Here is a brand new feature we’re bedding in for next season. A preview for This weekend’s rugby by Chris Bath at The Gulf Rugby Paper. This week accompanied by a picture of the Beaver Nomads after their final preparation training session.
It may be the end of the West Asian Gulf Top 9 expanded league this weekend, but the most anticipated fixture must fall to the UAE Community league :
Beaver Nomads v Dragons ‘Super’ 3s 1pm game at JACOE.
Dragons and Beavers are the only 2 undefeated teams in the league and although each club technically has another fixture the following week, the league will be all but finalized in this winner takes all clash.
This is also Danny Whitley’s last game with the club that he has been at for 7 years and has guided the team, (despite himself) from a social ‘safa park’ sevens rugby team to Fridays chance of competition success. if you are heading to Jebel Ali to watch any Dragons matches, get there early and take this one in too.
Dragons v Sharjah
These 2 teams play each other 2 weekends in a row, essentially a warm up game for the Conference Cup final. This game will have significance in that the winner has rights to home ground advantages and while Sharjah may not be too bothered, The Dragons will certainly want to be at JACOE. There will also be a certain degree of bragging rights and confidence, so both teams will look to take this game seriously, although it would be a shame to pick up any injuries. It might have been an idea if they just played this game once at a neutral ground! But there you go…
Sharks v Saracens
Sharks will play Saracens this weekend, also knowing a win will mean a place in the Plate final. On paper and results, it would look to be favourable for a Sharks result, but they are not taking anything for granted. Saracens, have a little pride and will take it to Sharks, so they will have to work for it. However a place in the plate final would be just reward for some good hard work this season.
West Asia Championship
Exiles v Hurricanes
Does anyone really think that Exiles will not finish off what they started and take the title this weekend. Saying that everyone thought they were going to take it 2 weeks ago, so it proves Gulf Rugby still has some idiosyncrasy to throw around. For the Hurricanes to make an upset in this game, they will have to find a reason in themselves to want to. For Hurricanes, win or lose they get nothing and do they want to stop Exiles enough. Can they even as Harlequins will need BP win and lots of points. Hopefully this wont be a dead game, but if Exiles win, it will be on the back of some really good results.
Harlequins v Bahrain
Harlequins will have their own battle to contend with as they host Bahrain, who have not had a bad season themselves. They have taken a couple of scalps and reintroduced the Bahrain name to the Gulf Rugby challenge. Harlequins produced an inspired display last week. But will they come out hard hoping Exiles slip, or will they assume the inevitable and go through the motions. Bahrain might sneak in here.
Dragons v Saracens
While these games have little significance on the league, the UAE premiership resumes next week and teams will be looking to carry momentum. Dragons will want a good performance at home and Saracens are still looking to just put a bit more polish on a disappointing season.
Hurricanes v Wasps
This game promises to be entertaining as they do not know so much about each other historically. Wasps have had an up and down season and each week we say they are capable of producing a good result. Hurricanes were able to bring back a whole load of injured players for their last game against Dragons, but that game had meaning and history. Will they find the same reason for this one. This is another game that can be affected by the end of season blues.
Harlequins v Exiles
Both of these teams have had decent seasons, both made the Top 6, although Harlequins had a disappointing form dip that saw their Cup final challenge fade. In the end though, both teams have supported successful 1st team squads and not suffered too badly as a consequence. This is oddly a game where a draw would be the fair overall season result, but we doubt wither side will want that.