The HSBC Penguin’s are the world's most famous international rugby coaching team and two of their coaches were in Dubai from 23rd to 29th November 2009, ahead of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
The Penguins, sponsored by HSBC Bank, travel the world coaching children and adults to play rugby. This week they made their second visit to the UAE, with two days of coaching clinics for Dubai's youngsters in association with the Arabian Gulf Rugby Union.
On Sunday they spent time at the Al Salam School for Girls in Barsha and Sharawi School for Boys coaching youngsters who had never even seen a rugby ball before. Speaking at the event, HSBC Penguin coach and Full time Development Manager for the English Rugby Football Union at Twickenham Rob Drinkwater said, "We feel very fortunate to be here in Dubai and the welcome from the students and teachers has been phenomenal. The children may not have played rugby before but they are really enjoying getting to know the game and learning the basic skills. I have been impressed with some of the youngsters who have great passing skills and real speed."
He continued, "The role of the HSBC Penguins is to help grow and develop the sport of rugby union around the world and it is always rewarding to see the smiles on the children's faces. Our two day session is part of HSBC's commitment to rugby in the UAE as they build up to their sponsorship of the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens next week. I am confident that even from just one morning of playing rugby, several of the children will continue to play rugby and become interested in the sport."
Yesterday the Penguins moved on to Al Ibdaa School for Girls in Deira where the HSBC Penguins once again spent time teaching basic rugby skills to over 45 girls aged between 11 and 14.
HSBC has a long relationship with rugby around the world as the sponsor of the Asian 5 Nations competition as well as being Principal Partner of this summer's British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa.
Next week two of HSBC's rugby ambassadors and legends of the game, Gavin Hastings and John Kirwan, will arrive into the UAE to coach youngsters in Abu Dhabi. By the time of the International Sevens in Dubai on the 4th December, over 2000 children will have experienced rugby coaching as part of HSBC's commitment to developing rugby across the UAE.
Rob Drinkwater was joined by regular HSBC Penguin coach Peter Gallagher from Scotland.