Leading the way: Eva Clarke put the Harlequins through their paces.
UAE fitness guru Eva Clarke is relishing her role in leading Abu Dhabi Harlequins’ pre-season training, which looks to separate the men from the boys.
Former military fitness officer Clarke undertook her fifth session last night, which has attracted around 50 players to Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi since pre-season began on July 21.
The players’ strength, stamina and cardio abilities were tested in a gruesome 45-minute session in which players were running, lifting and undertaking squats.
Clarke said: “I really love being in a position where I can work within a team and be part of a team, so all individuals are equal.
“I lead by example and I set a standard in fitness I want to see that they can do it. My husband Scott (assistant manager) does the mentoring, but I want to follow them in my footsteps in what I do.
“The things I’m getting them to do is usually without the rugby ball and it lasts 45 minutes – nearly half the time of a standard rugby match.”
Clarke, who holds the world record for most knuckle push-ups in 24 hours, is hopeful of working at the club beyond this season.
She said: “As long as the coach Jeremy Manning needs me, then yes. As long as they need me and it doesn’t clash with my Brazilian jiu-jitsu, I’m happy to stay on.”
Back-row Ben Bolger admits the pre-season has been really tough but is sure it will have a positive impact on the team when the new season begins.
Last season Manning’s side topped Gulf Top Six before losing to Jebel Ali Dragons in the ARFU West Asia Champion Club Final in April.
“Pre-season is always tough and it’s always a horrible part of being a rugby player. We have two coaches – Eva and her husband Scott and they definitely know what they’re doing,” said Bolger.
“When you have these people conducting your pre-season training you have full trust in what they’re doing.
“We are being tested really hard to ensure we are in peak condition for the new season.”