The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely?
Well, maybe not for much longer.
The national team will likely have five Emiratis in the squad for the Division One encounter at The Sevens on Wednesday. Even that total is a little bit short of what officials had hoped for. Next time around, the national quotient is likely to be somewhat larger.
Transition from an expatriate-dominated side to one with an indigenous presence is not an easy process. Maybe the two unions will be able to trade notes on the issue next week.
Both sides have sampled life at the top of Asian rugby only to see their status diminish as they sought to marry local development with on-field achievement.
Singapore replaced the demoted Arabian Gulf in the top flight of the 2009 Asian Five Nations after the side representing this region finished winless the first year the competition was staged.
Singapore immediately dropped back out of the elite division after losing all four of their matches, but they did get closer to beating Japan that many sides have ever managed in a 45-15 defeat.
They passed down through the next division, too, but are on their way back now.
The UAE will be battling to avoid a similar fate – whatever the structure of the Asian competition looks like next season, and whatever the national team looks like down the road.
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