Apollo Perelini ready for new challenge as UAE head to Asia Rugby Development Sevens Series

Apollo Perelini will take charge of his first competitive game as UAE rugby performance manager today as his team get their Asia Rugby Development Sevens Series underway in India.

 

 

by Matt Jones
20th February 2016

 

Building block: Charlie Sargent.

Building block: Charlie Sargent.

Apollo Perelini will take charge of his first competitive game as UAE rugby performance manager today as his team get their Asia Rugby Development Sevens Series underway in India.

Despite ending Roelof Kotze’s tenure on a high last October with a top-eight finish in the 2015 Asia Rugby Sevens Series (ARSS), which should have guaranteed their participation in the competition later this year, the UAE have it all to do again in Chennai.

 

Perelini’s men have, however, been seeded number one in the 15-team tournament, with the winner gaining promotion to the 2016 ARSS, which will be played over three legs in Hong Kong, Korea and Sri Lanka.

Despite the fact the huge progress made last year has been made largely redundant, the players say there is a great vibe in the camp since Perelini’s appointment in October after Kotze returned to South Africa to work for the Pumas.

“We’re all feeling pretty good about this tournament. Personally I’m not annoyed and I think it’s good for us to start back up again in this tournament and use it as a building block,” said Dubai Exiles winger Charlie Sargent.

“There are a couple of new, young faces in the senior side so I think this tournament will be a good introduction for them.”

His comments were echoed by Jebel Ali Dragons duo Ian Overton and Niall Statham.

“It’s annoying as we worked so hard (last year) but it’s just another tournament to show how much progress we’ve made,” said Welshman Overton.

“It’s a bit frustrating because we battled so hard in the other tournaments and achieved some big results, but we’re number one seed for this tournament so winning this is the only thing that matters now,” added Statham, who led the UAE to glory as skipper last year.

The UAE have been drawn in Pool A along with old foes the Philippines, as well as hosts India, Nepal and Syria. They play Nepal in their opening game today and also face the Philippines and Syria on day one before taking on India and the knockout rounds tomorrow.

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