Mike Wernham eager for new rugby season to begin as he targets improved Dubai Hurricanes defence

Despite the summer lull, Dubai Hurricanes have been busy off the field as they prepare for new rugby season

Matt Jones
by Matt Jones
2nd August 2017

article:2nd August 2017

Although the summer sporting scene can often be as barren as the landscape that surrounds it, Mike Wernham says Dubai Hurricanes players and staff have been busy as they look forward to the new season.

Canes have been taking to the training fields this week for the first time, but Wernham revealed his players have been working hard in the gym for well over a month, while there’s also been activity behind the scenes too as he and the club look to push on ahead of his first full season at the helm.

“Since finishing the season it’s been non-stop behind the scenes,” said an upbeat Wernham.

“Chairman, new board, secretaries, new coaching staff, we’ve been hard at it, from pre-season plans to protocols, sponsors, kit design. There’s been a lot of work going on. Like other clubs we’ve lost some sponsors but we’ve got some new ones also.

“Some have come with good deals for all our members and the first team, including gym memberships at Base 3 in JLT. It’s a great space and the guys have been hard at it for a month two or three times a week at club sessions, working with strength and conditioning coach, Simon Seward.

“As an amateur club you need an injection of players and fortunately so far we’ve had on average 45 players attending sessions, so that’s looking good for growth. We’ve picked up a few new players as well.”

Wernham took over from James Ham halfway through the campaign and he felt there were improvements. Canes still labored in comparison to Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Bahrain, Doha and Jebel Ali Dragons, finishing well behind in the West Asia Premiership (6th) and UAE Premiership (3rd).

Canes conceded more tries than any other team last season and that’s something the man in charge is keen to rectify.

“The guys are excited to be back. They’ve had their break,” he said.

“Numbers grew from January and we’re excited about the challenges ahead. We’ll be changing up a lot of our structures, strike patterns and just want a bit more consistency. We conceded more tries than anyone last season. Our defence is one of our big targets to improve on.

“We know we’ve got a lot of attacking flair, victories over Dubai Exiles prove that. We lost by five at Quins and were drawing with Bahrain (before losing) and beat Dragons at home.

“We know we have good performances in us and can play some good rugby, we just need to get the consistency in our defence. Everyone wants to get bigger, faster, stronger, but the key aim for our strength and conditioning coach is to get fitter.

“We have to be realistic, players are full time workers so it’s about getting the balance right. We’re hoping for a successful season on and off the pitch.”
Recruitment has gone well over the summer, but Wernham insists there is always room for more additions.

He added: “As a club our message is about the experience we try and give. We want people to be coming here with smiles on faces ahead of training, enjoying the social side. Numbers are good but we always welcome more.

“It’s definitely a club for you and your family. We welcome all sorts and we provide for everyone. If you want a level playing field with some of the best facilities, great lads and coaches, and great set-up from top to bottom. Get yourself down there.”