The UAE Under-17s rounded off the Asia Rugby U17 Sevens tournament with a morale-boosting win against Uzbekistan to finish ninth out of 10 teams in Chinese Taipei.
Apollo Perelini’s young all-Emirati team endured a difficult first day in Tainan, losing all three Pool A fixtures by a combined 114-14 margin. They lost their final group match 67-0 at the hands of Malaysia yesterday morning to put themselves in the 9th/10th placed play-off – but they at least ended on a high with a fine 21-7 defeat of the Uzbeks.
Saif Al Jnebibi, Nawaf Al Nuaimi and Nayef Al Nuaimi were the UAE’s tryscorers. Asia powerhouse Japan went on to lift the trophy with a comprehensive 43-0 triumph over Thailand.
It was an eye-opening experience for the UAE teenagers but one Perelini hopes they will gain confidence from.
“It gives them encouragement because they need more tournaments to build that understanding of rugby,” said the former dual code international.
“And when you get that win under your belt as a group of Emiratis it just builds more confidence in them. We look to build on this squad with future development and entering other tournaments.
“Keeping them will be the issue because national service will break this squad up next year.”