x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Wasps second XV use Emirati power to see off the Wanderers

Mohanned Shaker and Hasan Noobi prove rugby among Emiratis is alive and growing as the pair lead the Dubai Wasps second XV over the Sharjah Wanderers.

Adrian Kerr passes off before being tackled in Toa's victory over Al Ain at The Dubai Rugby Sevens.
Adrian Kerr passes off before being tackled in Toa's victory over Al Ain at The Dubai Rugby Sevens.

DUBAI // The shoots of the Emirati rugby evolution continued to grow Friday when two UAE nationals scored tries in the Dubai Wasps second XV's win over Sharjah Wanderers.

Mohanned Shaker and Hasan Noobi, both of whom have appeared for the full UAE team, each crossed the whitewash in the 22-14 win at The Sevens. Wasps, who field two sides per weekend despite being less than two years old, have 22 registered Emirati players, of which around 12 play regularly.

The Emirati flavour also permeated their first XV's match, when their contingent of nationals beat makeshift drums and sang Arabic folk-songs while supporting their clubmates against Jebel Ali Dragons. "We have only been going as a club for 19 months, yet the UAE development squad already has 10 [out of 12] Wasps players in it," said Steve Davies, the Wasps team manager. "We get a new [Emirati] player turning up at training every week. Some of them have never handled a rugby ball before, but if they come to training they will get a run in the team."

Wasps may have the largest Emirati contingent of any club here, but it is not an exclusive club.

Their try-scorers for their first team included a Samoan, a Syrian, and Nenad Gbric, a Serbian, who has played international rugby league for his homeland.

On the neighbouring field at The Sevens on Friday, Dubai Hurricanes set up a final day showdown with the Dragons by beating the Dubai Exiles 31-5.

Brad Barker and Chris Gregory, the two UAE international players, each scored two tries for the defending Premiership champions, and Tom Goodhew scored the other.

"It is the final showdown next weekend, so we need to have a big week on the training field," said Gregory, the Hurricanes captain.