As we have a week off domestic rugby let’s recap with the latest from across all four divisions in Gulf Rugby as the season begins to take shape.
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Team Of The Week – Dubai Tigers 1st XV
We’re only into round three but the Dubai Tigers are already causing upsets in the region. Last week they picked up their first win in the West Asia Premiership against a strong Dragons side who were looking to make amends for their first round drumming by Harlequins. Tigers lost their opening fixture against current West Asia Champions – Bahrain, but took Quins to the wire in Round 2 only to miss out on a win by two points. Their first three fixtures have all been against the top sides of the Gulf and have certainly shown that they are more than capable of playing Premiership rugby in the Middle East.
West Asia Premiership
Dubai Exiles celebrated their second win of the season against title holders Bahrain, in what was a repeat of twelve months ago in a similar victory at the Sevens Stadium, beating them 21-15. The Exiles are the only team to have beaten Bahrain, ending the #RedWall’s run of sixteen straight wins. Third round wins also came for Harlequins as they beat struggling KnightsEagles 55-19 down at Sports City and as already mentioned, The Tigers, a team gaining momentum, beating the Dragons 30-25 on home soil.
Relishing their clubs revival in Division 1, the Abu Dhabi Saracens sit top of the table having comfortably beaten the Dragons 43-8. KnightsEagles 2nd XV tasted victory for the first time as they managed to beat Harlequins 26-12, seeing them share the middle of the league table with Al Ain Amblers. After a shaky start, it looks like the Wanderers are back to winning ways as they comfortably beat Tigers, lifting them to fourth place in the league. Hurricanes bagged their second win of the season, beating last years finalists Amblers over in the Garden City, 44-10. The Dubai Sharks are still to register a win in almost twelve months, but will settle for a well earned draw against the Exiles 2nd XV, 22-22.
A team enjoying life at the moment are RAK Rugby, who have made it two from two, thumping the Sharks 56-5 at Al Hamra, their new home ground, which was officially opened by Sheikh Abdullah bin Humaid Al Qasimi before kick off. Continuing their successful start to life in Division 2, Muscat defeated last years champions Dragons 34-17, keeping them joint top on points with RAK. Barrelhouse notched a heavy scoreline against the Saracens, lifting them to third place in the league with an 81-0 scoreline. Amblers picked up an easy win against the Shaheen who forfeited their fixture and the KnightsEagles vs Harlequins game was postponed.
Womens Sevens Series
Last weekend saw Round 2 of the Womens Sevens Series played out up in the Capital as it was successfully hosted by the Abu Dhabi Harlequins in Zayed Sports City. The Dubai KnightsEagles Ladies tasted victory for the first time this season as they look to make it a third season on the bounce as champions. Winners of the B League were the Abu Dhabi Saracens ladies team. Sarries ladies Captain Michelle Moyles said:
“It was a really successful start to our season and a testament to all the hard work we’ve been doing at training. The support of our coaches and the men’s teams have all really helped build an encouraging and positive atmosphere at the club.”
Assistant head coach of Saracens ladies, Luca Mene praised the team, saying:
“The girls played amazing rugby, which was appreciated by everyone. I received congratulations from referees, other coaches, as well as many players from the other teams. Our squad was only created last year, the year before we had only four girls, and couldn’t make a team up. If we look back on our achievements, Friday was a great success. We won our first tournament and beat, for the first time, RAK Ladies RFC, which happens to be a very strong and experienced team.”
From a revolutionary standpoint, women’s rugby seems to be gaining more prominence now in the region, than ever before. We look forward to the next round which will be on the 1st November and hosted by the Abu Dhabi Saracens at Al Ghazal.