x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gulf Top Six: Jebel Ali Dragons roar past Bahrain; Perfect Harlequins defeat Doha

The Jebel Ali Dragons ended a two-game slump with an emphatic 53-5 victory at Bahrain, and the Abu Dhabi Harlequins remain perfect on the season by defeating Doha 29-22.

Jebel Ali Dragons signalled an end to their recent mini-slump in the most unequivocal terms as they thrashed Bahrain in Saar Friday night to clinch a place in the West Asia play-off final.

The UAE Premiership champions had been uncharacteristically off-key in recent times, stumbling to defeat against the league-leading Abu Dhabi Harlequins and then, surprisingly, basement-dwelling Dubai Exiles.

But they bounced back in convincing fashion by overwhelming a Bahrain side renowned for being tough to beat on home soil, with a 53-5 victory.

The resounding result meant they now have an unbridgeable advantage in second place in the Gulf Top Six table, ahead of the outgoing West Asia champions Doha.

The win means neither team has anything tangible to gain from next weekend's meeting between the Dragons and Harlequins at Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence, with the two sides set to play the final a week later.

However, the Abu Dhabi side are certain to want to maintain their 100 per cent winning record

The holders of the title beat Doha 29-22 at Zayed Sports City on Friday to extend their record to nine wins from nine matches.

The Harlequins old boy in the Doha line-up, Jamie Clarke, scored the opening try for the visitors from Qatar.

Quins had to overturn a 17-3 deficit, and were reliant on two tries from Imad Reyal, and one each from Phil Brady and Billy Graham, for the win. "We were asleep for the first half but we managed to turn it on for 20 minutes and that was just about good enough," said Chris Davies, the Quins director of rugby.

Dubai Hurricanes' commitment to youth bore considerable reward at The Sevens as James Capon, the outstanding teenaged full-back, who first caught the eye as a Dubai College schoolboy, scored two tries in their 49-5 win over Dubai Exiles. Brad Barker and Steve Smith also scored two tries each.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

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