Maximilian Foussat and Yanel Fremoit (with scrum cap) celebrate
The Dubai Exiles Under 12 rugby side swept the UAE domestic honours board this season. 2022-23 got off to a blinder with the young men of the Under 12s winning both the Cup Final and the Bowl Final at the Abu Dhabi Tournament in November. In early January it was the Al Ain tournament. Our young men once again climbed the proverbial mountain and left the garden city with a Cup Final win.
The last weekend in January it was the annual HSBC Mini & Youth Rugby Festival, the largest mini & youth rugby festival in the region, sponsored by the Exiles‘ Youth Development Partner, HSBC Bank Middle East. When the final whistle blew to signal the end of that tournament, the Dubai Exiles Under 12s had once again left the pitch with another Cup Final win.
Hussain Abbas warms up for the A-League final
Edric Gruere warms up his passing hands
As the season drew to a close it was the UAE A-League final and another trip up the E66 to the oasis that is Al Ain Amblers Rugby Football Club. The final was contested against the Dubai Tigers, the only side to defeat the Dubai Exiles Under 12s throughout 2022-23. Everybody in Al Ain that Saturday afternoon was expecting quite a rugby match!
Noah Sprenger practices some evasive running against the Tigers in the A-League Final
Following on from the B-League final between the Sharks and the Abu Dhabi Harlequins, the UAE Under 12 A-League final got off to a cagey start with both sides feeling out each other’s defence. From the very beginning of the game both teams were well organised and showing structure and knowledge beyond their years.
Scrum time for Aman Manuel
Head Coach, James Barnard, gives the half-time talk
It was the young men of Dubai Exiles who were the first to register on the scoreboard. Noah Sprenger found some space and showed a clean pair of heels as he rounded the scrambling Tigers‘ defence for the first score. Converted by Noah. 7 – 0 to the Exiles Under 12s.
It took a little while before the scoreboard was called into action once more. Both teams attacking and defending well before a quickly taken penalty put the ball into the hands of Kai Ani. The fleet footed and speedy youngster showed great footwork to get outside of the on-rushing Tigers defenders and some significant skill to beat the last covering defender. Converted. 14 – 0 to the Exiles Under 12s.
Kai Ani gets his name on the scoreboard
Exiles Under 12s Season 2022-23
2022-23 was a tremendous season of rugby for the Dubai Exiles Under 12s:
- Abu Dhabi Tournament – Cup Winners
- Abu Dhabi Tournament – Bowl Winners
- Al Ain Tournament – Cup Winners
- HSBC Mini & Youth Rugby Festival – Cup Winners
- UAE – A-League Winners
- UAE Champions 2022-23
Zade Malas surveys the Tigers’ attack
Amon Fedyunin had a barnstorming game
When Tiago Van Eeden ran in the Exiles‘ third try, the young men-in-black were beginning to look dominant and good value for this season’s Under 12 A-League final. 19 – 0 to the Exiles Under 12s.
The young Exiles were playing very well. They clearly understood and implemented the structure that had been instilled into them by Head Coach James Barnard along with coaches Razeen Manual, Karl Ward and Frederik Foussat.
The Tigers were working very hard with committed defence, it was only some unfortunate knock-ons or loose passes at crucial moments that was keeping them off the scoreboard. 19 – 0 to the Exiles. Half Time.
Noah Sprenger scores the opening try
The next Exiles score very much came against the run of play. The Tigers were on the attack deep in the Exiles‘ half, but an attacking line-out failed to travel the prerequisite 5m gave a scrum and possession to the Exiles‘ Under 12s. Noah Sprenger again found space on the outside, when he linked with Kai Ani the Exiles were already approaching the Tigers‘ 10m line. Hard carries from Zade Malas and Aman Manuel gave the Exiles a foothold in the Tigers‘ half.
The Tigers almost got their hands on the ball, but a knock on gave the Exiles an attacking scrum.The ball was moved from the base of the scrum and Noah Sprenger showed a sharp presence of mind and chipped the ball over the Tigers‘ defence for Kai Ani to score in the corner. Converted. 26 – 0 to the Exiles Under 12s.
Frederik Foussat was ever present to help coach the team
Zach Sprenger kicks a conversion
Full credit has to be given to the Tigers‘ Under 12s for sticking at their task. With 20 minutes left to play and 26 points down, the youngsters in red were continuing to work extremely hard to keep the young men-in-black away from their try line. It was only two very late scores for the Exiles, tries from Yanel Fremoit and Kai Ani, getting his third, that flattered the scoreline and obscured what was a much closer game than the final score suggests. 40 – 0 to the Exiles Under 12s – UAE A-League Champions 2022-23.
Try time for Noah Sprenger
Razeen Manuel is one of the nicest people you can meet – he has nice sunglasses too!
“We’re very proud of how the team has developed over the course of the season.”
James Barnard – Head Coach
DUBAI EXILES U12 VS DUBAI TIGERS U12
UAE A-League Final (18th March 2023) – Al Ain Amblers Rugby Football Club