Yesterday’s rugby produced some interesting and close results and only reinforces the competitiveness of the leagues this season.
At the 7s, Bahrain and Hurricanes early kick off, meant a strained neck between the Premiership clash and the entertainment going on on pitch 6 between Sharjah and Wasps. Both games were end to end and both pretty close until decisive tries turned the games.
We start our Kukri ME weekend round up with UAE Premiership and Gulf Championship action.
Staying at the 7s and Bahrain’s Louie Tomlin was pretty pleased with his sides eventual win over Dubai Hurricanes. The Canes produced some fluent rugby in the first half and Bahrain looked like the traveling had affected them, but coming into the last 20 minutes and it was as though, they suddenly realised they had the car in 2nd gear all day. A 5m crash over try would have helped their confidence and all of a sudden player’s were on their toes and sharper on the ball. With 12 players no available for this game, coach Tomlin knows he has a good package this season and after this away result, Bahrain are certainly going to be a team to look out for this season. Final score 23 – 11 .
In Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins played out to script, both teams up for a game and a show and Harlequins using their home advantage to the full. The final score 25 – 18 and Dubai Exiles know the challenge has been thrown down. It’s a challenge coach Benade will relish.
Abu Dhabi Saracens suffered the travelling woes and struggled with numbers, even calling on their coach Winston Cowie to put in an 80-minute shift. They went down to Doha 37 – 7, giving Doha a first win for the year.
Dragons took a forfeit 20 – 0 win against Amblers and after the drama of losing to Bahrain last week, would maybe have preferred a better hit out to get back to speed. With Bahrain, Exiles and Harlequins looking strong, Dragons hopes for a resurgent season look in peril.
Arabian Knights put up the most surprising result for the day, although anyone watching their display against Wasps will know that this is now an 80-minute team. After being 17-0 down early against Tigers, they benefitted from some ill-discipline from their opponents with 2 penalty tries for a final 29 – 24 Tiger win.
Dubai Hurricanes produced a much better showing against Harlequins although be it a final 38 – 31 loss. The canes looked a little off colour last week, but the 2s normally get strong as the season comes together.
Meanwhile the Dragons steamroll their way forwards with a commanding 52 – 17 win against Saracens. They are moving forwards nicely and are likely Top 6 finishers already.
Finally, at the 7s, the game of the day was Sharjah against Wasps. Dubai Wasps had done some homework and some internal soul searching and came out full of intent against Sharjah. Both teams enthusiastically encouraged from the sidelines, who had their own bit of banter going on. Sharjah had many patches with strong go forward ball, but the intensity of Wasps bringing repeated and annoying errors in Sharjah’s game. Wasps scored first and seemed to hold their belief they could win, but still there something boiling internally.
Discipline is the Wasps enemy right now, and that’s not foul play, but just keeping it together on the field. Sharjah finally cracked them with a try and having found their kicker, kept Wasps at bay once they led. The final score 13 – 7 and Wasps maybe deserved more, but Sharjah will be relieved and buoyed to come through