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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

The development of Joe Teasdale a source of pride for Abu Dhabi Harlequins as they start season off in style against Bahrain

Coach Mike McFarlane pays tribute to 23-year-old who has been with Harlequins since joining as a schoolboy. 

Abu Dhabi Harlequins, in white, in action against Bahrain in the Western Clubs Champions League. Satish Kumar for the National
Abu Dhabi Harlequins, in white, in action against Bahrain in the Western Clubs Champions League. Satish Kumar for the National

Given all the recent upheaval at Abu Dhabi Harlequins, it was uplifting that one of the star turns in their opening day win over Bahrain has been with the club since he was a small child.

The city’s oldest club have been beset by problems since signing for a record-breaking five major titles last season.

Ten players from that formidable first team have since left. The club spent much of the summer desperately seeking assistance to try to stop many more leaving the region besides.

After such a troubled build up, panic might easily have set in after they fell to a 15-0 deficit within 20 minutes of kick off in the Western Clubs Champions League opener against Bahrain on Friday.

Despite the setback, Harlequins mounted a stirring revival to win 36-32. The success was built on the endeavor of some new faces - and one very familiar one.

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Joe Teasdale first arrived in the capital aged two when his parents relocated for work. He took up rugby not long after, at the club he now represents with distinction as part of the senior first XV.

Give or take the few years he spent back in the UK for university, the 23-year-old back reckons his has been a 15-year association with the club.

“I returned a year and a half ago, and still had a lot of mates here,” Teasdale said after the Champions League opener.

Joe Teasdale, left, in 2011 during a training session, was an important of Abu Dhabi Harlequins's win over Bahrain. Ravindranath K / The National
Joe Teasdale, left, in 2011 during a training session, was an important of Abu Dhabi Harlequins's win over Bahrain. Ravindranath K / The National

“It is great to get back in, because I was injured for much of last year. It was nice to get a pre-season to try to work myself back in.

“I was struggling by the end, so I need to work on my fitness, and Bahrain are a top quality outfit. You want to try to improve by surrounding yourself with the best players and competing against the best players.”

Teasdale showed great dexterity to touch down the decisive try in the 10 that were shared out between West Asia’s two leading sides at Zayed Sports City.

He dived and placed the ball just inside the left-hand corner flag, to give the home side a 31-15 lead midway through the second half.

Bahrain’s players thought they had bundled him into touch in the process. The vigour with which they protested the score to the officials suggested they realised it could be the telling score.

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Mike McFarlane, the Harlequins coach, said Teasdale’s elevation to the first team is a reward for his dedication to the club.

“He has come through school rugby, he started playing for Quins, and he was a great player for our Twos last season,” McFarlane said.

“He is a great example of how, if you upskill players, it can bear fruit. He has trained so hard this summer, he has followed every programme he has been given, he has been as hard as nails in training, so he was given the start he deserved.

“The beauty here is that, there are no cliques – if you play well, you’re in. He was fantastic, his dad was up on the hill watching, so it was great.”

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