Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brazil 66-3 United Arab Emirates

Daniel Gregg - Brazilian winger and goalkicker
South America´s largest country, Brazil, completed a big win over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Dubai on Tuesday. The match was part of the ongoing Emirates Airlines Cup of Nations which besides the UAE and Brazil also features Hong Kong and Kenya. Brazil´s 66-3 victory underlined the country´s potential to develop into being a second tier side over the coming years. Brazil´s qualification for the Las Vegas leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series combined with today´s outcome continue to suggest that rugby in the country is on the right track. With Rio de Janeiro hosting the 2016 Olympic Games in which rugby will make its return, the future possibilities for rugby in the country are only looking better and better. Ranked fourth in South America, Brazil have been long needing matches such as this one to actually have a reliable understanding of how good the team is. The UAE finished third in the 2011 Asian Five Nations after impressing by defeating Kazakhstan and drawing with Sri Lanka. Brazil´s participation in the event is ground-breaking as the country´s limited exposure to international rugby has long been restricted to South America and only in recent years has Brazil been able to return to South America´s premier level competition, now known as CONSUR A to face the heavyweights of Chile, Uruguay and starting in 2012, Argentina.

Playing in its alternative strip of green rather than yellow, Brazil put on a show for rugby fans and onlookers in the country who were fortunate enough to have the extremely rare opportunity of watching the national side play live on television. Brazilian sports channel, Bandsports broadcast the match live with the country´s inside centre, Fernando Portugal amongst the commentary team. Portugal was unable to play in the Dubai tournament due to having shoulder reconstruction surgery. His recovery also means that he will not be able to play in the Las Vegas Sevens. The ten tries to nil victory was celebrated by member of Brazil´s rugby community with both fans and players commenting extensively on twitter and facebook. One of Brazil´s try scorers, Pedro Lopes, commented ``today we played a beautiful game against the UAE, 66-3, and I scored a try, my first in the senior mens team, I was very happy, now its time to concentrate on the next game (Hong Kong on Friday)... Lets go Brazillllllllllllllll!´´

Brazil not only dominated the score sheet but the South Americans were also well orgazniaed around the field. Fernando Portugal comented that Brazil did not have a good match vs Kenya and Brazil turned this around by having great defence and playing smart rugby. The first two tries were scored quickly and with a penalty, Brazil had gone well clear in the early stages. By the interval Brazil was leading 27-3 after already having scored a bonus point thanks to having scored four tries. The first half success came from Brazil controlling the breakdown and by utilizing its forwards for go-forward ball. With the game all but secured at halftime, Brazil was more open in the secondhalf with the tries being scored from play that resembled Sevens more than rugby union at times.

The result puts Brazil in second place, behind Hong Kong who also defeated the UAE in the first match and completed an impressive 44-17 win over Kenya in the lead up to UAE vs Brazil. Kenya had been in contention for victory and were looking very impressive before Hong Kong were able to shut down the Africans and come from behind to win big. Kenya had been leading 12-10 at the interval. The third match for all four teams will be played on Friday with the UAE taking on Kenya and Hong Kong facing Brazil in a winner takes all contest. Brazil will be targetting victory and certainly have the potential to defeat the Asian side but will need to be solid in all aspects and be more successful with goalkicking.

Tournament Standings

1. Hong Hong 10
2. Brazil 7
3. Kenya 5
4. United Arab Emirates 0

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