This is the opening game of the 2012 Emirates Cup of Nations. For the second year in a row Emirates Airlines and the UAE Rugby Union are hosting three other nations from around the world in a quadrangular rugby test match tournament. The visiting teams Zimbabwe, Belgium and Hong Kong.
Belgium and UAE play in the first rugby test match.
Belgium will play in the European Nations Division 1A in 2012-14 after being promoted from Division 1B. This is a huge step up for Belgium. It will be interesting to see how they fare in this tournament as a warm-up to the big games ahead of Belgium come February.
The UAE did not fare well in last year’s tournament. They will struggle against all teams as they are somewhat below them in the standard of their play. For example Hong Kong defeated UAE 85-10 in this years Asia 5 Nations tournament. Hong Kong and Zimbabwe are around the same level on the IRB Ranking system with Belgium another step up from them.
Belgium and UAE have never met before.
Belgium Last Five P 5, W 5
07.04.2012 v Poland W 20-13 in Brussels (ENC 1B)
17.03.2012 v Germany W 30-29 in Huesenstamm (ENC 1B)
10.03.2012 v Moldova W 17-16 in Chisinau (ENC 1B)
25.02.2012 v Netherlands W 58-3 in Brussels (ENC 1B)
05.11.2011 v Czech Republic W 55-0 in Brussels (ENC 1B)
United Arab Emirates Last Five P 5, W 1, L 4
26.05.2012 v Korea L 21-47 in Seoul (Asia 5 Nations)
11.05.2012 v Kazakhstan W 46-31 in Dubai (Asia 5 Nations)
05.05.2012 v Japan L 3-106 in Fukuoka (Asia 5 Nations)
27.04.2012 v Hong Kong L 10-87 in Dubai (Asia5Nations)
06.04.2012 v Tunisia L 7-15 in Tunis (Friendly)
GWC Rugby Rankings do not apply
IRB Ranking Points
Belgium 59.17, UAE 30.00
Prediction: Belgium by 60 points
Thibaut André (Soignies), Andrew Brace (Old Crescent RFC), Guillaume Brebant (Boitsfort), Alexis Cuffolo (Carcassonne), Olivier Damas (Newington College), Kevin Dams (Boitsfort), Michael De Molder (Boitsfort), Thomas De Molder (Lyon), Thomas Dienst (Lille), Denis Eppe (Boitsfort), Carlos Fierro (Nice), Sébastien Guns (Boitsfort), Dirk Haghedooren (Agde), Pierre Hendrickx (Boitsfort), Maxime Jadot (Pau), Daniel Janssens (Nantes), Corentin Lecloux (Boitsfort), Julien Massimi (Saint-Etienne), Alain Miriallakis, Julien Morelli (Bastia), Cyril Nana (Anderlecht), Andrew Neil (Tournefeuille), Guillaume Piron (Montpellier), Frédéric Rongé (Kituro), Eliott Van Trappen (Boitsfort), Bastian Vermeylen (Boitsfort), Mathieu Verschelden (Saint-Etienne), Alan Williams (Montluçon)
UAE squad not available