x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Christina Nobles a charity team that shows no sympathy at Dubai Sevens

The veterans squad at the Dubai Rugby Sevens comprises of former international players.

Dafydd James is one of the former top players the Christina Noble Children's Foundation charity team has recruited to play in the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens.
Dafydd James is one of the former top players the Christina Noble Children's Foundation charity team has recruited to play in the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens.

DUBAI // If the Christina Noble Children's Foundation veterans are feeling any nerves over maintaining their remarkable record at the Dubai Rugby Sevens, they are certainly not showing it.

The charity side have won the International Veterans competition here for the past four years.

They can usually measure a good year by how many tries they concede over the course of the weekend: two or more represents a shocker.

So far, so good. "We definitely haven't conceded a point yet, I'm sure of that," Jim Jenner, 40, who is one of the side's longest-serving players, said after their 36-0 quarter-final win over Bishop's Stortford on Friday.

Not that all of their players are so tuned in.

When Apollo Perelini, the former Samoa player, scored a second-half try against Stortford under the posts, they either forgot, or just could not be bothered, to take the conversion.

Kevin Yates, who was an England player as recently as four years ago, scored their next try. So uninterested were his side in the points differential by that stage, they let him take the ensuing kick.

As a prop forward of renown, Yates took in such clubs as Bath, Saracens and the Hurricanes Super rugby franchise during his 16 year professional career.

Never in that time will he have been invited to take a kick, and, from right in front of the posts, he sliced his conversion wide.

"Any pressure that comes is what we put on ourselves," said Dafydd James, the former Wales wing, who has lived in Dubai for three months and is eyeing a permanent club to join in the city.

"We obviously all want to win, but this weekend is more about raising the profile of the charity."