x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Connell and Russell back to bolster the Dubai Dragons

The Dubai Dragons plan to signal their title credentials as they welcome back full-back Henry Connell and fly-half Andy Russell for this evening's game with city rivals Hurricanes at The Sevens.

DUBAI // The Dubai Dragons plan to signal their title credentials as they welcome back full-back Henry Connell and fly-half Andy Russell for this evening's game with city rivals Hurricanes at The Sevens. The duo provided much of the back-line ammunition which made the Dragons arguably the most attractive side in the Gulf last season. Their absence was felt in a workman-like win over Muscat on the opening weekend of the Prosperity Premiership season seven days ago. "It was a tough win in tough conditions and the heat was a real leveller," said Jayden Wallis, the Dragons captain.

"Muscat were definitely there for a physical game, but once our forwards started dominating the breakdown we were able to get good clean go-forward ball. "We still have a lot to improve on and players to return, but it was a good win over quality opposition in our first away game of the season." While the Dragons look forward to bringing back two of their best players, their opponents face several problems.

Duncan Murray is suspended following his red card for a dangerous tackle in the defeat to the Dubai Exiles last week. Joshua Sherrin, their Gulf centre, is a doubt with a thigh injury, while Callam Stevens is likely to be sidelined for up to six weeks with a broken hand. Chris Doyle, the Hurricanes coach, has opted against a return despite adding his name to the replacements bench for last weekend's match with the Exiles. The Hurricanes have yet to win this season, after losing from a leading position to both Abu Dhabi and the Exiles.

"With 20 minutes to go in both games we have been leading, so we know we are there or thereabouts," said Doyle, who was the No 10 when the Hurricanes won back-to-back Premiership titles in 2007 and 2008. pradley@thenational.ae