Fiery start to UAE rugby season as Dubai Hurricanes taste success at The Sevens
Saki Naisau sets up win over Dubai Knights Eagles in West Asia Premiership, mass scuffle mars clash
A day after Fiji picked up their first World Cup win in fine style in Japan, the UAE rugby season kicked off with its own dash of Fijian flair.
Saki Naisau scored a quick-fire hat-trick as Dubai Hurricanes beat Dubai Knights Eagles 58-10 in the first match of the West Asia Premiership at The Sevens.
The Fijian centre had only entered the fray as a second-half substitute, but he proved far too potent for a Knights Eagles defence that was wilting in the heat of the morning start.
It was not so much a game of two halves as one that could be separated into pre-mass scuffle and post-mass scuffle.
Whether it was down to the soaring temperature, or the fact that this was the first competitive match these teams had played in the best part of seven months, the players were clearly intent on blowing off steam.
Early in the second half, an infraction at a breakdown was the cue for a melee that took some while to settle. No cards were shown, and the officials did a fine job of cooling tempers, but the impact on the play itself was marked.
At that stage, the score was 11-3 to the home side, with Mark Weissenborn the only play to cross in a closely contested first half. After that, though, the Hurricanes were rampant.
It was no surprise the onslaught coincided with the introduction of Naisau off the replacements bench. He scored three, and even dropped a goal to convert one of them.
Naisau's Fijian compatriot Emosi Vecanuau scored a fine try on his debut, after joining the club in the summer from Abu Dhabi Harlequins.
As the play became increasingly fractured, Elliot Speed, Blair Cochrane and Liam Stead helped themselves to tries, while Boris Finck contributed 16 points with the boot.
Bahrain begin the defence of their status as West Asia’s No 1 side when they face Dubai Tigers at Dubai College on Friday afternoon.
Harlequins and Jebel Ali Dragons, the two sides who contested the UAE Premiership final last season, will meet at Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence.
Updated: October 4, 2019 03:50 PM