Dubai Hurricanes - Dubai 7s Gulf Mens Champions 2019

Dubai Hurricanes – Dubai 7s Gulf Mens Champions 2019

Dubai Hurricanes completed a successful defence of their Gulf Mens League Dubai 7s crown, defeating Bahrain 26-10 in a final they largely controlled from start to finish.

Despite having won the pool fixture between the two sides and seen off a strong Abu Dhabi Harlequins outfit in their semi final, Bahrain RFC were never really able to get their power game going and were hampered by a string of handling errors at critical moments.

A second half comeback was fleetingly on the cards after Greg Heath’s try reduced the deficit to 10-21, but dropped passes and the ability of Hurricanes to take the sting out of the revival by slowing down the game meant the outcome was never in serious doubt.

The opening proceedings however, had seen Hurricanes adopt a much faster tempo, moving the ball into the wider channels and allowing their strike runners space to operate. Playing with the confidence of reigning champions they were impressive in their ability to keep control of possession when under pressure and manoeuvre a heavier set of Bahrain forwards around the park.

The ever dangerous Sakiusa Naisau opened the scoring with a superb solo effort from deep within Hurricanes territory, his try then followed by another breakaway score from Tobias Oakley after good work from Blair Cochrane. Lewis Anderson added a third – all three converted by Boris Finck – before a typically powerful surge from Jack Phillips created the space for Kyran Odendaal to give Bahrain hope going in to the break.

With a sense that the job was already half done, Hurricanes were able to take their foot off the gas in the second period, employing a more conservative approach with kicks to the corner and even a rolling maul (much to the delight of their home support). They were ultimately to have the last say after a series of phases camped in the opposition 22 put Ed Lewis over in the corner to complete the scoring.

If their 2018 triumph had seen Hurricanes emerge as something of a surprise package, in retaining their title they have underlined their calibre in the shortened format. Both sides will now switch attention back to the 15 a side West Asia Premiership which resumes in the new year where Dubai Exiles sit unbeaten at the top of the league.

Bahrain: Adam Wallace, Faataualofa Paila, Graham Bishop, Greg Heath, Jack Phillips, James Whittingham, Kyle Nair, Kyran Odendaal, Nika Morehu, Rhys Fitzgerald, Daniel Parete, Vairaro Mahutariki

Dubai Hurricanes: Blair Cochrane, Boris Finck, Ed Lewis, Elliot Speed, Emosi Ratuvecanaua, Harry Heathcote, Lewis Anderson, Pio Tanimatuku, Sakiusa Naisau, Tim Richards, Tobias Oakeley, Tomos Roderick

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