x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE Falcons soar to first victory

A year after taking their first tentative steps onto the international stage, the nation's rugby league representative outfit claim their first official win.

DUBAI // A year after taking their first tentative steps onto the international stage, the nation's rugby league representative outfit claimed their first official victory as they toppled a Lebanon select side at The Sevens. The UAE Falcons, a group of players who have only been practising together regularly for four months, touched down six tries against a side made up of the best players from Lebanon's well-established domestic league. The 13-man code is still finding its feet in the UAE, and this series of three fixtures - two in Dubai to be followed by another in Beirut next month - are as much an advert for the game as fixtures to be won. Nevertheless, the Falcons are hardly novices. Their star turn, Wayne McDonald, captained Scotland in the past and was a star in England's Super League. He scored two tries and was a colossus in defence for the hosts.

Luke Sinclair, who, like McDonald, is on loan for the summer from the Dubai Exiles union outfit, also starred, helping himself to a try and two goals. Andy Quinn, Sassium Samerine and Ramon Fisher also crossed the whitewash for the Falcons, who made their superior fitness tell in the stifling heat of summer in Dubai. Ramy Rassi and Ahmed el Masri touched down consolation scores for the spirited visitors, who will be looking for vengeance in the return fixture next month.

pradley@thenational.ae