x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Dubai Hurricanes have something to prove in UAE Premiership final

Potter hopes to build on Dubai club's successful legacy as showdown at Jebel Ali awaits, writes Paul Radley.

Dubai Hurricanes flanker Guy Potter, right, took over as team captain this season. Pawan Singh / The National
Dubai Hurricanes flanker Guy Potter, right, took over as team captain this season. Pawan Singh / The National

Whether or not the Dubai Hurricanes are the best team in the region, as some at the club have already suggested, will be decided only by their medals haul this season.

They can hope to live to that billing by winning the UAE Premiership on enemy territory at Jebel Ali on Friday night.

But the domestic league is only the precursor to the cross-border Gulf Top Six, anyway.

The Hurricanes have been the most successful UAE club over the past decade. The current incarnation of their first XV have much to live up to within their own club, let alone amongst the rest of the Arabian Gulf.

Guy Potter, who took over as the first-team captain this season, believes this is the most talented Hurricanes side he has played in.

He is well placed to judge, seeing as he was a key component of the Hurricanes side which won all the silverware on offer three seasons ago.

“This is easily the best Hurricanes team I have played in,” said Potter, the Hurricanes and UAE flanker.

“The levels step up every year. Looking at the guys who come in from renowned leagues around the rugby-playing world, those guys were not here four, five or six years ago.

“I think that says a lot about the quality of rugby in the region. When you do have those guys who are keen to come to the region anyway and they have work lined up, I think rugby is a far bigger part of what they are looking to do here now than it was before.”

Today’s Hurricanes side is certainly far removed from those that have gone before.

Chris Gregory, the captain during the golden years before handing the reins to Potter, will be absent as he is attending the wedding of his brother Ian, who is another club stalwart.

Russ Huxtable, another new appointment as coach at the start of this campaign, believes his side are peaking at just the right time.

“The improvement has been steady, we are playing a game plan that the guys enjoy and we all understand,” Huxtable said. “Whether we are good enough on Friday, we will find out. The game, as all games are, is going to be won by forward confrontation, a back row that gets to the breakdown quickly and then the backs doing their job beyond that.”


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