Welcome back to our Gulf Rugby updates. This week we’ve got a combo sized rugby roundup of action from both Week one and two.
Jump right in…
Team of the week – The Men In Green From Muscat
The arrival of Muscat Rugby Club into Division 2 is a welcome from across a border, that is only a couple of hours drive from Dubai. It’s a great step towards growing Gulf Rugby in the region and we’re sure fixtures in Muscat city will be a highlight for all teams throughout the year. Up until this season we’ve only seen the Omani outfit playing festival rugby, mainly during the Dubai Rugby Sevens competitions. Round One of Division 2 marked the club’s competitive Gulf Rugby XVs debut, and they announced themselves in style with a hard fought 28-19 win over last years Community League finalists and table toppers – Barrelhouse (who made their XV’s rugby debut this time last year).
Karl Rasmussen, Muscat Club Captain commented on their first competitive league outing by saying:
“The most important thing is that all of the players were happy, on both sides. The fixture between us and Barrelhouse was hard fought, but absolutely in the right spirit of the game. The momentum of the game kept switching, so in the end we could not tell who would finally win, and they were unlucky not to get a win or a bonus point, but overall, the next team is going to have an even better time than Barrelhouse, especially if they travel the night before.”
The new addition to club rugby in Division 2 will no doubt make the established order in the league sit up and take notice.
It was straight back to winning ways for Bahrain after two rounds of West Asia Rugby, as the current Champions made an impressive start to their 2019/20 campaign, collecting maximum points from fixtures against Dubai Tigers and KnightsEagles.
Abu Dhabi Harlequins also made it two from two as they swept aside the Dragons 16-56. Quins then hosted Tigers in a thriller of a match, as they scraped through with a 29-27 win. Tigers certainly look like they’re not here to make up the numbers and will have other teams in the league watching them closely with interest as the season plays out.
In a new tournament structure this year, the league will not be spilt as with previous seasons, but culminates with the top four sides in the league playing a semi final knockout stage, so early wins in the season may prove crucial for teams looking for one of those top four spots.
The ten teams competing in the social quarters of Gulf Rugby will be playing their fixtures every two weeks with a straight final place play off between the top two teams in the league after nine rounds of rugby. In their opening round of Division 2 action, Muscat, Harlequins and Rak Rugby all notched up wins as did Shaheen who benefited from a forfeit win over the KnightsEagles. The other fixture to complete the round was postponed between Amblers and Sharks.
Womens Sevens Series
It was a strong start for the hosts of Round 1 in the UAE Womens Rugby Sevens Series competition as Dubai Hurricanes claimed their first tournament win in the A-League. A new entry this year saw the ladies from Tigers win the B-League competition.