x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dubai Hurricanes left in a spin after Brian Allen resigns as coach

The Australian is returning to his homeland to take up a coaching position with Northern Suburbs, with Steve Holohan stepping into fill the breach.

A Dubai Hurricanes player passes the ball during last week's defeat to the Dragons.
A Dubai Hurricanes player passes the ball during last week's defeat to the Dragons.

The Dubai Hurricanes' three-pronged pursuit of silverware suffered a double blow this week when defeat to their city rivals, the Dragons, in the UAE Premiership was followed by the departure of Brian Allen, their head coach.

Allen has been largely to thank for the revival of a club who were regarded as the best in the region not long ago.

Ahead of today's trip to Doha, the Hurricanes have a nine-point lead at the top of the Gulf Top Six, with six wins from six.

Despite losing ground in the Premiership to the Dragons, a team unbeaten in that competition, they still lie in third.

Allen's influence has not been confined to the senior level. He also blooded some of the brightest young talents in UAE rugby, such as Stephan Venter, who has since earned a scholarship at the Western Province Rugby Institute in South Africa, Khaled Helal, Haydn Palmer and Tom Ogilvie.

Allen has relocated back to his native Australia with work, and is set to take up a coaching role at the Northern Suburbs club in the New South Wales Premiership.

"I am very proud that the 'Canes are now back as a force and I think we will win titles this year," the departing coach said.

The Hurricanes have been able to cushion the blow of Allen's exit, however, with Steve Holohan, the former Gulf coach and club stalwart, stepping into the breach.

Holohan was at the helm when the Hurricanes lost just once in two seasons, winning the league twice and the Gulf Cup once in 2007 and 2008. He will now take charge of the Hurricanes forwards, while Emil Seffyrdt will be responsible for the backs.

Their first task is likely to be a difficult one. They travel to Doha today without a full complement of 22 players, and the personnel they are missing are key players. Duncan Murray, the Arabian Gulf centre, is absent through work, while their kickers James Ham and James Tometski are injured.

"There is a good buzz around the club now, but this will be a tough start for us as we have so many people injured or unavailable," Holohan said.

The Dragons will play their first competitive fixture on their new all-weather pitch at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence today when they entertain Abu Dhabi Harlequins. The Dubai Exiles, who moved to second in the Premiership with a 14-5 win at Abu Dhabi last Friday, face a stern test when they meet Bahrain in Seer today.