Shabaz Khan, Dalziel
WHILE Dalziel’s Lanarkshire neighbours Cambuslang were celebrating the first Scotland cap of Duncan Weir, a Dalziel under-18 player has been offered the chance to become the club’s first full internationalist.
Shabaz Khan (17) is flying out to Dubai later this month to represent Pakistan in an international rugby league 10-a-side match against the United Arab Emirates.
Participation in this match forms part of the selection process for the Pakistan rugby union team.
Khan, a first-year apprentice with the Scottish Rugby Union, joined Dalziel in August 2011 but only started playing rugby in October 2010 with Waysiders/Drumpellier RFC.
Since joining Dalziel, Khan has become a mainstay in the under-18 front row and has also put in a number of impressive performances for both the 3rd and 4th XVs against vastly more experienced players.
He recently made his first start for the 2nd XV, earning plaudits from both team-mates and opponents.
This opportunity for Khan has been made possible with the assistance of the British Asian Rugby Association, who help both rugby union and rugby league players of Asian descent represent their parent country.
Khan said: “Ever since I started playing rugby, it has become my passion and now rugby has taken over my life.
“It has been my dream for the last year and a half to become an international rugby player and BARA may have just helped fulfil that dream for me.”
He added: “I am so proud and honoured to represent my father country in the thing I love doing more than anything in this world.”
Dalziel president Khalid Faqir said: “This young man has impressed me with his development and commitment, considering his young age and especially since he is relatively new to rugby. Any international recognition is a fantastic opportunity for him and I look forward to him continuing to develop with Dalziel in the years to come.”
Dalziel have had a number of youth internationalists in the past, with 1st XV captain Craig Simmonds and Gary Strain, currently with RC Massey in Paris, both representing Scotland at Under-20 level.
Stuart Caulfield, Jamie Duguid and David McGrane have all played for Scotland Under-18s.
However should Khan make an appearance for Pakistan, he will become Dalziel’s first full internationalist.
On this potential achievement, Khan said: “I would feel very honoured and thankful to all the coaches if I became the first international player to come from Dalziel.”
Meanwhile, Khan’s front row partner in the under-18s, Grant Stewart, has been selected to take part in the Scotland under-17 training camp this weekend.