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Team of the Week – Abu Dhabi Saracens 1s
It takes a lot of guts and spirit to keep turning up week after week when results have not gone your way. Couple that with a distracting off-field situation and your city rivals enjoying unparalleled success and strength in depth and a lesser bunch than Abu Dhabi Saracens would have long since thrown in the towel. Both they and DSC Eagles will have been targeting last weekend’s gulf rugby fixture since the new year and it was always likely to be a tight affair. Saracens getting over the line 14-10 to record their first win of the season, makes them our team of the week.
Away from the battle at the bottom there were impressive wins for Dubai Exiles 36-11 over the Hurricanes and for Abu Dhabi Harlequins for whom normal service was resumed in a 27-5 victory in their West Asia Gulf Rugby fixture with Bahrain. That result lifts Quins back on top of the West Asia standings by points difference but they sit third in the UAE standings behind both Exiles and Jebel Ali Dragons. This weekend’s clash of the top two at Jebel Ali could have a significant bearing on who contests the end of season UAE final. With Exiles currently having played a game more than their near rivals you sense that for them in particular getting a result will be an enormous boost. The sub-plot to the fixture is of course the chance for Dragons to gain revenge for their heartbreak at the Dubai 7s where Exiles came from behind to deny them the Gulf Mens League crown. Be sure to check out the great LIVE Rugby coverage that the Exiles are now introducing as they look to repeat last weeks popular broadcast again up at Jebel Ali, curtesy of Mark Why.
It was not such good news for Saracens in the Community League where their 2s side were forced to forfeit their match with Arabian Knights 2s, a similar fate befalling the Shaheen who had been due to take on the Sharks 2s. In the three fixtures which did take place there was something of an upset out in RAK as Dubai Hurricanes 3s claimed their first win of the season, 22-19 over a RAK Rugby outfit who are contending at the top of the table this year. The Canes perhaps benefitting in terms of squad depth with the Conference league enjoying a bye week. It was also tight between Harlequins 3s and Beaver Nomads, Quins edging home 13-10. The defeat for Nomads leaves Jebel Ali Dragons 3s as the only side left undefeated in the whole of UAE rugby this season. There was also a good win away from home for Al Ain Amblers 2s, but they look to be too far behind the top contenders to mount a challenge for a place in the final.
Article by: Huw Harrow