x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Falcons aiming for further progress in Saddleworth match

The country's recently formed rugby league club will be given an idea as to exactly how broad the base of talent is for the game here when they play a friendly against the English amateur side Saddleworth Rangers tonight.

The UAE Falcons, in action above against Lebanon last month, play Saddleworth Rangers tonight.
The UAE Falcons, in action above against Lebanon last month, play Saddleworth Rangers tonight.

DUBAI // The country's recently formed rugby league club will be given an idea as to exactly how broad the base of talent is for the game here when they play a friendly against the English amateur side Saddleworth Rangers tonight. The UAE Falcons claimed their maiden win when they played against the emerging Lebanon side last month, but they are without a variety of their leading players this weekend.

Luke Sinclair and Joshua Sherrin both played in the Arabian Gulf's HSBC Asian Five Nations Division One success at the end of the union season. They then switched to league, and excelled in the two matches against Lebanese opposition. However, Sherrin is playing in the UK this weekend, while Sinclair, who is nursing a knee injury, will also miss the encounter with the Oldham-based club. "The target for the game is to get cohesion," said Dougall Harvison, the former Australian National Rugby League player who is now the head coach of the Falcons.

"Like with any club, you always have players missing, and getting other players up to speed and having an understanding of all our plays and having an opportunity to show their worth. "It will be tough, but we are going about it as a self-serving match to develop our skills and to give us an idea of what other developments we need. "We are in a developmental stage. Ultimately, for the game to survive, there has to be a strong grass-roots level at some stage.

"We can't just survive on fringe players or guys that don't enjoy playing rugby union." The game, which kicks-off at 8pm at The Sevens, Dubai, will be preceded by a cross-code game of touch between the Dubai Exiles Vets and the touring club. pradley@thenational.ae