Failure to beat the Philippines Saturday and immediate relegation back to the Asia Rugby Championship’s Division II will be a “massive underachievement”, according to UAE Number 8 Glenn Moore.
It’s make or break for both teams who meet in Ipoh Saturday (10:00 kick-off UAE) with the winner maintaining their Division I place for 2018 and the loser sent to Asia Rugby’s third tier.
Relegation would be hugely demoralising for the UAE, who only 12 months ago stormed to the Division II title in a blaze of glory – thrashing Uzbekistan and Thailand by a combined margin of 133-31.
They’ve battled valiantly in two opening ARC defeats – going down 36-22 in their opener against hosts Malaysia before losing 33-17 to Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
Apollo Perelini’s men have been in both games but mistakes have been brutally picked apart by two teams who boast searing pace.
Now they face the Philippines, who are bottom of the table on points difference, in a clash they dare not lose.
“Next it’s the Philippines and we think they play quite similar to us,” said Moore, the Dubai Exiles skipper.
“We have a few injuries and suspensions now but still we all know the importance of this game and we’re all completely focused on getting the win to stay in this division. Anything else is a massive underachievement and we are well aware of that.”