x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Veterans are a picture of success

The Dubai Rugby Sevens is one of the few sporting events that could provoke the sight of a side who have just been thrashed asking to have their picture taken with their conquerors.

DUBAI // The Dubai Rugby Sevens is one of the few sporting events that could provoke the sight of a side who have just been thrashed asking to have their picture taken with their conquerors. Christina Noble, the defending champions in the International Veterans competition, cruised to three wins on day one of competition yesterday. As dusk descended and the whistle blew on their final fixture, against the English club side Bishop's Stortford, both sets of players huddled together for a photograph.

It has become the convention for the all-star children's foundation team, who have umpteen Test caps among their playing and support staff. The former Scotland fly-half Gregor Townsend was the star with the boot, while Brian Lima, the Samoan wrecking-ball, gave notice that he is just warming up ahead of the weekend. Chris Sheasby, who was part of the England side who won the first Sevens World Cup in 1993, is one of the survivors from last year's title success.

Eager to defend the title, he had the holiday time written into his contract when he signed to be the player/coach of Bracknell. "I always used to miss the Sevens, because I played in the Premiership till I was 38," said Sheasby, who celebrates his 42nd birthday the day after the tournament. "I wanted to do it while I was still playing well. We had a super team last year, won it - and that makes everything more enjoyable."

The Multiplex Marauders confirmed that they are not about to sacrifice their Local Social title without a fight, by way of two comprehensive wins. Apollo Perelini, the former Samoa player, made a cameo appearance for Multiplex's biggest rivals, the Air Miles V Blacks. @Email:pradley@thenational.ae