x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Success on a plate for Gulf

The Arabian Gulf women's side earn just reward for their punishing training programme as they claim the plate at the Asian Women's Sevens Championship.

The Arabian Gulf women's side earned just reward for their punishing training programme as they claimed the plate at the IRB Asian Women's Sevens Championship in Pattaya, Thailand, yesterday. The regional representative side had endured a lull since they missed out on March's World Cup, played on home soil in Dubai, via last year's qualification competition. They also missed the annual Dubai Rugby Sevens, and had rarely played together in recent times.

Their first hit out under their new head coach, the Dubai Hurricanes player, coach and physical conditioning specialist, Bruce King, in Hong Kong in April had provided cause for optimism. King, who is renowned as a hard task-master on the training ground, had targeted a semi-final finish in Thailand. They pulled up short, as they went down to defeat to Uzbekistan in the last eight. Elke Vinck wrote on the Gulf side's tournament blog after the quarter-final defeat: "It didn't work out as planned, but it was the most awesome game of the tournament. We can be proud of ourselves as we really went for it and they didn't scare us."

The Gulf players were afforded a handy consolation prize as they first beat Hong Kong, then came from behind to beat Guam in the plate final. Sandra Ahrendt and Jennifer Thompson, the Gulf captain, scored the tries as the Gulf overcame a half-time deficit to win 12-7. The Thailand trip was part of a roadmap to success at the 2009 Dubai Rugby Sevens, scheduled by King. He hopes it will take in a total of seven international tournaments, a workload which even trumps the region's elite men's side.

pradley@thenational.ae