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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Abu Dhabi Harlequins on track to win the Western Clubs Champions League after victory over Bahrain

Will pick up sixth title in past 12 months if they are triumphant in Kandy next weekend.

Abu Dhabi Harlequins, in white, were triumphant against Bahrain. Satish Kumar for the National
Abu Dhabi Harlequins, in white, were triumphant against Bahrain. Satish Kumar for the National

Abu Dhabi Harlequins are halfway towards a sixth trophy in the space of 12 months after beating Bahrain 36-32 at Zayed Sports City.

The capital club will complete the defence of their Western Clubs Champions League title if they can beat Kandy in Sri Lanka next weekend.

They benefitted from two penalty tries, plus further scores for Luke Stevenson, Joe Teasdale and Andrew Semple, as they beat the side who finished runners-up to them in the West Asia Cup last season.

The hosts had held a commanding 31-15 lead with only 10 minutes left. But the closeness of the final scoreline was a far more accurate reflection of how far they were pushed by the travelling side.

Craig Nutt, who was one of a number of players to arrive at Harlequins from city rivals Saracens this summer, was conspicuous because of the dominance of the home side’s pack.

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Harlequins barely had a touch of the ball as they fell to a 15-0 deficit in the first quarter, with Bahrain centre Adam Wallace proving tough to resist for the home defence.

However, the hosts achieved the ascendancy thanks to the power of their scrum, led by Nutt in the front row.

It was telling that their opening points came via a penalty try, brought about by the excellence of their forward pack.

It laid the platform for Harlequins to extend an unbeaten run at Zayed Sports City that now extends beyond three years.

“We aren’t looking at six [trophies], we have wiped the slate clean,” Mike McFarlane, the Harlequins coach, said.

“Our home record is something we are very proud of. The strength in depth we had on our bench today was phenomenal.

“What that stems from is giving as much attention to your Twos, Threes, and Fours. We have lads who were playing second-team rugby last year, but who have come up because they were kept involved, and we weren’t just thinking about the first team.”

Match statistics

Abu Dhabi Harlequins 36 Bahrain 32

 

Harlequins

Tries: Penalty 2, Stevenson, Teasdale, Semple

Cons: Stevenson 2

Pens: Stevenson

 

Bahrain

Tries: Wallace 2, Heath, Evans, Behan

Cons: Radley 2

Pen: Radley

 

Man of the match: Craig Nutt (Harlequins)

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