The UAE Rugby enter this year’s Asia Rugby Championship Division II with one main target.
They face Guam, promoted from last year’s Division III, in their first match before a potential final against either hosts Thailand and Kazakhstan.
The UAE are ranked 70th in the World Rugby rankings but their aim is to return to Division I and therefore also play a part in Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification.
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“Our main aim and all our preparation is to win the tournament,” said Perelini, coach of the UAE.
“We have prepared well and want to get back to Division I.
“There are a few key players that will play an important role in our bid, one especially is our inside centre Sakiusa Naisau who is a very explosive and exciting runner with ball in hand.”
This tournament is an important competition for all four sides involved, providing a pathway to the top echelons of Asia Rugby.
Added to that a platform from which to showcase their development as a country and at grassroots level and the UAE know the significance of international competition such as this.
“For the UAE, it is the biggest tournament for us since dropping out of Division I,” added Perelini.
“We want to be competing against the other top Asia countries in Division I and even the Championship. Over the next 10 years we want to compete at the highest level and improve our world ranking.
“Rugby has always been strong in the UAE, especially amongst the Expats. But we have also implemented and invested a lot of money into developing the game with indigenous people with our Pathway programmes and Get Into Rugby.
“We are looking forward to continuing this work.”
Starting Lineup To Face Guam
Forwards: Chris Jones-Griffiths, Gio Fourie, Craig Nutt, Daniel Perry, Isaac Porter, Matt Mills (VC), Hamish Anderson, Jaen Botes.
Backs: Barry Dwyer, Luke Stevenson (C), Sean Carey, Andrew Powell, Sakiusa Naisau, Thinus Steyn, Matthew Richards.
Finishers: Lukas Waddington, Murray Reason, Ahmed Moosa, Stephen Ferguson, Sean Stevens, Edward Armitage, Kini Natuna, Majid Al Balooshi.
You can view a live stream of the match which will be shown on the Asia Rugby Facebook page at 18:30 UAE Time.
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