x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Jalajel's good deeds haunt him against Lebanon

Ghaith Jalajel, the Arabian Gulf's development officer, has obviously been doing his job too well.

DUBAI // Ghaith Jalajel, the Arabian Gulf's development officer, has obviously been doing his job too well. His remit to spread the game in the region used to encompass Lebanon and Jordan, the two associate nations of the Asian Rugby Football Union, who met for the first time in an international at The Sevens yesterday. The Lebanese emerged victorious against a Jordan side, for whom Jalajel was playing at hooker, 27-8. Now they are targeting entry to the Asian Five Nations competition system next year.

"It shows what can be achieved with a bit of hard work," said the Lebanon captain, Karim Jammal, a scrum-half who was part of the academy of the English Premiership side Worcester, before moving to Beirut for university."This squad of 22 players have only been together for three days, and we have beaten a side that have been together for five or six years." Victory was secured on the back of tries for Wael Harb, Ziad el Murr, Hesham Husny Bey and Raymond Asfour.

"There is always a big rivalry between us and Lebanon," said Jalajel. "I know all the Lebanese guys well, they are all personal friends." Lebanon were deprived the services of a variety of their regular squad members due to visa issues on the eve of their departure for the UAE. However, they were able to bolster their numbers with a variety of Dubai-based players. pradley@thenational.ae