Barbarians ready to provide stern test for UAE Rugby

Matt Jones 19:36 26/04/2017
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Abu Dhabi Harlequins coach Mike McFarlane (r) leads the Barbarians.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins coach Mike McFarlane will have some of the best players from around the UAE Premiership in his Premiership Barbarians XV squad as they prepare to offer a stern test to the UAE ahead of next month’s Asia Rugby Championship series.

Apollo Perelini’s men will face the Barbarians on Friday at Sharjah Wanderers Sports Club following the conclusion of the club’s annual Sharjah 10s tournament.

The side will provide a stern test ahead of Division I games against Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines – with the winner of the tournament offered a place in the promotion-relegation play-off to play against either Japan, South Korea or Hong Kong for a chance to climb into the top tier ARC next season.

The UAE were not at their best against the Conference Barbarians last week, with a late rally seeing them stir from a five point deficit in the final quarter of the game as they eventually won 36-24.

And it will only get harder this week, with the likes of Quins’ pair Andrew Semple and Patrick Jenkinson, Abu Dhabi Saracens prop Craig Nutt, Jebel Ali Dragons duo Matt Henry and Sakiusa Naisau and Dubai Hurricanes winger Ian Overton selected by McFarlane.

“It’s a great opportunity to work with some top players whilst giving the national team a good test,” said McFarlane, whose Quins side won an unprecedented five trophies this season.

“I’m sure some of the players in the Premiership select who qualify soon will want to show themselves in the best light possible and make a point for selection in the future.

“The over-arching goal is to ensure the national team have the best preparation as possible to be as successful as possible in the Asia Rugby Championship.”

Friday’s game kicks off at 19:00.

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