coaching masterclass by the Belgium national coach. Steve said “No matter how talented and good you are, this is the ultimate team sport, and teams are formed on and off the pitch.” We think Steve will make a great addition to the Sarries family as this is what we are all about!

Last, but not least, we also welcome Farrell Jacobs to the coaching side of the Sarries. Farrell has spent the last two years playing on the pitch, but due to injury last season he will be stepping to the sidelines to help as Forwards Coach. Farrell, from South Africa, played first grade Premiership rugby in Cape Town, as well as earning provincial honours. He began his coaching at the University of Cape Town and now holds his IRB Level 2. We’re sad to see him leave the front row, but look forward to him bringing his valuable experience to the club.

This year we have entered two Sarries teams into the Dubai Sevens Rugby Tournament; Men’s Gulf Division 1 (the same division in which we are playing in the regular season) and the Ladies Gulf Open. The Veterans 10’s will be self-determined and organised by Andrew Parker.

I have asked Stefan Van Zyl to lead our Men’s 7’s Campaign this year. Since joining Sarries, Stefan is, and has been, quite specialised in 7’s and is a highly sought-after player for the experienced and professional invitational teams. Needless to say, Stefan and I are seeking to lift Sarries’ 7’s to the same standards we demand of ourselves in the regular season.

With the coaching staff we have this year, as well as the potential to bring in overseas specialist coaches if needed, we are again solely focused on providing our players with the best resources to be the best they can be. I am asking all Sarries players to put playing for Saracens as their first priority. We appreciate that many have offers to play for social teams, but I hope this year we can continue to reach our full potential as a club and also strive to lift a trophy in multiple competitions.

Updates from the ‘off season’:

  • All tackle bags and bump pads have been repaired and handles restitched.
  • A brand new scrum machine is in the process of being built and delivered as soon as possible.
  • Brand new, top quality Saracens branded Gilbert rugby balls have been purchased.
  • After many talks with Al Ghazal and relevant Abu Dhabi municipality departments, all the lights on the pitch have been completely replaced.
  • The pitch has been resurfaced and levelled out.
  • A second men’s team has been reintroduced to offer all Sarries players the honour of wearing a jersey with pride.

Our website will always be your first place for official announcements, such as events and team selections. Please refer to it first and foremost.

Now, I guess all that is left to say is… let’s get this new season started!

Press Release: Abu Dhabi Saracens Rugby Club Season 2019/20 Announcement

ABU DHABI SARACENS RUGBY CLUB is set to begin the 2019/20 Season stronger than expected with new coaches, new players and improved facilities.

From a revitalised 2018/19 campaign the changes and refocus of everyone at ADS has seen the club move into the 2019/20 season well ahead of schedule. Director of Rugby and Head Coach Peter Henderson has admitted it’s all been extremely positive. He explains,

“When I took over the role 2 years ago I was more or less thrown into it. That first year was survival, I can’t deny it. Sarries needed to change direction with respect to how we did things, who we are and what we’re all about. That included some tough decisions hence I put in place a 4 year plan. First of all was to reduce to a 1 team club and bring back traditional rugby values. I was planning on growing us back to 2 teams in the 2020/21 season but in light of the unprecedented number of new players, recruitment drive as well as amazing new coaches we are proud to be in a position to extend Sarries Rugby back to 2 teams.”

The Abu Dhabi Saracens Men’s XV team after an amazing 2019/20 season

Last year ADS played in the Conference League (now referred to as “Division 1”) winning 11 out of their 13 games. While in second place on equal points with Al Ain in Pool B but behind on points difference, by virtue of the pool system the only two teams to defeat Sarries went into the final as did the top two teams from pool A thus making up the other four finalists.

“It was a bitter pill to swallow to have worked so hard but that’s rugby. Some days you’re the pigeon and other days the statue”, Henderson says. “The Dubai Tigers were worthy winners as were all teams who went in to the final series. We have full respect for the competition structure and all our opponents. This year is a different structure and we’re expecting to deliver well prepared and exciting rugby to the competition. We’re incredibly proud to be able to field teams in both Division 1 and Division 2.”

Numbers at training have continued to swell week by week hence the decision to enter a 2nd team into the Division 2 competition. When asked to explain the decision new Chairman Joe Cervantes stated that,

“With more than enough players for 1 team I proposed to the committee that we simply cannot deny players who train and pay their subs the chance to play. Sarries exists to grow rugby in Abu Dhabi and the UAE in the style and traditions that only a rugby club can. We’ll always welcome players of any ability. Gulf Rugby Management have been very supportive as well. We’re proud of where we’ve come from these past few years.”

Numbers at training have continued to swell week by week

ADS proudly welcomes 3 new assistant coaches to their staff. Jason Brown hails from South Wales and brings with him his immense experience as a successful Head Coach of the Combined Services for the UK Military to round off his previous roles at other top level RAF and Military teams as both a player and coach. Steve Da Maré joins ADS from Belgium where he played for the Belgium National Team and later went on to coach at the national level in Colts and Ladies divisions. Finally, Farrell Jacobs joins the coaching team as a retired Sarries 1st grade player and now forwards coach. Farrell’s experience stems from South Africa where he played 1st grade Premiership Rugby in Cape Town as well Provincial honours. He went on to begin his coaching at the University of Cape Town before returning to the pitch to play again when work bought him to the Middle East. All our new and current coaches bring with them an unbridled wealth of experience from all parts of the globe and at those respective top levels.

Also Abu Dhabi Saracens will once again be entering a Ladies Team into the UAE Ladies Competition. Coaches Luca Mene and Dave Jones return to an ever growing squad.

“The Ladies Team has a great mix of experienced players and new comers – but it’s the atmosphere they bring to the Club that is what really is remarkable. We’re going from strength to strength again this year,” Coach Luca wanted to point out.

Saracens Ladies Squad 2018/19

Director of Rugby Peter Henderson affirms that,

“Our job is to provide the players with the best we can to allow them to be the best they can be. We pool our collective experience to deliver a singular coaching structure that is player focussed and open attacking rugby orientated. I want the players playing with smiles on their faces: that the work pays off and they’re having fun out there. If we as a Club do that then the results will follow.”

ADS home ground at Al Ghazal has also undergone big improvements. The pitch has had all lighting fixtures completely replaced and the pitch is being levelled ready for the start of the season.

Chairman Joe Cervantes points out,

“Al Ghazal and Sarries have a great partnership, as do all our sponsorship partners, with MediClinic being our main sponsor this season. They welcome the brand of complete inclusion that is what Sarries is all about. Abu Dhabi Saracens offers what no other rugby club in the UAE can by virtue of sideline adult drinks service during the games to a well stocked BBQ / Braai and Murphy’s above the club house. We’re happy to have such great partners sharing the same philosophy as us.”

Abu Dhabi Saracens Rugby Club’s home ground is at Al Ghazal Golf Club. In the regular season they train every Monday & Wednesday nights from 7 pm until 8.30 pm. Interested players or social members can visit our website at https://www.saracens.ae and contact headcoach@saracens.ae for more information.

2019 Pre-Season Training in progress!

PRE-SEASON TRAINING HAS BEGUN

With the 2019-2020 season looming closer every day the Saracens mens and ladies teams have taken back to the pitch for pre-season training. The summer training schedule has a heavy focus on fitness and strength & conditioning training. The drive and effort the men and ladies have shown so far has been extremely impressive, even in the 40 degree heat. It is evident that all players are hungry for a win next year and with the level of rugby that has been shown so far this is looking well within our reach.

In less than three weeks of pre-season we have welcome a significant amount of new players and the standard of rugby is higher than we have seen at this stage of the season in years. If you are interested in joining please register your details through our form.

Our training would not be possible without the endless support of our sponsors, namely Al Ghazal Golf Club and Vanity Fitness.

Pre-Season training schedule:

  • Mondays: 7-8:30pm at Al Ghazal Golf Club
  • Wednesdays: 7-8:30pm at Al Ghazal Golf Club
  • Fridays: 10-11am at Vanity Fitness

A Welcome From Our New Chairman

Saracens Social Touch Rugby is back!

The league has come to an end which means one thing.. its social touch time again!!

Come join us on the 15th April for our first session. Whether you’ve never played before, or are a touch pro, all abilities are welcome! So invite your mates and spread the word- lets make this years touch season even bigger.
We will run a grab a bib and play set up so you will have the chance to play with a range of people each week. The price is 20AED, play before your pay.

There may only be one winner, but in touch everyones a winner so we shall all be celebrating after in Murphys pub- come join for some top quality food, beverages and chat.

Cant wait to see you then! If you have any more questions contact us on our page or Michelle on +971552013475 or get in touch on the facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/849534962065893/

Men’s XV to take on Dubai Hurricanes

Get down to Al Ghazal for our 4pm kick-off this Friday! Sarries XV mens team are taking on the Hurricanes on our home turf.

Its been a 5 match winning streak and we have no intention of slowing down. With two matches left until play offs, and the Hurricanes only three points ahead in the league, our men need all the home support we can gather!! Lets go Sarries!!

As always, the pitch will be kitted out with a spectators stand, pitch-side bar, Abu Dhabi’s best brai-ers and a playground for the kiddos. Celebrations will carry on in Murphy’s sports bar where rumour has it our ladies team will be joining in full swing after their tournament in Sharjah. Cheers cheers cheers!

Training Update: 08.02

Sarries Players,

There will be no training tomorrow Friday, 8th February. We’ve trained hard and played well thus far. Taking a weekend off to enjoy time with family, friends & team mates can be and is just as important to what we do on the pitch. (Also, beer plays a large part in rugby!)

Enjoy the weekend off & have fun! I hope to see everyone ready to go next week at training as we prepare for our game against the Dubai Hurricanes next Friday, 15th February at Al Ghazal.

CLUB – TEAM – ME

Training Update: 06.02

Dear all players,

Training this Wednesday will be from 7.30-9pm.

Due to a booking on the pitch training will not start until 7:30pm on Wednesday 06.02.

Thanks, Coach Peter

Training update: 04.02

Dear all Men’s XV team,

Due to there being no match this coming weekend, there will be no training today, 04.02.2019. Hope you are all recovering well from last Friday’s match. Training will resume again on Wednesday.

Women’s training will still be on tonight and they are looking for some volunteers from the mens team to assist. If you are fit enough please do volunteer to assist.

Thanks, Coach Peter.

Men’s XV will take on the Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Our Men’s XV Team will be defending our home ground in this weekends Abu Dhabi derby.

Come join us for one of the biggest matches of the year! Abu Dhabi Saracens will take on the Harlequins at Al Ghazal Golf Club. Kick off is at 5pm. Al Ghazal is kitted out with a spectators stand, a pitch side bar, a playground for the kiddos and Murphys sports bar for post match celebrations. A great day out for the whole family!