x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Back to the drawing board for Dragons after missed chance

Jebel Ali, the Men's Tournament Dubai Rugby Sevens winners, side lament missing out on the chance of XV title.

The Jebel Ali Dragons, in blue, lost to Doha, and the Gulf Top Six title went to Abu Dhabi .
The Jebel Ali Dragons, in blue, lost to Doha, and the Gulf Top Six title went to Abu Dhabi .

DUBAI // The lavishly gifted back-line of Jebel Ali Dragons picked the wrong time to backfire as they let another XVs trophy slip through their grasp last night.

The club are saturated with attacking firepower, as evidenced by the fact they have won the Gulf Men's tournament at the Dubai Rugby Sevens for three of the past four years.

Maybe they need a crowd of more than 40,000 people watching them to perform to their best when the pressure is on, though.

In front of 200 or so at the Centre of Excellence last night, they put in an uncharacteristically faltering display with the Gulf Top Six title within touching distance.

They were beaten 15-10 by the visiting Doha side, but the final whistle was greeted by an eerie silence, as the result was no good for either side.

With news filtering through by half time that Abu Dhabi had secured a four-try bonus point in beating Dubai Exiles, both sides knew they needed four of their own in a winning cause. The home side got one through Ian Overton, their impressive new wing.

Doha earned a well-merited win through tries from Jaco de Jager, Colm Coyle and Aaron Palmer, but their third score arrived too late for them to seriously concern the Harlequins.

The defeat will be a bitter pill for the Dragons to swallow, as it meant another trophy in the 15-a-side format had evaded their grasp.

"We were over-edgy because we needed those four tries, rather than just securing the win," Shane Thornton, the Dragons coach, said.

"Doha are a good side and they showed who they are. They have a very good forward pack, good backs, too, and this shows there is no team in this comp who are way ahead of everyone else."

pradley@thenational.ae