TWO friends have tasted rugby union success in a world amateur tournament in Dubai.

Firefighter Dan Ogden and plasterer Dean Balmer, both from Leigh, played every game of an over 35s rugby 10s contest for the Great Britain Bulldogs.

The team qualified for the final where they lined up against the Nondescripts on Saturday, which featured a side of French and Kenyan players.

With the 14-minute match tied at 5-5, the match went into golden-point extra time.

A minute after the restart, Yorkshireman Mark Barlow kicked a drop goal to win the match 8-5 for the Bulldogs and spark scenes of jubilation among his teammates.

The team were crowned champions and presented with the International Vets plate.

Leigh Journal:

The Great Britain Bulldogs team celebrate their success

Former Bedford High School pupil Dan, who played at centre or on the wing, said: “It was crazy when we won.

“Obviously we all went mad.

“The Bulldogs have been playing in the tournament for the last 12 years but never won the final before.

“We had a good two days celebrating the win and made the most of it.”

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The squad only went into the 16-team tournament with two of the players having experience in playing rugby union at a competitive level.

Aside from the Leigh pair, the rest of the team were from Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Dan, who also works as a part-time personal trainer, played rugby league with prop forward Dean in their youth at Leigh Miners Rangers.

Former Westleigh High School student Dean, 37, has represented Great Britain before while Dan played rugby league for the fire brigade against other emergency service teams.

Dan, 38, who scored a try in the Bulldogs quarter final victory against Swansea Heavies, added: “We were not expecting to win it and it took us a little bit of time to find our feet.

“We had a good team spirit and a great time together.”

The squad, who played their six games in the space of three days, also supported State of Mind charity during the tournament.