x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hurricanes without four big names

The Dubai Hurricanes could suffer as a result of the increased professionalism of the Arabian Gulf Union (AGRFU).

The Dubai Hurricanes could suffer as a result of the increased professionalism of the Arabian Gulf Union (AGRFU). The Hurricanes kick off their challenge in the first Arabian Gulf Super Five competition this evening, when they take on the Abu Dhabi Harlequins in Dubai. They will be without four players - the captain Chris Gregory, Arron Brown, Gerry Considine and Josh Sherrin - after they were all called up to the Arabian Gulf squad for next weekend's Singapore Sevens.

The union are implementing a policy, similar to England's Elite Player Agreement, where Gulf players are required to have seven days rest before games. The Gulf's sevens side are preparing for a tough campaign, which includes the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens next month, as well as the IRB Sevens World Cup in March. Gregory is disappointed to miss out for his club side "I really wanted to play, but the Gulf said not to," he said.

"The Gulf squad are already missing some players through injury, and if any of us did play there is a chance we could pick up another. "Beating Abu Dhabi would provide a great lift for us, and we want to get our own back on them after losing the cup final last season." In addition to their four Gulf players, the Hurricanes are without the centre Duncan Murray who broke a leg against the Dubai Dragons.

The Quins will be missing just Jonny McDonald, the promising full-back. Muscat, forced to pull out of the Gulf League this season due to travel costs, make the trip to face Dubai Dragons in today's other fixture. pradley@thenational.ae