NAIROBI, Kenya, December 8- Kenya, Hong Kong, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates will take part in a new global rugby initiative, the Emirates Airlines Cup of Nations that kicks-off on Saturday in Dubai.
The tournament, a joint initiative of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and the UAE Rugby Association, is the first tournament of its kind involving teams from three continents and fulfils the need for all four nations to play more Test matches.
“We are delighted to be participating in the inaugural Emirates Airlines Cup of Nations in Dubai. The competition against Kenya, Brazil and the UAE will further improve our preparations for the HSBC Asian 5 Nations and the upcoming qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2015,” said Trevor Gregory, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Chairman.
“It is increasingly vital that teams get as much exposure to high-level Test rugby as possible and the intensity of the competition, which will see each team play three matches within a week, will prove important in competitions later on in the year.”
Mark Egan, the IRB Head of Development and Performance, added: “The IRB is happy to support this excellent initiative by the UAERA and HKRFU. Cross Regional competition between nations of a similar IRB ranking will allow us to benchmark these Unions against each other and see how they are progressing.
“We are particularly excited to see Brazil participating as this is a targeted Union within the IRB Strategic Investment Programme and we are already beginning to see improved international performances from both their Sevens and fifteens programmes.”
Emirates Airlines Cup of Nations schedule
10 December 2011
12:00 – Brazil v Kenya
14:00 – Hong Kong v UAE
13 December 2011
17:00 – Hong Kong v Kenya
19:00 – UAE v Brazil
16 December 2011
14:00 – UAE v Kenya
16:00 – Hong Kong v Brazil