Roelof Kotze confident UAE Under-20’s can shine in Malaysia

Roelof Kotze says his new-look UAE Under-20’s squad have bought into his philosophy and are thoroughly focused on success in the Asia Rugby Under-20 Sevens Series.

 

 

by Matt Jones

Thursday 13 August 2015

Man in charge: Roelof Kotze.

Man in charge: Roelof Kotze.

Roelof Kotze says his new-look UAE Under-20’s squad have bought into his philosophy and are thoroughly focused on success in the Asia Rugby Under-20 Sevens Series.

The youngsters arrive in Malaysia today ahead of the first of two legs where the UAE will be hoping to finish among the medals.

Kotze, 45, says he is happy with his 13-man squad and believes he has a good blend capable of success in Malaysia.

“We have a well balanced team that’s come together nicely over the last few weeks,” Kotze told Sport360 ahead of jetting off to the Far East on Wednesday.

.@uaerugby announce 13-man Asia Sevens Series squad, incl. 8 Emiratis.@MattJones360 reports: http://t.co/Lup1XiLLNa pic.twitter.com/iGavLIIlcl

— Sport360° (@Sport360) August 11, 2015

“We have big strong forwards, pace in the backs and skill in the middle. Confidence is high. I believe I have a blend that can be successful.”

The UAE will play hosts Malaysia, Singapore and Kazakhstan in Pool 1. Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka and Thailand are in Pool 2.

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The South African said: “We’ve played Malaysia a few times so know what they’re all about and we know Kazakhstan will be big, strong and physical.”

He believes the whole team is on the same wavelength. “I want to be successful but that’s not just my goal, the guys want to do well, they’ve really bought into it. They’re really focused on getting it done,” he added.

"They’re really focused on getting it done" - Kotze

Expat trio Kip Chirchir, Tomasi Tirikula and Devante Steele are excited to represent their adopted country.

Kenyan forward Chirchir, 18, said: “I’m ecstatic about this opportunity. We’re well prepared due to all the training we have done. We have a chance and I’m confident we may be able to improve our ranking and win.”

Fijian hooker Tirikula, 17, said: “It’s wonderful to be selected. I’m grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to doing my best and helping the team win.”

American centre Steele, 18 and a fellow Ambler, added: “I’m pumped for making the team. I’m just going to try my best to stay focused and play to the best of my ability.”

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