Dubai Exiles to fight for Jaen Botes availability for West Asia Cup final against Bahrain
Influential No 8 sent off during bad-tempered game against Jebel Ali Dragons at weekend, but Exiles coach Jacques Benade to contest second yellow
Dubai Exiles hope to have Jaen Botes available for their West Asia Cup final against Bahrain on Friday, despite his red card in the semi-final win over Jebel Ali Dragons.
The influential No 8 was sent off for a second yellow card offence in the 28-20 victory in a bad-tempered encounter in which both sides ended with 14 players.
Exiles held a two-point lead over the West Asia Premiership winners late in the second half, when a scuffled ended with both Botes and Saki Naisau, the Dragons centre, being given their marching orders.
Botes was shown yellow for the second time in the match, while Naisau was given a straight red for punching the Exiles player.
Jacques Benade, the Exiles coach, expects to appeal the sanction, which carries an automatic two-week suspension.
“We looked at the video and I don’t really think that is a yellow card, the second one,” Benade said.
“I think it was a push, and maybe Jaen should not have been involved in that. We will send the video evidence away as soon as possible, because otherwise he will be missing next week.”
Botes had earlier scored a try for Exiles, Gio Fourie scored twice, and DuRandt Gerber kicked 13 points for the victors. Niko Volavola and Matt Richards scored tries for the home side.
“I don’t think it was the best rugby either side has played all season,” Benade said. “You could see it was a semi-final. It was very physical, two teams who both wanted to be in the final.
"It was not necessarily a match we will remember tomorrow, but we had to fight really hard to get this win.”
Exiles will meet Bahrain in the final, possibly on neutral territory, after they beat Abu Dhabi Harlequins 26-21 at Zayed Sports City.
Bahrain’s win means Exiles and Harlequins will avoid facing each other in three weeks out of four at the end of the season.
Harlequins had beaten Exiles in the final of the new UAE Premiership Cup seven days earlier, and the two sides will meet again in the UAE Premiership final on April 13.
Mike McFarlane, the Harlequins coach, said the enforced break might be a blessing in disguise, given they have 17 first-teamers missing through injury at present.
“Hopefully we can get some lads back [by April 17] as we are crippled at the moment,” McFarlane said.
“But I don’t want to take anything away from Bahrain. They are a great bunch of lads and it was a great contest as well.
“Their depth came through in the end, and they took the win. But it is not the end of the world that we don’t have to go again next week.”
Updated: March 24, 2018 11:14 AM