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Di Rollo hails age as veterans defend Dubai title

Jason White holds the Veterans Tens trophy aloft. Picture: Contributed

Jason White holds the Veterans Tens trophy aloft. Picture: Contributed

  • by DAVID FERGUSON
 

MARCUS di Rollo returned from Dubai hailing the Xodus Steelers’ title defence as a great example of how rugby remains a great sport for players no matter their age.

Now Watsonians coach, Di Rollo won 27 Scotland caps and was one of the stars of the Dubai International Tens Tournament, his skills coming to the fore at stand-off as the Xodus Steelers invitational side edged a thrilling final on Saturday in front of nearly 40,000 supporters with a last-gasp try by Andy Craig sealing a 17-14 win against Joost van der Westhuizen’s J9 Legends.

The J9 team, playing in its first event, included All Black Carlos Spencer, Springbok De Wet Barry, Fijian star Waisale Serevi, and late Scots call-up Charlie Keenan. The Xodus Steelers team was coached by Frank Hadden and captained by former Scotland captain Jason White.

“It was something else to be on the pitch again with guys of that quality, and just amazing to win the tournament,” said Di Rollo. “My focus these days is on Watsonians and a lot of club players are relatively young now, but it’s important that we keep older guys in the game. It would be brilliant for the game in Scotland to develop a big tournament like Dubai’s.”

The Steelers, backed by Aberdeen-based Xodus Group and OKI, won three pool ties, the quarter-finals and semi-finals without conceding a point, but thought they had lost their crown when J9’s Norman Jordaan scored and Serevi converted from the touchline to go 14-12 up after the full-time hooter had sounded. However, the referee signalled more time and the Steelers attacked through Di Rollo and Kiwi Ben Willis, enabling Craig to cross the line with the final play.

Xodus Steelers: C Smith, R Russell, G Kerr, I Fernandez Lobbe, M Mustchin, O Ripol, D Dillon, J White (capt), B Willis, M di Rollo, C Ralph, D Gorrie, A Craig, K Lowen, T Delport. J9 Legends: C Keenan, A Naevo, M Wood, C Charvis, DW Barry, J Steyn, W Serevi, A Perellini, N Jordaan, C Spencer, P Muller, M Vunibaka, E Seveali’i, R Fourie.

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