x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Rahma races in for a debut double

The first Emirati to play international rugby for the Arabian Gulf touched down twice in an eye-catching debut at the Singapore Cricket Club.

The first Emirati to play international rugby for the Arabian Gulf touched down twice in an eye-catching debut at the Singapore Cricket Club International Sevens yesterday. Mohammed Hassan Rahma, a Dubai-based winger who only took up rugby three years ago, grabbed a brace as the Global Process Systems Arabian Gulf thumped Tamariva 47-0 on day one at the SCC. Wins have proved difficult to come by for the Gulf in their previous outings this season, at the Rome Sevens and Sri Lanka Sevens.

However, they reaped the benefit of their intense training regime, which has included expert tuition from the South African coaching guru Paul Treu, with two comprehensive successes yesterday. They opened their account by trashing the Japanese club side Tamariva, and followed that up with a 33-0 triumph over the Singapore-based Red Dot Rebels. But their wings were clipped slightly in the final match of the afternoon, when they shipped 22 points in the final minutes of their game against Scottish Thistles.

They went down to a 36-0 defeat against what is effectively the Scotland national team, who are making their own preparations for the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens later this month. "We have a couple of little things we need to work on," said the Gulf's coach Mike Lunjevich. "When the heat comes on against the better teams we have to step up and learn to absorb the heat." Scotland are not the only international side who are preparing for Dubai at the Singapore Cricket Club.

South Africa, who will be one of the favourites for the Emirates International crown, are on course to retain their trophy after a try-spree on day one. Under the guise of the SA Vipers, the Boks racked up 161 unanswered points in beating Impala, SCC and the Indonesia Barbarians. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae