UAE need Moore to avoid drop back to Asia Rugby's third tier

UAE face Philippines with the winner maintaining their Division I place for 2018 and the loser sent to Asia Rugby’s third tier.

Matt Jones
by Matt Jones
19th May 2017

article:19th May 2017

Glenn Moore.
Glenn Moore.

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.”

The UAE field a side fully capable of notching their first win of the competition today but have been ravaged by injuries to Number 8 Jaen Botes who suffered concussion and broke his hand, while Dan Bell broke his ankle in the opener against Malaysia.

Winger Rikus Swart hyperextend his knee late on against Sri Lanka while hooker Josh Ives misses the game after his red card, while scrum-half Kris Green, meanwhile, who received a yellow card, has been cited and subsequently banned for three games.

“We’ve all been incredibly disappointed with the results, we genuinely thought we’d win both games but we’ve been poor at defending against the opposition when they’ve won turnover ball,” added Moore, who scored his first try for the UAE against the Brave Elephants.

“We have actually played some good rugby but the key is to defend well against the raw pace the other teams have as well. Nobody has actually created anything against us, all tries have been from a long way out when fast guys have got turnover ball.”

Jebel Ali Dragons’ Ben Blamire comes in for Ives at hooker and feels the UAE deserve to stay in Division I.

He said: “All the boys are firing for the game to ensure we stay in Division I. We’ve worked too hard to let it slip and we believe we deserve to be in this league, if not higher.”