Alistair Hess’ “special” kick final gave Dubai Hurricanes victory at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Harlequins Junior Rugby Tournament yesterday after three successive final defeats.
Hess’ monstrous conversion of his own try from the touchline in a swirling wind saw Canes sweep to a dramatic 7-5 victory over tournament hosts Quins in the Under-15 boys’ section yesterday.
It was fourth time lucky for this group of players, who had tasted defeat in each of the last three editions of the tournament at U-12, U-13 and U-14 level.
After a scoreless first half it did not look good for Canes early on in the second period when James Wilson went over out wide to give Quins the lead, although a difficult conversion was off target.
Quins had brushed aside Doha 40-0 in the semi-final but this was a much tighter affair with both defences keeping each other at bay.
It was going to take something special to win it and that moment of magic came halfway through the second half when Canes launched a counter-attack from the shadow of their own posts, which zig-zagged across the pitch before being finished off in the corner by Hess.
Faced with a near-impossible angle, the 15-year-old sank the conversion to the delight of his team-mates. And, despite Quins hammering away for a winning score near the end, Canes held on for a momentous win.
“It’s a fabulous tournament, the organisation is faultless and it’s really good to finally win one,” said a relieved Canes team manager Douglas Wade.
“We’ve lost in the last three finals in a row, usually to Quins, in similar fashion. This group of players have lost at U-12, U-13s, U-14s so it’s really nice to get that monkey off our back.
“It’s really good to come down here and finally get the win. The boys deserve it, they’ve worked really hard this year, so we’re very proud.”
And Wade singled out star player Hess for praise.
“It was a monstrous kick. Alistair has had a great weekend, he’s been pretty talismanic for us and the rest of the boys backed him up. His kick was pretty special,” he said.