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Emirates News Agency – Abu Dhabi Youth Rugby announces opening of registration for 2023-24 season, unveils plans for second year


ABU DHABI, 27th June, 2023 (WAM) — Little Blacks Abu Dhabi (SBAD) – the official youth rugby program of the UAE capital licensed by New Zealand Rugby – has announced that it will start on 4th September A fun and action-packed second year.

The 2023-2024 calendar also includes introductory free open houses on August 31 and September 1; five SBAD skills camps throughout the year; and 2022-23 World Series Champions – All Black Sevens and Black Ferns The women’s sevens team demos and trains together; the junior doubles championship is the first of its kind at the club to build a wider UAE championship. The event will invite teams from 8 affiliated clubs, and it is expected that 300 children will participate every week. The U6, U7 and U8 age groups will compete in 10 weekends, allowing younger age groups to have more opportunities to participate.

The U9-U14 age groups will continue to compete in the UAE Rugby Federation Championships and friendlies from October 2023 to March 2024. In the 2023-24 season, the number of inter-club matches will be increased to more than 30 to provide more young people with the opportunity to play rugby in the UAE.

Weekly girls’ lessons continue for girls aged 14 and under, while mixed lessons run for all ages from U4 to U14, providing equal opportunities for everyone in the club.

SBAD has played a vital role in increasing participation in rugby in the UAE. Last year, SBAD hosted more than 10 rugby festivals, each with 200 rugby participants, while its 3-team women’s corps took part in 10 matches across the UAE.

John Lakins, Director of Sports at Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports Centre, said: “In line with the vision of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the aim of our rugby program is to promote engagement and fun while providing as much as possible for young children. opportunity to play.”

“After a successful first year with the club producing 21 junior teams, the second year we will focus on growing our rugby community to include children of all genders, experience levels, size or shape.”

“We are excited to expand our sponsor portfolio and welcome the Kip McGrath Education Center to the SBAD family as a Gold Sponsor for the program.”

Claire Hetherington, Director of Kip McGrath Education Centre, added: “As Abu Dhabi’s leading English and Maths tutoring centre, we are delighted to be partnering with the Abu Dhabi Little Blacks to ensure bright futures for the children in our community!”

SBAD made history in 2022 as New Zealand Rugby (NZR)’s only officially licensed rugby program outside New Zealand and quickly became the fastest growing rugby club in the UAE.

In its first year, SBAD saw an influx of over 300 boys and girls, with age groups ranging from U4 to U14. They are managed by 23 qualified coaches with at least World Rugby Level 1 coaching certification and the team is led by Aaron Persico, who has represented Italy 56 times and played in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Under the leadership of Persico and his team, SBAD promotes three pillars of coaching: Engagement, Creating a Positive Environment, and Respect.

“This inclusive approach has enabled the growth of the SBAD program by placing a greater emphasis on participation, enjoyment and community building,” commented Persico.


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