Daniel Perry insists he is not crestfallen by the UAE’s opening loss in the 2017 Asia Rugby Championship and says he and his teammates need only look to conquerors Malaysia for inspiration on how Division I championship can still be theirs.
The UAE put in a spirited performance in Ipoh on Sunday only to be beaten by a Jone Mosalo-inspired Malaysia who ran out 36-22 winners.
The margin of defeat was harsh on Apollo Perelini’s men – a late Sakiusa Gavidi try giving the final scoreline a flattering hue as far as Lee Nyuk Fah’s hosts were concerned.
A year ago, however, Malaysia were in the same position as the men from the Emirates – beaten 15-10 by the Philippines in Kuala Lumpur.
Yet they rallied to defeat Sri Lanka and Singapore in their next two games to finish top of the Division I table with 11 points, two ahead of the Brave Elephants.
And vice captain Perry is adamant all is not lost.
“Malaysia won the whole thing last year and lost their first game, so we’re certainly not out of it yet,” stated Perry defiantly.
“Let’s see how we go from here. The lads are still going, still positive, and it’s onto the next one.”
Next up for Perry and Co are Sri Lanka – the division’s top ranked team at number 39 in the world.
The UAE are the lowest ranked of all four teams taking part in Division I this year, but Perry is steadfast in his belief that they showed enough signs in defeat to still win a second straight title after storming to the Division II crown a year ago.
“We can take positives from the game, the scrum went well and the lineouts were OK,” added the Dubai Hurricanes’ lock.
“They (Malaysia) didn’t create anything, we gave it to them so we have got things to improve on and that’s good.
“We’re going to watch it back, but we’re not going to blame anyone else. The heat was bad and the ref was up and down but at the end of the day it was our mistakes that cost us and we’re very aware of that.”