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Danny Liddell selected for Qatar rugby union team
INTERNATIONAL honours have come the way of former York Acorn stalwart Danny Liddell – in rugby union.
The one time Blue and Golds full-back has been selected to represent Qatar in next week’s HSBC Asian five nations, which is being held in Dubai.
Liddell has been working in the Arab emirates state since 2008 and the quantity surveyor has qualified on residency grounds to play in the prestigious union tournament.
Qatar are in division four of the competition and will play Uzbekistan in Dubai on Wednesday before turning out in a final, or third and fourth placed play-off, two days later.
The 31-year-old, who plays wing in the union game, also plays club rugby for Doha and could possibly turn out for Qatar, subject to qualification, in a future Olympics after the sevens format of the game was chosen to join the worldwide sporting spectacle.
But, in the near future, Liddell says he is hoping to return to Britain – either later this year or early next – and resume his position in the backs at Thanet Road.
“The standard of rugby union here is very good,” he said. “My club side Doha plays in a league with Bahrain, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and three teams from Dubai. We recently won the West Asian cup final against Dubai Hurricanes in which I scored a try.
“I started playing out here immediately when I arrived back in October 2008 and found the transition difficult initially over the first two seasons with Doha. But this year have scored 12 tries in my last ten games, hence my call up.
“The national team is mainly made up of ex-pats like me with a handful of local Qatari players. Clearly we are hoping as a nation to win this group and then next year we play the likes of Indonesia and India. There is also talk of a summer training camp for Qatar in South Africa or Australia.
“I am hoping to return back to the UK later this year or early next year, after four years out here, and return back to playing for York Acorn in my favoured full-back position, rather than on the wing where I am employed at present.”