Brazil keep title hopes alive with UAE win
Brazil bounced back from the last gasp loss to Kenya on the opening day to overwhelm the United Arab Emirates 66-3 on Tuesday and keep alive their hopes of winning the inaugural Emirates Airline Cup of Nations in Dubai.
The South Americans, who conceded a last minute try to lose 27-25 to Kenya on Saturday, were a different team against the hosts with their back three of Felipe Zeni, Daniel Gregg and Rafael Dawailibi particularly standing out.
Brazil must now beat Hong Kong on Friday to claim the title after the Asian side made it two wins from two with a 44-17 win over Kenya at 7he Sevens, turning a narrow half-time deficit into a comfortable win with a strong second half display.
Gregg was the only player to score twice as Brazil ran in 10 tries, the wing ending the match with a 23-point haul as a spirited UAE side learned another valuable lesson about the requirements for international rugby.
The UAE’s cause was not helped by the loss of captain Renier Els, Greg Thompson and teenage star Quihen Marais – who got off his sickbed to play – to injury, but coach Wayne Marsters remained positive as they seek the elusive victory.
“We have taken a lot of knocks from the past two games, but our resolve remains positive and we know these are solid steps forward in our development,” insisted Marsters. “The guys firmly have this belief and we need to take it with us into Friday’s final game against Kenya.”
Kenya will be no easier for the UAE, though. The African champions recovered from 10-0 down in the opening quarter to lead Hong Kong 12-10 at the break following tries from Dennis Mwanja and Ronnie Mwenesi.
Unfortunately for Kenya, who had climbed four places in the IRB World Rankings after beating Brazil last weekend, Hong Kong ramped up the pressure in the second half and outscored their opponents by five tries to one to set up the title decider with Brazil.