By Sports Reporter/Doha
The Qatar national rugby XVs squad for the upcoming Asia Rugby Championship was announced on Sunday night with as many as 15 players from Doha RFC in the 25-strong squad.
Qatar will host Iran and Lebanon in the 2016 Asian Rugby tri nations Division III Championship at the Aspire Warm Up and purpose-built rugby track on April 16, 19 and 22.
DRFC’s Aaron Palmer has been named as the coach of the Qatar National XV’s, and the Kiwi will also be a part of the playing squad.
Under Palmer, DRFC has won the Gulf Premiership and the Gulf Top 6 competitions besides finishing third in the West Asia Championship this past season.
In the squad is Qatar Rugby Sevens sensation Rakan Mutawaa. Mutawaa, playing for Camels 2, had the most number of tries in the recently-concluded inaugural edition of the tournament, which was won by Camels 1.
Mutawaa recently said, “Prior to this the Asia Rugby Sevens was the biggest thing of my life but this has become the greatest highlight of my short rugby career. I am happy to be part of the training squad for the nationals fifteens. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Others to get into the squad from the Camels sides are Camels 2 Sevens captain Talal Mujalli, Mubarak al-Malik, Abdulaziz al-Dosari and Abdul Karem al-Muhannadi.
For the newly-appointed Qatar Rugby Federation (QRF), the championship will be the biggest challenge so far.
QRF president Yousef al-Kuwari recently said, “This is Qatar’s chance to display to the world how far we have developed with rugby, particularly over the last eight months. As much as it may be a challenge in hosting the rugby championship, it’s equally exciting for the federation. Asia and World rugby have so many rules and stipulations but we will not fail in our performance.”
QRF general secretary Ali al-Malki added, “This will be a perfect opportunity for Qatar to join hands and expose our talents both on and off the field. I encourage every Qatari and sports fan to attend the matches at Aspire and barrack for our national team.
“I also extend an invite all expats to help create an atmosphere that only rugby can achieve. I call on in particular the two communities of Iran and Lebanon to attend and cheer on their home teams.”
SQUAD: Thomas Nolan (Doha), Jamie Frost (Sale FC-UK), Aaron Salmon (Al Khor), Aaron Palmer (Coach/Player-Doha), Huw Kinsella (Al Khor), Mark O’Donnell (Doha), Tom Featherstone (Doha), Neil Thomas (Doha), Robbie Gaule (Doha), Paul Beard (Hurricanes), Mubarak al-Malik (Camels), David Saxon (Doha), Jonathan Davis (Doha), Rakan Mutawaa (Camels), Timothy Newnham (Doha), Talal Mujalli (Camels), Joseph Dharshan Goonetilleke (Doha), Malcolm Reid (Doha), Abdulaziz al-Dosari (Camels 2), Shane Watson (Doha), Asad Ali (CNAQ Falcons), Grant Finn (Doha), Oliver Scudamore (Doha), Matthew Uffindall (Doha), Abdul Karem al-Muhannadi (Camels)
Saturday, April 16 (6pm): Qatar vs Iran
Tuesday, April 19 (7pm): Iran vs Lebanon
Friday, April 22 (6pm): Qatar vs Lebanon
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