Dubai, 13th May 2011.  Takashi Kikutani of japan on the offensive as Tim Fletcher of UAE tries to anticipate at the Japan versus UAE, Asians 5 Nations Rugby Tournament.  (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)
Japan's Takashi Kikutan is watched by the UAE's Tim Fletcher at The Sevens.

Japan clinch title with easy win at The Sevens

UAE 0  Japan 111

Japan: Tries: Arlidge, Aruga, Nicholas 3, Endo 2, Usuzuki 4, Ono, Kikutani, Holani, Webb 2, Ives. Cons: Arlidge 12, Nicholas

Man of the match: Takashi Kikutani (Japan)

DUBAI // As the UAE’s amateur players did their best to limit the damage in a chastening defeat to the World Cup-bound professionals from Japan, the visitors were focused on other things.

When Hitoshi Ono went over for Japan’s 43rd point, with still less than 20 minutes on the clock, John Kirwan, their coach, expressed mild displeasure that his captain had not dotted it down directly under the posts.

James Arlidge, the fly-half, had to take his kick at goal from five yards to the right of the posts instead.
Such is the precision the Japanese side, who will face greater challenges later this year when they face mightier teams, such as New Zealand at the World Cup, aspire to.

The cavernous difference between these two sides can be of little surprise, given the disparity in resources available to each nation.

Japan's coaching staff had four Apple laptops between them, on which to examine the performances of their players.
While they are now set to stay on in the UAE for two days of training, the home side's players will be thinking about a return to their day-jobs.

They will need to take up more annual leave when they travel to Hong Kong next weekend for a match which will decide who will finish in second place in the HSBC Asian Five Nations table, as last night’s win a fourth-straight title for Japan.

Ryan Nicholas, the Australia-born centre, punched holes in the UAE midfield at will, helping himself to three tries.
Such dominance was perhaps to be expected from a player who finished the 2002 season as the leading try-scorer for Otago Highlanders in Super 12.

One of those in his direct line of sight, Jon Beeton, an engineer who plays for the Dubai Exiles, had the brightest moment in an otherwise bleak evening for the home side.

His break after making an interception on his own 22 resulted in the one occasion when the UAE crossed the Japanese try line.
They were denied a try however as the referee ruled Sean Hurley, the chasing winger, had been beaten to the touchdown.

“We ran into a pretty spectacular Japanese performance,” Bruce Birtwistle, the UAE coach, said. “The speed and accuracy of their attack was sublime.

“It was a pretty hard team to defend against when you are chasing shadows.”

Even Kirwan, who had been critical of his side’s performances to date in the competition, was impressed by his charges.

“Our goal was to have a complete performance and I was very pleased with the structure we kept throughout the whole 80 minutes,” he said. “I’m pretty happy we are heading in the right direction. We have seen some improvement in the UAE team, and they were buoyed after their [win over] Kazakhstan, so we certainly did not underestimate them.”

The UAE now have to lift themselves for a trip to Hong Kong that will decide who finishes second behind the perennial victors, Japan.

Mike Cox-Hill, the national team’s captain, insists it will not be hard to rally his side for the decisive fixture.

“We are meeting Japan, who are 13th in the world, in a World Cup year, they have had two matches and they are a well-oiled machine,” he said.

"We have had a great start to this campaign. Our primary objective is to retain second place and we have all that to play for next year."


The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 240hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 390Nm at 3,000rpm

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Price: from Dh122,745

On sale: now

The Disaster Artist

Director: James Franco

Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogan

Four stars


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Profile box

Founders: Michele Ferrario, Nino Ulsamer and Freddy Lim
Started: established in 2016 and launched in July 2017
Based: Singapore, with offices in the UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand
Sector: FinTech, wealth management
Initial investment: $500,000 in seed round 1 in 2016; $2.2m in seed round 2 in 2017; $5m in series A round in 2018; $12m in series B round in 2019; $16m in series C round in 2020 and $25m in series D round in 2021
Current staff: more than 160 employees
Stage: series D 
Investors: EightRoads Ventures, Square Peg Capital, Sequoia Capital India

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Other must-tries

Tomato and walnut salad

A lesson in simple, seasonal eating. Wedges of tomato, chunks of cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, coriander or parsley leaves, and perhaps some fresh dill are drizzled with a crushed walnut and garlic dressing. Do consider yourself warned: if you eat this salad in Georgia during the summer months, the tomatoes will be so ripe and flavourful that every tomato you eat from that day forth will taste lacklustre in comparison.

Badrijani nigvzit

A delicious vegetarian snack or starter. It consists of thinly sliced, fried then cooled aubergine smothered with a thick and creamy walnut sauce and folded or rolled. Take note, even though it seems like you should be able to pick these morsels up with your hands, they’re not as durable as they look. A knife and fork is the way to go.


This healthy little dish (a nice antidote to the khachapuri) is usually made with steamed then chopped cabbage, spinach, beetroot or green beans, combined with walnuts, garlic and herbs to make a vegetable pâté or paste. The mix is then often formed into rounds, chilled in the fridge and topped with pomegranate seeds before being served.


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


2pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (Dirt) 1,000m
Winner: AF Mozhell, Saif Al Balushi (jockey), Khalifa Al Neyadi (trainer)

2.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Majdi, Szczepan Mazur, Abdallah Al Hammadi.

3pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: AF Athabeh, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: AF Eshaar, Bernardo Pinheiro, Khalifa Al Neyadi

4pm: Gulf Cup presented by Longines Prestige (PA) Dh150,000 (D) 1,700m
Winner: Al Roba’a Al Khali, Al Moatasem Al Balushi, Younis Al Kalbani

4.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh40,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Apolo Kid, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muahiri


Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Starring: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy