Dubai Eagles got a little taste of what awaits them in the West Asia and UAE Premiership this season with a chastening defeat at the hands of Jebel Ali Dragons on Friday – but director of rugby Sean Carey was performed of how the newly-formed club performed.
Eagles flew into action for the first time at Dragonsfest – a day of celebration for Dragons who turn 25 in 2017/18.
All three of their sides were in action – with Eagles scorched 59-5 by Henry Paul’s men.
Scrum-half Josh Ives touched down for the very first Dubai Eagles try and Carey is not focusing too much on the defeat – but how Eagles get off the ground from here.
“Things are going well. Numbers are looking good and training is going great,” said an upbeat Carey, the team’s founder.
“We’re building nicely for the season. We were really happy to get the first game under belt. It was a first experience of Premiership rugby for a lot of our players and Dragons are looking very strong for the new season, so I didn’t think we did too bad.
“For some parts of the game we looked threatening. We weren’t expecting the guys to light up the world but I’m really proud of how they performed on the night and I think a lot of that credit goes to Pat (coach Pat Benson) and the structures he’s trying to play. We’re looking forward to September 22 (opening game of the season versus Dubai Exiles). It will be a good occasion and we get to have a go at the Exiles.”
Eagles’ introduction to the league has been met largely with skepticism from other clubs, with the belief that the club is a short-term project thought up by Dubai Sports City without much planning for the future.
But Eagles are certainly planning on sticking around – with the club’s mini and youth section established this week.
Carey added: “Every week it seems to be growing and the standard is growing. We just launched our mini and youth section too so that’s looking pretty good and the inquiries are flowing in, and we’re hoping that will grow too.”