x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gulf Top Six: Exiles continue their climb back at Dragons' expense

The Dubai Exiles continued their climb back to relevance in Gulf rugby with a 34-31 victory over the Jebel Ali Dragons.

The re-emergence of Dubai Exiles as a major force in Arabian Gulf rugby reached new heights last night as they stunned the UAE Premiership champions Jebel Ali Dragons at The Sevens.

The Exiles, who had started this season with only four senior players at their first training session, limped into the Gulf Top Six only after surprising run of results went their way on the final day of that competition before Christmas.

While the Exiles were struggling, the Dragons were powering their way to the Premiership title and eying a triple crown of domestic trophies.

However, the form book meant nothing when the Exiles, fresh from a first Top Six victory a week earlier over Doha, beat the Dragons 34-31 on Friday.

David Clark, the former Arabian Gulf No 8 and captain, led the challenge with a powerful display in the back row. The home success was founded on a try each for Jaco Fourie, Wael Harb, Jamie Anderson, Mike Cox-Hill and Thomas Cliff.

"It is a nice feeling and I am just really delighted for the boys that they are getting rewarded for their hard work," said Jan Venter, the Exiles coach.

"I knew that if they gelled as a team they would be good enough to beat any team in the Gulf. They just needed the confidence to back themselves to do it."

Abu Dhabi Harlequins maintained their serene progress at the top of the table with a 22-12 win over Dubai Hurricanes.

With the top two sides in the competition set to contest the final to decide the best side in West Asia, Doha moved to within a point of the Dragons in second place with a 30-7 win over Bahrain in Qatar.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

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