Abu Dhabi Saracens 3 // Abu Dhabi Harlequins 2nd XV 41
Tries: Pene 2, Burkmar-Cullen 2, Knox, Vorman
Conversions: Sutherland 4
ABU DHABI // Clendon Pene seized the first available opportunity to prove his first-team potential during a sparkling debut for Abu Dhabi Harlequins.
The powerful outside centre only arrived in the city from his native New Zealand five weeks ago, having taken up a job as a teacher at Raha International School.
He might have travelled with the Harlequins first XV for their Gulf Top Six match in Doha yesterday had his visa not been in process.
He still came into the first ever Abu Dhabi derby as an unknown quantity, but no-one was left in any doubt as to his merits, as he powered over for two tries.
His scoring salvo, as well as the assured display by Aaron Sutherland at fly-half meant Quins comfortably over-powered their new neighbours.
Pene said he was able to cope with his unfamiliar surroundings thanks to the efforts of the man pulling the strings at No10.
"It doesn't matter what the backline moves are, it is easy when you are playing outside a class first-five [Sutherland]," Pene said.
Pene has been playing rugby league for the past three years in New Zealand. Hee seemed to momentarily forget what code he was playing in the second half. As Saracens made a rare sortie into the Quins 22, the Aucklander made a tackle which might have been legal in league, but is not so in the 15-man game, and earned himself 10 minutes in the sin bin in the process.
It was just about his only error.
However, the home side were unable to make their numerical advantage count on the scoreboard.
“Our more experienced players have only been around for the past couple of weeks, so some strength and conditioning was lacking,” Brett Bowie, the Saracens captain, said.