Sophie started her rugby in the Mini & youth section of the Dubai Exiles U7s and was one of the stars of the young team for 6 years. She then moved to the U19 girls and played a central role in developing the team that eventually won the Dubai 7s event 4 years out of 5 [5 years out of 6 after the 2019 win].
Andy Williams [Dubai Exiles Vice Chariman] first started coaching Shams at Under 6 level, and oversaw her development for much of the time thereafter, too.
“Was I ever afraid for her getting injured playing with the boys? Never,” Williams said.
“She had great technique in the tackle, and great technique is the best way to stay safe.”
Williams also remembers the way here excellence would get “under the skin” of opposing teams.
“I remember once when we won in Abu Dhabi we gave her the bumps as it was her 12th birthday,” Williams said.
“We gave her 13, including the one for luck. The opposition coach complained as some parents had counted 13, and wanted her disqualified as she was too old.
“That’s how much her ability got under the skin of some other teams.”
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