Belgium v Netherlands in Amsterdam (ENC 1B)
Sri Lanka v United Arab Emirates (Asia5Nations)
Kazakhstan v Hong Kong in Almaty (Asia5Nations)
There was a time when Belgium was regarded as the poor rugby neighbour of the Netherlands. Not any more. In fact Belgium is regarded as one of the favourites in this competition with the Netherlands trailing at the bottom of the table. Even though being played in Amsterdam, Belgium would be the favourite to win.
The Asia 5 Nations competition begins this weekend. Of particular interest is the first game of the newly-formed United Arab Emirates Rugby Union. Previously all the Gulf nations competed under the umbrella of the Arabian Gulf Rugby Union. That union disbanded in 2010, with each nation going its own way.
Sri Lanka gets to start the competition having been promoted from Asia Nations Division 1, replacing Korea. There has been a fair bit of argy-bargy in this union with the IRB suspending Sri Lanka last year because of irregularities in their election of officers at the union’s last AGM. All has been corrected just in time for this competition to begin.