UAE women earn country’s first win in trophy tournament at Dubai Sevens

Natasha Robinson scored four tries to lead UAE women past the Swiss Barbarians 31-15 in their International Trophy pool encounter on Friday, reports Paul Radley.

Natasha Robinson, right, of the UAE scores a try during their match against Swiss Barbarians at the Dubai Rugby Sevens on Friday. Jake Badger for The National
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DUBAI // After three years of meagre pickings, the UAE Rugby Federation finally had something to savour in its home competition on Friday: a victory in a trophy tournament.

It was the women who beat their male counterparts to it, too. As the sun set on The Sevens, out on Pitch 7, the UAE women beat the Swiss Barbarians 31-15 in their International Trophy pool encounter.

UAE teams have struggled for any morsels of cheer since the Arabian Gulf union was disbanded to make way for the single-nation entity at the end of 2010.

Initially, the men’s national team were trounced in the world series competition, leading to their automatic place in that event being revoked by the IRB.

They have fared similarly poorly since dropping down into the second-tier International Invitational competition last year, and they were heavily beaten in all their matches yesterday.

Commendably, all the Emirati male players were present to cheer their female colleagues to their victory over the Swiss — as were many other people involved with the domestic game.

The support was gratefully received.

“I have just said to the girls, this is what it feels like to be a winner — and it does feel pretty good,” said a tearful Aideen Butler, the UAE women’s team captain.

Natasha Robinson, 24, who has lived in the UAE for the past 22 years, scored four tries in the victory.

“There are some things I need to work on, but I was proud with the things I managed to do,” said Robinson, who was also the side’s standout player in the recent Asian Championships in India.

“My tackling was terrible, but after that I focused on my support play. But it is not an individual game.

“It is a great feeling to be successful with this team.”

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