Abu Dhabi's youth rugby programme announces opening registrations for 2023-24 season

Small Blacks Abu Dhabi (SBAD) - the UAE capital's Official Youth Rugby Programme licenced by New Zealand Rugby - has announced plans for its second fun and action-packed year which begins 4th September.

ANI | United Arab Emirates

Updated: 28-06-2023 07:45 IST | Created: 28-06-2023 07:45 IST

Image Credit: ANI

Dubai [UAE], June 28 (ANI/WAM): Small Blacks Abu Dhabi (SBAD) - the UAE capital's Official Youth Rugby Programme licenced by New Zealand Rugby - has announced plans for its second fun and action-packed year which begins 4th September. The 2023-2024 calendar also includes introductory, free, Open Days on 31st August and 1st September; five SBAD skills camps throughout the year; demonstration and training days with the 2022-23 World Series Champions - All Blacks Sevens Men's squad and Black Ferns Women's Sevens squad; and the junior tag tournament, which is a first-of-its-kind offering from the club aimed at creating a wider UAE championship. The tournament will invite teams from 8 affiliated clubs and expect an attendance of 300 kids per week to compete in U6, U7 and U8 age groups across 10 weekends giving the younger age groups more opportunities for participation.

The U9-U14 age groups will continue to feature in the UAE Rugby Federation tournaments and friendly matches from October 2023 to March 2024. The number of inter-club games will be raised to over 30 for the 2023-24 campaign to give even more youngsters the opportunity to play rugby in the UAE. The weekly girls' sessions continue for girls aged 14 and under, while mixed sessions are run at all age groups from U4 to U14 to provide equal opportunities for everyone at the club.

SBAD played a crucial role in growing rugby participation in the UAE. Over the past year, SBAD has hosted over 10 rugby festivals with each featuring 200 rugby participants while its girls' group, which comprises 3 teams, participated in 10 tournaments throughout the UAE. John Larkins, Director of Sport at Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub, said, "Further to Abu Dhabi Sports Council's vision, the target for our rugby program is to promote participation and fun while providing as many accessible playing opportunities to young kids."

"After a successful first year that produced 21 junior teams across the club, year two will focus on growing our rugby communities across children of all gender, experience levels, shapes or size." "We're thrilled to expand our sponsor portfolio and welcome Kip McGrath Education Centres to the SBAD family as gold sponsors of the programme."

Claire Hetherington, Director, of Kip McGrath Education Centres, added, "As the leading English and Mathematics tuition Centre in Abu Dhabi, we are excited to partner with the Small Blacks Abu Dhabi to ensure a bright future for the children of the community!" SBAD made history in 2022 as New Zealand Rugby's (NZR) only officially licensed rugby programme outside of New Zealand and has quickly established itself as the UAE's fastest growing rugby club.

More than 300 boys and girls flocked to SBAD in its inaugural year, with age groups running from U4-U14. They play under 23 qualified coaches with a minimum of World Rugby Level 1 coaching certification, with the team headed up by Aaron Persico, who represented Italy 56 times and played at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Under Persico and his team, SBAD promotes three coaching pillars: engagement, fostering of a positive environment and respect.

"This inclusive approach has enabled the SBAD programme to grow by placing greater emphasis on participation, enjoyment, and community building," commented Persico. (ANI/WAM)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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MathematicsPersicoAbu Dhabi Sports Council'sDubaiOfficial Youth Rugby ProgrammeClaire HetheringtonKip McGrath Education CentresSevensSBADWorld Series Champions - AllItalyAaron PersicoNew ZealandJohn LarkinsAbu Dhabi'sBlack Ferns Women'sEnglishWorld CupWorld Rugby Level 1Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub

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