Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

UAE rugby coaches thinking 'if only' at Bahrain players lost to international game

With players such as Rory Binder and Daniel Bell lost to international rugby after the disbanding of the Arabian Gulf rugby union team, UAE coach Shane Thornton must be left wondering what might have been.

Two weeks is hardly long enough to make a heart grow wistful for the past. But when Bahrain dismantled Toa Dubai 43-19 at The Sevens on Friday afternoon, the Gulf's best side gave graphic evidence of just how much had been lost in the space of a fortnight.

Bahrain have won more titles than any other club in the 40-odd years since rugby first became established in the Middle East. They remain the region's leading club, having won the last Premiership in its cross-border guise before the league was revamped last summer, as part of a restructuring of the sport in West Asia.

With the UAE now assuming the Arabian Gulf's position in Asian rugby as of the start of 2011, Bahrain's players will now be lost to competitive international rugby.

On the evidence of their match against Toa on Friday, the talent drain is going to be vast. Daniel Bell, the Bahrain fly-half who made his debut for the Gulf at the Dubai Rugby Sevens last month, scored two tries. Rory Binder, the South African centre who was arguably the Gulf's best player at the Sevens in December, was the outstanding player on the field.

On the adjacent pitch, Bruce Birtwistle the UAE coach, was running his Dubai Dragons team through a warm-up.

His mind was fixed on their top of the table meeting with the Dubai Hurricanes, but had he glanced across at Binder and his teammates, he will have pondered what might have been. And what once was.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National