Win sets UAE up for Top Five next year

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 May, 2011, 12:00am

The United Arab Emirates celebrated their maiden win at the HSBC Asian Five Nations when the newly formed union scored a 24-10 upset win over Kazakhstan in Abu Dhabi.

Carrying on as representatives of the region after the Arabian Gulf was disbanded by the International Rugby Board last year, the UAE took a huge step towards remaining in the Top Five competition next year thanks to their forwards and the boot of flyhalf Jonathan Grady.

'Our forwards blazed the way for us, but I thought we were really strong throughout the park,' said UAE coach Bruce Birtwistle. 'It feels fantastic and great to get our first win in at home under the UAE banner. I'm extremely proud of the effort of the entire team.'

Flyhalf Grady punished Kazakhstan with four penalties and also knocked over a conversion to finish with 14 points. Tighthead prop Munib Haddad, who missed last week's 13-13 draw against Sri Lanka in Colombo, and Andrew Millar scored a try each.

Kazakhstan, missing two forwards red-carded in the game against Hong Kong last weekend, scored a try in each half from winger Sergey Konev and flyhalf Daulet Akymbekov.

'It was a tough loss and a direct result of a very difficult build-up for us this week with our red-carded players and then one of our top players not getting his travel visa in time,' Kazakhstan skipper Timur Mashurov said. 'The loss of another player to heat exhaustion this week meant it really was the perfect preparation for a loss.

'It will be tough next week... but Kazakhstan always start slow. We get better the more we are together, and by the third and fourth games we start to show we can really play. By our fourth match we begin to play like we know we can and that will be perfect timing to play Sri Lanka at home.'