Defeat to Jebel Ali Dragons was first setback in three years for capital club at Zayed Sports City
Mike McFarlane says Abu Dhabi Harlequins 'ready to go against Bahrain' after surrendering long unbeaten home record
Mike McFarlane, the Abu Dhabi Harlequins coach, says his side are not going to give up their West Asia Premiership title without a fight, despite experiencing the unusual taste of defeat.
The last unbeaten record in the top fight of regional rugby fell last weekend, when Jebel Ali Dragons won 20-17 at Zayed Sports City. It also ended Harlequins’ three-year unbeaten home record.
While the Dragons, who now have a three-point lead at the top of the table, have the weekend off, the chasing pack are vying with each other to make up ground.
Defending champions Harlequins, who are second in the table, host fourth-placed Bahrain at Zayed Sports City on Friday.
The travelling side are seven points behind Dragons, but have a game in hand on each of their rivals.
“It was always going to be a fight, because all the teams are getting better and better,” McFarlane said, ahead of the fixture with Bahrain.
“It is only a loss. The record going is a blow – we don’t lose at home – but it is just one league game.
“The game against [Dubai Sports City Eagles, which Harlequins won comprehensively on January 12], because it was so disjointed, we didn’t get the chance to knock the rust off our structures and patterns.
“I am hoping now that we have done that because of that intensity against the Dragons and we will be ready to go against Bahrain.”
Dubai Exiles hope to remain in contention to win back the title they held in 2016, as they face neighbours Dubai Hurricanes at The Sevens.
Abu Dhabi Saracens hope to notch a first win of the season when they host DSC Eagles at Al Ghazal.
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