Coach Henry Paul bemoans mistakes in slender defeat

Matt Jones - Editor 19:49 10/03/2017
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Dragons coach Henry Paul

The battle for a play-off berth will go down to the final week of the West Asia Premiership season after Jebel Ali Dragons suffered a 28-24 defeat at the hands of Dubai Hurricanes on Thursday.

Henry Paul’s men could have sealed a Cup spot with a win, but came up against a spirited Canes outfit who won for just the third time this season.

Defeat leaves Dragons three points adrift of Dubai Exiles and although Paul is pleased his side get to decide their own fate in their final game next week, he bemoaned the fact his players’ indiscipline cost his side victory.

“It’s disappointing obviously but it’s been a disjointed week so we got what we deserved and met a committed Canes team that never relented and credit to them never gave up,” said the New Zealander.

“I would like to vent on the officiating but no-one takes notice and at the end of the day it’s not the refs kicking the ball out on the full and dropping passes.

“But when our scrum was marching the opposition back at rates of knots and as the scrum disintegrates they somehow come up with the ball it gets disheartening for the players investing time and effort and seeing little reward.

“There are lots of positives. Even behind some dubious penalties and lopsided penalty count we scored some cracking tries.

“We showed great spirit being behind by 10 at one stage to get ourselves in front and lead by a point and keep that lead for 25 minutes until the last moments of the game when a couple of our players lost their cool and made poor decisions to let the stubborn and well organised Canes side in for a chance they took well.

“We’ve got another tough fixture v Sarries but at least get to decide our own fate because of the good wins earlier in the season. I expect a positive reaction this week at training and against Sarries.”

Canes skipper Dave Knight was pleased his side show more resolve than in previous games.

He said: “It was nice to get the win. I felt we dominated more than the score suggests but I’m glad we didn’t do what we usually do and implode in the second half.”

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