x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Magic from Duque the highlight at Cup of Nations

Brazil showed lots of flair but did not get the result as Kenya held them off 27-25 in the opening game of the Emirates Cup of Nations.

DUBAI // With the yellow shirts, the excess of finesse, the precision kicking, a rock-the-baby celebration, and a playmaker wearing No 10 who has more flair than the Seventies, it was just like watching Brazil.

Which was fitting, given that it was them.

We have all heard of samba football, however, samba rugby arrived in Dubai for the first time Saturday when the Brazilians kicked off the Emirates Cup of Nations against Kenya at The Sevens.

All that was missing was the end result. While their national football team are among the world leaders in their field, Brazil's rugby players are still a work in progress.

Even though they were giving away nine places in the world standings, 39th-ranked Kenya beat the South Americans 27-25 in the first game of the new Dubai-based tournament.

However, one gorgeous, length of the field try suggested the Brazilians are just as committed to the Joga Bonito (the Beautiful Game) as their more celebrated compatriots in the round-ball code.

Lucas Duque, the stocky fly-half, started the move when he received first-phase ball from his scrum-half five yards behind his own tryline.

Instead of kicking for safety, he jinked past two Kenyans before he had even made it as far as the tryline. It sparked a move that culminated in Daniel Gregg, the winger who scored 15 points for the Brazilians, touching down 100 metres away.

"I don't think they were expecting it, which I think is why it was successful," Duque said. "It was a nice try, but losing the match is what counts.

"Every Brazilian has a little bit of football in them. We try to incorporate it into our rugby, because it is what we know best. We want to bring it into our rugby."


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