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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Dubai Hurricanes aim to build on West Asia Trophy in 2018/19 season

Coach Mike Wernham wants the side to be challenging at the top of West Asia rugby after successful climax to the campaign against Dubai Sports City Eagles

Dubai Hurricanes won the West Asia Trophy final on Saturday. Satish Kumar for the National
Dubai Hurricanes won the West Asia Trophy final on Saturday. Satish Kumar for the National

Mike Wernham, the coach, says his job starts now as Dubai Hurricanes look to restore their place amongst the elite of West Asia rugby next season.

Hurricanes were out in front as the leading Arabian Gulf rugby club at the turn of the decade. They have been among the also-rans for much of the time since, however, with the likes of Jebel Ali Dragons, Abu Dhabi Harlequins and Dubai Exiles at turns forging ahead.

On Friday, Hurricanes had a successful end to the 2017-18 season, as they beat Dubai Sports City Eagles in the final of the West Asia Trophy. That, though, is a trophy played for by those sides who finished outside the top four of the West Asia Premiership.

It may be over six months until the start of next season, but Wernham says he will not be taking a break as he plans how to crack a return to the top echelons of the game.

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“For us to be where we want to be, which is in the top four, we need so many more consistent performances,” Wernham said.

“My job starts on Sunday, at that is thinking ahead. The coaching team is already in place and I would argue we have the strongest coaching set up in the entire league.

“Now basically what we need to do is find out if anyone want to move, and if anyone wants to come to Hurricanes.”

It felt apt that Eagles were their final day opponents. Last summer, the start-up club from Dubai Sports City mined Hurricanes for a number of players.

Given where they started – Eagles are less than a year old, and started training with just four players last summer – they are satisfied with how competitive they are already.

“We are not under any illusions that next year will be a trophy year again,” Josh Ives, the Eagles rugby development manager, said.

“It is still just another year to prove ourselves again, to prove we can nick a few games, but in years three and four, I don’t see why we can’t compete.”