Three players whose performances counted among the few positives of an otherwise bleak Cup of Nations for UAE last month had conflicting fortunes as the Dubai Hurricanes started their campaign with a 11-7 win over Bahrain on Friday.
Duncan Murray, the UAE centre, scored their lone try, while James Ham, the fly-half, added the rest of the home side's points from the kicking tee.
Meanwhile, Chris Burch, who excelled at inside centre in his debut tournament for the UAE before the Christmas break, was back barking orders from the sidelines.
The Australian back, who is also the Hurricanes head coach, is recovering from medial ligament damage. The original prognosis suggested he would be out for two months, but he is positive of return in time for the Asian Five Nations at the end of the season.
"It is frustrating but there is obviously a big incentive to get back fit [to be in contention for Asian Five Nations selection]," Burch said.
"I really want to get back in the mix and hopefully I can get that chance to play for the UAE again."
The Hurricanes, who finished third in the UAE Premiership at the end of 2012, have made a habit of improving after Christmas in recent seasons.
Their opening victory of the Top Six campaign was hard fought against the touring side from Bahrain, and Burch was satisfied with what he saw. "It was a very positive performance seeing as it was our first hit out after the break," Burch said.
"If we were playing tennis, you would say we were making too many unforced errors. We were getting the ball into the 20 but not getting it over the line."
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