The first day of the three-day Emirates Airline Cup of Nations XV’s rugby tournament drew to a close with a dramatic win for Kenya over Brazil and a convincing victory for Hong Kong against the UAE.
A slow moving first half in the opening Kenya v Brazil game drew to a close with the scoreboard showing a half time score of 10 a piece. The half time coaches’ talk seemed to inspire and rally both teams as the second half provided spectators with a dramatically accelerated game. After the lead changed 4 times, and in the last minutes of the game, a late penalty against Brazil gave Kenya’s Edwin Achayo the opportunity to make the game-winning try which saw Kenya post a 27 – 25 win.
“We were very disappointed not to win” said Brazil’s no.10 Lucas Duque. “We hoped to use our forwards more and we ended up playing their (Kenya’s) game”.
UAE faced familiar opponent Hong Kong in the day’s second match where Hong Kong took an early lead. A jubilant try from Mike Riley in the 22nd minute, successfully converted by Quihen Marais, gave the hosts a lift. Hong Kong, however, answered with 3 tries and 2 conversions to lead 36 – 7 at half time. Hong Kong took complete control of the second half until the 75th minute where Renier Els managed to muscle his way through a strong Hong Kong defense and post the UAE’s second try of the game, and after another successful conversion by Quihen Marais the hosts lessened the deficit slightly. At the end of play Hong Kong had put in an outstanding display of rugby, which proved too strong for the UAE, posting a 72 – 14 victory.
“We faced a well developed (Hong Kong) team that took advantage of the opportunities we gave them” admitted UAE Rugby Captain Renier Els, “What we experienced out on the field today is what international 15’s rugby is all about” added coach Wayne Marsters, “these teams have outstanding resources and structures in place and are ones we can learn from” he added.
Action in the Emirates Airline Cup of Nations continues on Tuesday December 13th where the draw sets the stage for an evening of XV’s rugby not to be missed. The first game will see the winners from day 1, Kenya and Hong Kong, oppose each other at 6pm, followed at 8pm by the UAE against Brazil where both will be desperate to record a win in this inaugural tournament.
Entry to watch all the Cup of Nations games, at 7he Sevens, on Tuesday 13th and Friday 16th is free.
Schedule of play;
Tuesday December 13th:
3:00pm U16 Boys 7’s games
6:00pm Hong Kong v Kenya 7he Sevens - Pitch 2
8:00pm UAE v Brazil 7he Sevens - Pitch 2
Friday December 16th:
11:00am Youth games
3:00pm UAE v Kenya 7he Sevens – Pitch 2
5:00pm Brazil v Hong Kong 7he Sevens – Pitch 2