If anybody was nervous about whether or not Dubai Tigers might stand as much as the rigours of West Asia Premiership degree rugby, they have been answered emphatically final week.
The newly promoted facet gave Gulf rugby titans Abu Dhabi Harlequins an almighty fright earlier than finally happening 29-27 within the capital final Friday. It adopted a decent 39-5 loss by the hands of behemoths Bahrain on opening night time.
So what’s in retailer for below the radar Jebel Ali Dragons in week three of the WAP this weekend? Extra of the identical, presumably. Tigers are already starting to earn their stripes after a second successive UAE Convention (now UAE Division 1) title was adopted with accepting promotion to the highest tier.
Dragons, in the meantime, are one thing of an unknown amount after they adopted glory in 2017/18 with an insipid title defence a 12 months in the past, a season by which they lacked puff.
“It’s another big game against a good side. We have been improving week on week and this week we can only look to do the same,” mentioned Tigers’ stoic however targeted veteran Jamie Clarke, a former UAE worldwide who loved vital success earlier in his profession with Quins and Doha.
“We were close last week but couldn’t get it over the line, so this week we just try to be better and then let the results come from that.”
Tigers and Dragons tussle at Dubai Sports activities Metropolis within the early kick-off on Friday, whereas one of many two different video games sees Bahrain in Dubai to tackle Exiles at The Sevens. This must be a luxurious showdown between the 2 sides who contested final season’s Premiership closing.
Adam Wallace (third l) has taken over the Bahrain reins from Louie Tonkin. (Photograph credit score: www.jodiebakerphotography.com).
Bahrain received 14 of their 15 league video games final 12 months, overwhelmed solely by Jacques Benade’s Exiles, who then ran them ferociously shut within the closing the place Bahrain in the end scraped dwelling by 23-21.
And Adam Wallace, new head coach of the champions, can’t anticipate what he anticipates shall be an in depth contest.
“We’re really looking forward to it. We’re expecting a big challenge and a good, physical game,” mentioned the previous captain, who has stepped onto the sidelines this season.
“They at all times go nicely at dwelling and we all know they are going to be on type after beating Hurricanes final week. That is the one recreation we misplaced final 12 months so we’ll be trying to go one higher this weekend and hopefully solidify our place as contenders once more this 12 months.
“Large video games like this are what it’s all about and it’s why you play the sport. You need to be in these tight contests and problem your self and if all of it goes nicely on the day and also you get the end result you labored for, it makes it all of the extra rewarding.
“We have a few issues with unavailability and injuries this week so we have a makeshift squad. But I’m confident that whoever represents Bahrain at the weekend will be up for the challenge.”
In Friday’s different fixture, Quins are additionally in Dubai at Knights Eagles. Quins will hope to make it three wins from three towards the newly-amalgamated outfit who’ve been handed a troublesome begin to the season. They misplaced their opening pair of fixtures towards Canes and in Bahrain final week and shall be hoping to keep away from conceding 50 factors for the third successive week.
Fixtures: Friday
4pm Dubai Tigers v Jebel Ali Dragons
5pm Dubai Exiles v Bahrain
5pm Dubai Knights Eagles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

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