UAE hopes lessons learnt will aid in HSBC A5N Top 5 relegation battle v Kazakhstan
[Dubai, May 10, 2012]: The United Arab Emirates will be hoping to put into practice the lessons learned the hard way as they take on Kazakhstan in what is shaping up to be the relegation battle to decide which team drops down from the HSBC Asian 5 Nations (HSBC A5N) Top Five competition this season.
“We have learned to defend better from our first two games, even though the scoreboard doesn’t reflect it, and hopefully we will be able to use that to good effect against Kazakhstan,” said UAE performance manager Duncan Hall.
UAE have been mercilessly punished by Japan and Hong Kong in their opening two games in the campaign. Last week, playing away they were thrashed 106-3 by Japan and previously lost 85-10 to Hong Kong at home.
The squad led by Alistair Thompson, return to The Sevens on Friday afternoon (16.00 kick-off, local time) and will be hoping home ground advantage will help them ward off a third successive defeat.
Kazakhstan opened its 2012 season with an 87-0 loss to Japan but had a bye last weekend. They will be looking forward to getting on the winning track. Victory will most likely secure the winners a place in the HSBC A5N Top Five next year.
“This was always going to be our crucial game,” Hall said. “We knew we would face two challenging games in our opening encounters and last week’s result, where South Korea defeated Hong Kong, makes this game even more critical.”
Korea, returning to the top flight, defeated Hong Kong 21-19 to move up three places in the IRB world rankings to 28th. Hong Kong slipped down to 29.
UAE does not have an official ranking as they have still to play the required number of internationals, but realise that a loss against Kazakhstan will all but shut the door on them in the Top Five next year.
“We can’t assume anyone is going down as yet. We have two games to go and our target when we began was to win two matches. So we are still in with a shout,” Hall said.
“The guys have worked hard. We have struggled so far because we are not used to playing under such intense pressure. The speed at which Japan and Hong Kong played has been incredible.
“We don’t have anyone of the calibre of say the Japanese winger (Yoshikazu Fujita) who scored six tries against us. We are not endowed with speed, but I can see improvement in our side and hopefully that will be translated on to the scoreboard,” Hall added.
UAE has received some words of encouragement from Japan’s new coach Eddie Jones who has said he liked the “commitment” showed by the players.
“They lost on the scoreboard, but in terms of attitude, there are some really good signs there,” Jones told the media after last week’s match.
“We are playing with limited numbers,” admitted Hall. “But all these guys have a lot of heart.”
In this week’s other HSBC A5N Top 5 match, Japan are away to South Korea in a battle of the last two unbeaten teams remaining in this year’s Top 5 competition. The game will be held at Seongnam Stadium in Seoul at 13.00 local time on Saturday, May 12, 2012.
UAE Squad v Kazakhstan
1. Graham Murphy – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 2. Peter Sampson – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 3. Dan Boatwright – Dubai Hurricanes, 4. Greg Thompson – Dubai Hurricanes, 5. Simon Osborne – Dubai Hurricanes, 6. Brett Williams – Dubai Exiles, 7. David Matasio – Dubai Wasps, 8. Alistair Thompson (C) – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 9. Patrick Hegarty – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 10. Murray Strang – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 11. Steve Smith – Dubai Hurricanes, 12. Jonathon O’Connor – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 13. Tim Fletcher (VC) – Jebel Ali Dragons, 14. John Fawls – Dubai Exiles, 15. Imad Reyal – Dubai Exiles, 16. Charles Lilley – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 17. Christopher Jones-Griffiths – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 18. Tristan Barnett – Dubai Hurricanes, 19. Sam Cook – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, 20. Antoine Bertheuil – Dubai Frogs, 21. Sean Hurley – Jebel Ali Dragons, 22. Mohammed Alsulaiman – Dubai Wasps
About HSBC and Rugby
HSBC is a long-term investor in Rugby in Asia and around the world. As well as being the title sponsor of the Sevens World Series, Asian 5 Nations and Asian Sevens Series, the bank is co-title sponsor of the Hong Kong Sevens from 2012. HSBC is the Principal Partner of all the Hong Kong rugby teams, and the British & Irish Lions, who will play in Hong Kong in 2013 en route to Australia. The bank is also the title sponsor of the Waratahs Super 15 team in Australia, the Penguin International Coaching Academy and the Cobra 10s tournament in Malaysia.
About the Asian Rugby Football Union
ARFU was founded in 1968 with eight member unions. In the past decade its membership has trebled to 28 full and associate member unions ranging from Kazakhstan in the north to Indonesia in the south and Lebanon in the west to Guam in the east. ARFU covers a territory of over 44 sq million kilometres and more than 3 billion people. ARFU is the sanctioning body for the HSBC Asian 5 Nations, which every four years acts as the qualifying event for the Rugby World Cup, and the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, which was held for the first time in 2011. ARFU also offers organized international competition for women and youth across Asia.
For enquiries or to arrange interviews with members of the participating teams, HSBC or ARFU officials please contact Sean Moore, Tournament Operations Mangaer of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations, on email@example.com or +852 9095
Last Years Encounter
29.04.2011 UAE 24-10 in Abu Dhabi (Asia5Nations)
GWC Rugby Rankings
United Arab Emirates 4th, Kazakhstan 5th
IRB Rankings do not apply as UAE have yet to play the required number of games.
Prediction: It will be a closely hard-fought game.UAE by 7 points
UAE as above
Kazakhstan squad not yet available