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Dubai Eagles Women retain 7s Title After Semi-Final Drama

dsc eagles dubai 7s gulf womens champions 2018

Eagles Women retain 7s title after semi-final drama

It was comfortable in the end for the Dubai Eagles, as they retained the Gulf’ Womens crown they won in their debut season last year but their 22-0 win over a spirited Al Ain Amblers in the final is far from the full story.

It took a sudden death try in extra time for the dominant side in Gulf Womens rugby to make it to the final after having found themselves in a monumental struggle with Dubai Hurricanes. Eagles were forced to display a level of resilience in that 22-17 win they aren’t often required to call on, just to make it back to the showpiece occasion on Pitch 2 and Hurricanes can leave with their heads held high.

The final itself was also not straightforward, with Amblers executing a tight, forwards oriented gameplan, which saw them keep possession for long periods through the power running of Jasmine Clark, Louise Fenton and Farah Alazri. Whilst the Amblers were able to match the favourites for physicality, epitomised by a number of crunching hits from Temi Akingbade, it was ultimately the Eagles’ superior skill levels which saw them pull clear.

Each of their four tries coming through passing interplay and a willingness to offload in the tackle often exemplified by the two Murphys, Lisa Marie and ever dangerous Hollie. They did have to withstand heavy pressure at the beginning of the second half with their lead at only 10-0, but Amblers inability to force the ball over the line was immediately proved costly when Bethany Middleton went in under the posts after an Eagles breakaway to be converted by Mairead Comerford.

Eagles rang the changes late on in the game but showed little sign of weakening their performance, replacement Kim Larsson completing the scoring with her first touch. Amblers might feel that the margin of victory didn’t do justice to the balance of play, and no neutral observer would have begrudged a consolation score, but Eagles clinical attacking play brought about their just reward.

DSC Eagles: Bethany Middleton, Hannah Aspden, Helen Amos, Hollie Murphy, Julie Lermusiaux, Kim Larssen, Lisa Marie Murphy, Mairead Comerford, Sandra Kunkler, Santi Stiglingh, Tara Cooney, Yevgeniya Aufdembrink

Al Ain Amblers: Bridgette Flake, Christaia Houser, Courtney Anderson, Erica Savage, Farah Alazri, Hannah Hall, Jasmine Clark, Karrissa Pimm, Louise Fenton, Marisse de Klerk, Sylvia Vilsoni, Temi Akingbad

Article by: Huw Harrow

Gulf Rugby Weekly Roundup 30.10.18

gulf rugby roundup

This week’s action across the Gulf rugby scene, including for the first time a look at the women’s sevens league.

Jump right in…

Dubai Eagles rugby team of the week

Team of the Week – DSC Eagles Women

On current form the Eagles ladies would have a claim to be one of the most dominant sports teams in the Middle East in any sport. The reigning Womens Rugby Sevens Series and Dubai 7s champions swept to victory this week in round two of this year’s competition, just as they did in round one. Eagles did at least concede points this week with runners up Dubai Hurricanes and the Dubai Cones managing to cross the whitewash against them, a feat not achieved by any side in the opening round.

abu dhabi harlequins first team premiership rugby

West Asia Premiership

Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Bahrain continue to set the early pace, both recording impressive wins this weekend. Quins gained revenge for their UAE Premiership final loss to Exiles with a 44-20 win at The Sevens Stadium, while Bahrain comfortably saw off Dubai Hurricanes at home. Jebel Ali Dragons halted their recent slump but were made to work hard by DSC Eagles. The top two meet in what promises to be a crunch fixture next week.

saracens conference rugby player


Just three fixtures were recorded in this round of Conference games as Exiles 2s were forced to forfeit during their fixture against Quins 2s due to injury woes in the 67th minute. All other matches went as the formbook might have suggested. Dubai Tigers 1s and Abu Dhabi Saracens 1s notched comfortable wins over Al Ain Amblers 1s and Arabian Knights respectively to cement their positions at the head of their group. Dragons 2s remain unbeaten but much as in the corresponding 1s fixture, did not have it all their own way in getting past Eagles 2s 27-19.

rak vs sharks


A further three games at Community level where Barrelhouse and Jebel Ali Dragons 3s maintained their unbeaten records, Barrelhouse impressing again in seeing off reigning champions Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3s 29-7. Quins slip to fourth in the standings behind RAK who saw off Sharks 2s.

rak womens rugby b-league winners

Womens Sevens Series

Round two of the womens sevens league, hosted by Hurricanes, saw no fewer than 30 matches take place on an action packed day at the Sevens. A full round robin A League and B league were completed with six sides competing in each. DSC Eagles continued their stranglehold on the women’s game in winning League A and remain unbeaten this year.

League B was a much tighter affair with RAK and Sharjah emerging as the two stand out sides, in what was both of their first league appearances of the season. RAK emerged victorious with just conversion splitting the sides in a 12-10 decider.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Your Gulf Rugby 2018/19 Season Preview

gulf rugby season preview 2018

2018/19 Gulf Rugby Season Preview

The start of the 2018/19 Gulf Rugby season is now upon us and with pre-season in full swing at most of the nation’s rugby clubs, it’s time to look ahead at the action in store for us and see how all of the domestic league competitions are shaping up. The summer has not been without its usual period of change as clubs come to terms with the usual spate of player arrivals and departures. Here’s what we know about how things will line up this season.

Jump Right In

UAE/West Asia Premiership

West Asia Premiership season 2018-19

UAE Premiership season 2018-19

Holders: Jebel Ali Dragons (West Asia) and Dubai Exiles (UAE)

Format: A straight league set up with all sides playing each other home and away over three rounds (Home, Away, Home). The champions of the West Asia Premiership will be decided between the top four teams after all league rounds are complete via playoff semi finals and final. Likewise, the top four UAE based outfits (discarding results against Bahrain) will have a semi final playoff to see who will play on finals day for the right to be crowned UAE Premiership Champions.

Ins and Outs: After a difficult season which saw them finish bottom of the pile with only one win, Abu Dhabi Saracens have decided to be relegated to the Conference league this year as they embark on a rebuilding phase.

UAE/West Asia Premiership Teams

Bahrain, Dragons, Eagles, Exiles, Harlequins Hurricanes

UAE Conference

UAE conference season preview 2018-19

Holders: Dubai Tigers

Format: Pay attention because things are about to get a little complicated in the second tier of Gulf rugby!

The ten UAE Conference sides have been split into two groups who will each play home and away fixtures during the first half of the season. Group A are formed of all UAE Premiership represented clubs and Group B are all other UAE rugby clubs. They will all fall under one league table this year with no split league as seen in previous years.

Part two of the season will see the sides face opposition from outside their group but only once. Points earned are added to their initial group totals. The season then culminates with the top two sides from each group entering the knockout stages with the Conference final scheduled for the end of March 2019.

UAE Conference Teams

Group A:
Harlequins 2s, Eagles 2s, Exiles 2s, Hurricanes 2s, Dragons 2s

Group B:
Amblers, Saracens, Knights, Sharks, Tigers

Ins and Outs: The Conference league was dealt a blow this week with the withdrawal of last season’s runners up and one of the UAE’s oldest rugby clubs, Sharjah Wanderers, citing lack of numbers. They will be replaced by the Dubai Eagles 2s who played their first season of Community rugby last year. Abu Dhabi Saracens 1s have dropped down from the UAE and will only field one team this season.

UAE Community

UAE Community season preview 2018-19

Holders: Abu Dhabi Harlequins 3s

Format: An initial league stage with each side playing each other once, aiming to secure a top two finish and a place at finals day where the champions will be decided.

Ins and Outs: Unsurprisingly for a league that fluctuated in size over the course of last season, the UAE Community rugby competition has seen its fair share of off-season activity. Barrelhouse, a club that is well established on the 7s circuit, make a welcome league debut whilst the Shaheen have also signalled an intent to return to the competition this year. Dubai Tigers’ expanding squad size sees them enter a 2s team for the first time. The Dubai Hurricanes will not field a 3rd team this year so will not participate in Community rugby. Disappointment comes in the shape of the Beaver Nomads, traditionally a team to beat at Community level, being forced to withdraw from this year’s competition.

UAE Community Teams

Amblers 2s, Barrelhouse 1s, Dragons 3s, Harlequins 3s, RAK 1s, Shaheen 1s, Sharks 2s, Tigers 2s

uae womens rugby season preview 2018

Womens Rugby

Holders: Dubai Eagles

Format: We’ll be doing a dedicated Womens Rugby article closer to their first set of fixtures (5th October), but to give you an idea of what to expect this season, there will be eight rounds of rugby where we’ll see Sevens rugby played at Harlequins, Hurricanes, Amblers, Saracens, Sharjah, Tigers and finally Eagles.

This season, there will be an invitational 15-a-side match held on finals day at The Sevens Stadium, alongside the other mens rugby Premiership, Conference and Community league finals which will be held on the 29th March 2019 which should bring the close to the season to an exciting climax this year with all levels featured on the final day.

uae mini youth rugby season preview 2018

Mini & Junior Rugby

This season we will hopefully see the Mini and Youth Rugby results and league tables featured for the first time on the website. We’re really looking forward to bringing you as much of the rugby action as possible here in the Middle East, so be sure to check back on a weekly basis.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Choosday Chat With Dubai Eagles Player Conor Coakley

Conor Coakley Eagles rugby player

Dubai Eagles second row Conor Coakley talks changing room calamities, shares in Snapchat, and dodgy dress sense.


Age: 33
Born: Arklow, Republic Of Ireland
Club: Dubai Eagles
Position: Second Row
Height: 193cm
Weight: 105kg

“One of my phobias is nuns…. they scare me. I would also have to say I’m a bit of a Trypophobic”

Song to get you pumped for a match?

Rocky Road to Dublin, by The Dubliners.

Who are the jokers at Eagles?

They would have to be Daniel Crumplin, Gorgeous George Agius, Mark Sumner.

Do you have any nicknames?

I have too many to name and none that are flattering.

What annoys you?

Jamie Webb. (Eagles player)

What do you get up to in your spare time when not playing rugby?

I love to travel as we’re pretty much the gateway of the world here in Dubai. I also play guitar, and I sometimes like to give myself motivational talks too.

Do you have any phobias?

One of my phobias is nuns…. they scare me. I would also have to say I’m a bit of a Trypophobic. (We’ll let you look that one up!)

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could have one superpower, it would have to be the ability to fly. No more Dubai traffic!!!!

What’s the daftest thing you’ve ever bought?

There’s too many that come to mind… but some shares in Snapchat were probably the daftest thing I’ve bought.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would it be?

Padraig ‘Podge’ Crowley. We are all only participants in Podge’s world.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Art; I paint. I can also sing in full “Dancing at the Crossroads” by The Wild Swans. Oh and archery, I’m good at that too.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

It wasn’t on the the pitch but in the changing rooms before a big game, circa 2010 for Doha, when Angus Frasier broke his own nose pulling on his sock. (Ouch)

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Joe Rogan, he’s a standup comedian and martial arts commentator.

Who has the worst Dress sense in the Eagles?

There are several contenders but it must be Cameron Dearie for his pointy shoes with spikes. I think he got them from Dragon Mart.

Action from a weekend where two pieces of silverware were awarded

rugby roundup

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Action from a weekend where two pieces of silverware were awarded


Jump right in…


    Teams of the Week – Jebel Ali Dragons 1s and DSC Eagles Women

    West Asia champions 2018 Dragons

    womens crossboarder 7s series winners 2018 dubai eagles

    With both these teams winning trophies over the weekend, the team of the week title has to be shared. Dragons travelled to Bahrain knowing that only a bonus point win would likely be enough to top the West Asia Premiership. By coming out on top 36-32 at a venue where no UAE side had won this season they prove themselves worthy West Asia Premiership champions. Speaking with us after the match, Dragons Chairman Stuart Quinn was quick to compliment the players:

    “It was an amazing win at the toughest fixture of the league away to Bahrain. The game was really decided by a 10 minute spell after half time which kept us in reach of the title and with it being our 25th Anniversary this year, you couldn’t write a better script!”

    The path to glory has been a little more straightforward for the DSC Eagles women. The newly assembled outfit have won five out of the six rounds of the Gulf Women’s 7s rugby Series and they made sure to finish on a high by beating Dubai Tigers women in this weekend’s final round. With a Dubai 7s win also thrown into the mix it has been a dominant debut season for the Eagles and plenty of work to do for the chasing pack over the summer to narrow the gap. Darrell McEwen, Head Coach of the Eagles Womens squad spoke with us after his team lifted the trophy, saying:

    “It’s been a great first season for the Eagles ladies. The trophies are just reward for all the hours of training we’ve done throughout the season. As a coach, a great amount of satisfaction and pride has come from seeing players improve their basic skills and execute them in games. All the clubs have put on great tournaments as the women’s rugby community flourishes and I believe it will only get better.”

    UAE & West Asia Premiership

    abu dhabi quins 2018

    Dragons securing the all important bonus point win in Bahrain meant that Abu Dhabi Harlequins efforts away to DSC Eagles would always be in vain as far as the West Asia title goes. However it’s a different story in the UAE Premiership where Quins leapfrog Dragons in to second place and qualify for the season ending finale against Dubai Exiles.

    With that contest still over a month away, the newly formed West Asia Cup and Trophy now take centre stage. The ‘big 4’ in West Asia contest the cup while the bottom three go in to the trophy. This week sees the final of the UAE Premiership Cup take place up in Abu Dhabi as they host the Exiles.

    UAE Conference

    uae conference rugby sharjah wanderers

    Just one game was completed in the Conference which finished in a 22-22 draw at Zayed Sports City between Harlequins 2s and Dubai Tigers. Despite having led for much of the game, Tigers will still be pleased to come away from Abu Dhabi with a share of the spoils, which guarantees them a home semi final in the playoffs. The final round of matches will see Exiles, Wanderers and Harlequins battle it out to claim the other spot in the top two.

    UAE Community

    community rugby beaver nomads dubai

    Results went to form at the top of the table with Beaver Nomads and RAK Rugby running up high scores in their victories over Hurricanes 3s and Amblers 2s respectively. Towards the bottom, DSC Eagles 2s finally saw a closely contested game go their way to claim their first ever win in the Community league 32-24 over Saracens 2s. The result sees Eagles jump from dead last up to 8th and with a couple of games still to come, they will be aiming for a mid-table finish.

    Women’s 7s Series

    womens rugby 2018

    So that’s the 7s season over with for 2017/18. As mentioned above, the title winners Dubai Eagles will enjoy their bragging rights over the summer and may even pic up a couple more pieces of Silverware at this years Barrelhouse and Sharjah 10s in April.

    Here are the full results from the final weekend of ladies rugby:

    Cup winners: Dubai Eagles
    Plate Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
    Bowl Winners: Al Ain Amblers
    Shield Winners: Sharjah Wanderers
    Spoon Winners: Dubai Hurricanes
    Fork Winners: Kuwait Scorpions

    Article by: Huw Harrow

    Rocktape Barrelhouse 10’s Tournament

    For those of you still hungry for more rugby action this season, Barrelhouse Rugby Club (new additions to the Community League next season) are hosting their annual Rocktape Barrelhouse 10’s tournament on the 6th April 2018 at Dubai College, with both social and vets team entries still available.

    Get your team entered before the deadline date (March 24th) and join the Yalla Rugby Select squad pitch side for some mediocre banter and some festival style rugby!!!!

Eagles Swoop For First Silverware In Gulf Women’s 7s

womens gulf final dubai sevens 2017

Eagles swoop for first silverware in Gulf Women’s 7s

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The 2017 Gulf Women’s 7s will go down as the first piece of silverware in Dubai Sports City Eagles’ fledgling history, after they swept aside Emirates Firebirds 29-0 in Saturday’s final. In less than half a season in existence, the Eagles have built a powerful women’s outfit and they proved themselves to be a cut above the competition over sevens weekend, conceding only one try throughout the tournament, in a 17-7 semi final win over Dubai Tigers.

The Firebirds, a side assembled predominantly from Emirates Airlines cabin crew, had done well to make it to the final and with their band of supporters in party mood, were determined to make the most of a centerpiece occasion on Pitch 2. But they had no answer to a suffocating Eagles defence and the powerful running of Hollie Murphy in the open field.

Womens Gulf Champions 2017-1

Murphy’s early double set the Eagles on their way, demonstrating calculated running lines to open the scoring off a switch move before outflanking the Firebirds cover defence for her second. When Mairead Commerford’s jinking run put the Eagles 17-0 up at half time the game was effectively settled as a contest.

Whilst the Firebirds struggled to generate attacking momentum, they could not be faulted for commitment in defence against physically imposing opponents. Scrum half Harieta Vilsoni notably dishing out more than one shuddering challenege and Emma Fulloon tenacious throughout.
But their dogged detemination was not enough to unsettle the Eagles, who enjoyed long spells of posession for most of the second period. With the assured boot of Alexandrea Cook keeping the Firebirds penned in, further scores eventually came for Bethan Middleton and Hannah Aspden to round off a complete team performance, firmly establishing the Eagles as the pre-eminent side in UAE women’s rugby.

DSC Eagles: Bethan Middleton, Hannah Aspden, Stephanie Mandy, Tara Cooney, Helen Amos, Mairead Comerford, Santi Stiglingh, Sandra Kunkler, Hollie Murphy, Alexandrea Cook, Kim Larssen

Emirates Firebirds: Emma Fulloon, Monique Ven der Bank, Katherine Maclay, Sydnee Chang, Harieta Vilsoni, Melissa Lee, Damaris Segeyano, Bronte Walker, Klaira Ufi, Jesie Taefinuu, Kirstin Kuresa, Audrey Kamali

Match Report: Huw Harrow

Premiership League Preview

Harlequins UAE Premiership champions 2017

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Whats New With The UAE Premiership League?

  • Dubai Sports City Eagles enter the league for the first time
  • Doha will not compete in the West Asia Premiership for non-rugby reasons

Dubai Exiles UAE Premiership rugby 2017

Can anyone knock Abu Dhabi Harlequins off their perch?

On the face of it, it’s a big ask. The Quins swept all before them last season completing an unprecedented quintuple of trophies including both the UAE and West Asia Premiership titles. With the core of this side remaining together this season, the capital city side certainly begin as the team to beat. What may offer their rivals a glimmer of hope is that the off-season has not been without its challenges for the Harlequins with reported loss of lucrative sponsorship deals impacting recruitment and preparation. None has a bigger point to prove than the UAE’s oldest club, Dubai Exiles who endured a disappointing 50th anniversary campaign last year, surrendering their Premiership crown with barely a whimper. Steady recruitment over the summer, including the addition of Ireland and Munster capped Denis Hurley as Assistant Coach should see Exiles mount a stronger challenge across the board this season.

Dubai Eagles rugby club

How will the UAE’s newest club faire in their debut season?

The formation of Dubai Sports City Eagles has been the major talking point of the summer and all eyes will be on the debutants after their somewhat controversial immediate insertion in to the top level of UAE rugby. If a pre-season 59-5 drubbing at the hands of Jebel Ali Dragons is anything to go by, they still have plenty of work to do to mould a side capable of competing on this stage. However, strong off field foundations are in place and the prospect of playing elite rugby at Dubai Sports City is likely to prove attractive to prospective new players. The club hierarchy may not expect to challenge for silverware this season but the pressure will be on coach Pat Benson to show that the Eagles belong at UAE rugby’s top table.

Article by: Huw Harrow

Eagles Feathers Ruffled In First Outing Against Dragons

jebel ali dragons dubai eagles rugby

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Dubai Eagles Suffered A Heavy Loss In Their First Ever Outing To The Dragons

It was business as usual last night at Jebel Ali, as the Dragons put on a display showing the expected standard needed in Premiership rugby in a pre-season friendly against new boys – Dubai Eagles.

There was a good turnout for what was a very hot and sweaty evening at the Jebel Ali Centre of excellence. The Eagles were finally able to get their claws into some decent rugby after what seems like a whirlwind of a summer campaign, with plenty of players signed up for the new outfit, helped by a boost of players from the recently folded Wasps and the relocation of the Dubai Sharks, from what was a very convenient location for local Dubai rugby players.

The Dragons gave the Eagles quite a toasty welcome to a Premiership standard of rugby, as they put 59-5 past them with some slick play and good line breaks. Henry Paul’s side looked very sharp and will be looking to make amends for last seasons Premiership final loss this season.

The Eagles certainly showed what they had to offer though, with some strong defence, attacking plays and should feel pretty happy to get their first match under their wings. Scrum half, Josh Ives, will certainly be happy as he darted over the line in the corner to score the first ever try for the Eagles.

Click to watch the match highlights below:

Head coach, Pat Benson praised his side, saying;

“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. They put themselves out there and wanted to play what I feel is a very established Dragons side for a first rugby match for the Dubai Eagles.”

The Eagles struggled with organisation, but showed good glimpses, against a Dragons team that have played together for quite a long time. Replacements were limited with a few players missing due to injury or still on summer breaks and that showed on some of the tired bodies on the pitch, but they all put in a very good 80 minute shift.

The hosts were very accommodating and supportive, getting all players some rugby action which helped out the Eagles in the later minutes with regards to equaling out the standard as much as they could.

Benson added, “Looking forward, I can only see us getting better and the glimpses and patches that did come together, I think it’s showing that the Eagles are actually looking to play some decent rugby”. “I thought the Dragons hospitality and support given to us was absolutely outstanding and we look forward to playing them again in the season.”

Sharks Show Strength And Resilience After A Troubled Summer

The build up match before the main event last night saw the Dragons 2nd XV take on the Sharks 1st XV side. Pre season games are often a bit hit and miss, but today, certainly for the Dubai Sharks, given how the last 3 months have gone for them, was an indicator of how they have progressed and more importantly, how all the new players have integrated into the new look side.

Dubai Sharks Danny Griffiths

Club Chairman, Mike Quinn was impressed, saying;

“Although the Dragons won, the Sharks have taken a huge amount from the game in our understanding of progress and what we now need to work on.”

There was some strong defence and very competitive rugby played by both sides, which made for very good viewing, and hopefully a taste of what we’re in for in the UAE Conference this year.

Overall, the result may not have gone the way of the Sharks, but they appear to have learned a lot about themselves and seem to have brushed aside the upheaval of their club during the summer break. Final score 34-17 to the Dragons.

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