x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Portuguese earned respect with showing at Sevens

Portugal's wins over England and South Africa at the Rugby Sevens have planted a flag for Iberian rugby firmly in the heart of the Dubai desert.

Portugal's Diogo Miranda scores a try against New Zealand in their quarter final match at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.
Portugal's Diogo Miranda scores a try against New Zealand in their quarter final match at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.

The party is over for another year, and what a party it was.

Coinciding with the UAE's National Day celebrations, the Dubai Rugby Sevens was a non-stop conga line of celebration, the enduring image one of grown men feebly attempting the moves of Psy, the South Korean whose worldwide hit Gangnam Style was adopted as the tournament's anthem, probably due to the fact no other song was given airtime.

But the bump and grind in the stands was nothing compared to the cuts and bruises dished out to the egos of some of the traditional powerhouses of the game by the so-called minnows.

Portugal planted a flag for Iberian rugby firmly in the heart of the Dubai desert with wins against England and South Africa. Football may be Portugal's first-choice sport, but on this evidence, it could soon be Club Med for sevens.

Meanwhile, after dissecting through the wreckage of the Blitzboks' poor tournament that saw them lose to the Portuguese, eventual winners Samoa and Argentina, Paul Delport, the South Africa scrum-half, perhaps summed up the gatecrashing atmosphere in Dubai best: "They [smaller teams] play without fear - something we should try. They don't respect us, they just want our scalp"

Respect is earned, not easily given. With South Africa to host the next leg of the world series, starting in Port Elizabeth tomorrow, the Portuguese are now well stocked in that department.

 

sluckings@thenational.ae

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