Rugby: Philippines beat UAE in relegation battle in Asia 5 Nations

Andrew Russell of the United Arab Emirates (C) is tackled by Philippine rugby player Jake Ward during their Rugby Asian Five-Nations match at the Rizal Memorial stadium in Manila. (AFP/Noel Celis)

The Philippines beat the United Arab Emirates 24-8 in the Asia Five Nations on Saturday as the hosts' maiden win ensured their survival in their first season in the region's top flight.

Graeme Hagan, the hosts' hooker, scored a try early in the second half to douse a rally by the UAE, who had come back from 12-nil with a penalty conversion followed by a try off a rolling maul near the stroke of half time.

Chris Hitch, Gareth Holgate and Matt Saunders scored the other tries for the Philippines, with Alexander Aronson also converting once.

The visitors' only try was credited to Reinier Els, while Andrew Russell scored the penalty.

"We worked hard for this over the past month," the Philippines' head coach Jarred Hodges said.

"But we're not happy with a top four -- we want to be among the top two nations in Asia."

The win was the Philippines' first in their first season in Asia's top flight, following three straight losses to Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

With their fourth straight loss, the UAE drop to the First Division, while that division's champions Sri Lanka will be playing in the Asian Five Nations next season.

AFP/de

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