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Rugby U8


Youth - U8



Youth U8  Team


The U8 team is comprised of over 25 members with at least 20 players attending training on a consistent basis. The team has players from the USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England. To be eligible to play for this year's U8 side, a player must have been 6 or 7 years old on 1 September 2011. In tournament play, players who were 6 on 1 September 2011 are eligible to play in the U7 bracket. The team is roughly comprised of half U8 players and half U7 players, with a good mix of girls and boys in each age bracket. 

Our format is "tag" rugby which includes wearing a belt with 2 Velcro tags attached to both sides of the belt at the player's hip. A tackle is made by pulling the tag off the opposition player's belt. The majority of this year's team is playing rugby for the first time. Our main objective at the beginning of the season was to teach the kids the basic skills, including passing, evasive running, and tackling (pulling tags). We tried to teach these skills through drills and games that were intended to keep the kids engaged and help develop an interest in the game for each player. We then quickly went about teaching the kids the rules of the game, including the layout of the field, passing after having a tag pulled and defensive alignment. This season has been about teaching and improvement, while having fun along the way.

In our first tournament of the season, which took place in Abu Dhabi in September, the U8's struggled to a tie and 3 losses. The real game experience, however, proved to be a great learning tool to the team. In our own hosted tournament in Al Ain in mid-December, we entered two U8 sides, with one side winning 2 games and losing 2 before losing out in the cup quarterfinals. The 2nd team of mainly U7 players struggled playing against mostly older opponents. Finally, in the recent Dubai tournament, we entered a U8 side and U7 side. The U8 side went 2 wins, 1 tie and 1 close loss and earned a spot in the cup bracket before losing a close game in the closing minutes. The improvement of the U8 team from the first tournament to now has been incredible. Meanwhile, the U7 side in Dubai finished with 1 win, a tie and 2 losses in bracket play, finishing 3rd in the pool of 5 teams and losing a close game in the plate quarterfinals. Importantly for the U7's, they got an opportunity to compete against kids their own age and by all accounts had a great day scoring tries and pulling tags. 

The highlight of the season was the opportunity extended to the Al Ain U8 team to play an exhibition match on the main pitch at the Dubai Sevens International 7's tournament. Along with three clubs from Dubai, the team played a short match in front of 40,000 screaming fans and was honored with medals afterwards. It was a great day for all and an experience the players and their parents will never forget. The U8's represented the Al Ain Rugby Club with pride on the biggest stage possible in the UAE.

The team is coached by Tom Kyle and Majid Al Qasimi. Our training sessions are run from 5:00pm to 6:00pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. Many of the parents are actively involved in the team and the training sessions. Particular note goes to Trevor Henderson and Tito Quinlan who have stepped in on a regular basis all season long to help with coaching at training sessions and tournaments.

The goal for the remainder of the season will be to continue improving our overall team ability while introducing additional rugby skills such as kicking and spin passes – all the while having fun and helping the kids develop a love of the game.