UAE rugby captain Adam Telford, pictured in action against Lloyds RFC, believes the national team has made great strides. Jeff Topping / The National
UAE rugby captain Adam Telford, pictured in action against Lloyds RFC, believes the national team has made great strides. Jeff Topping / The National

Chris Jones-Griffiths try leads UAE to comeback win over Chinese Taipei



UAE 16

Tries: Botha, Jones-Griffiths

Pens: Al Noobi 2

Chinese Taipei 12

Tries: Chang, Lin

Con: Hseuh

Chris Jones-Griffiths, the prop who has played in all but one of the UAE’s 23 Tests to date, scored the try that helped the national team end their 2015 campaign on a high.

The Abu Dhabi Harlequins tight head touched down the decisive score in sodden conditions in Kuala Lumpur, as the UAE completed a comeback win against Chinese Taipei.

The fact he bundled over on the back of a drive by the forward pack was remarkable, given the UAE only had six forwards on the field at the time.

Niall Statham and Phil Brady were both in the sin bin, when the national team were awarded a kickable penalty while 12-8 down.

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They opted to kick to touch, and Jones-Griffiths scored from the catch-and-drive which followed the ensuing five-man line-out to put UAE ahead.

Hassan Al Noobi then embellished the win with a late penalty kick.

Michael Botha, the Jebel Ali Dragons centre, scored the earlier try for the national team in the win, which left them in second place in the Asian Championship Division 2.

They fell short of the stated aim of three wins and promotion straight back to the second tier of continental rugby.

However, given that wins of any sort have been difficult to come by since the UAE started playing Test rugby in 2011, they were upbeat about their week’s work.

“We have a good group of players, if that can stay together and hopefully some new guys can come in as well, we can push on,” Jones-Griffiths said.

“We have secured our place in this division, now it is time to push on next year and hopefully gain promotion.”

Adam Telford, the captain, said UAE rugby had reasons to be optimistic after their campaign in Malaysia, despite missing out on promotion to the host nation.

“The conditions levelled the game, it was like being back in Ireland,” Telford said of the win over Chinese Taipei.

“It was very tough but we dug deep to get the win. [The defeat to Malaysia on Wednesday] was very disappointing but we finished on a high and we are already looking forward to next year.”

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Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

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Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
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Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

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