Danny Thomas inspired Xodus Wasps II to a comprehensive 46-19 victory over Dubai Exiles II in the Sport360° UAE Conference at 7he Sevens yesterday.
Alex Fowler, Liam Caldwell, Stan Langton, Jamie Webb, Shiraz Niazi and Jon Price were among the try-scorers, while Thomas, who also crossed the line, added a further four points. Lawrie Cook (conversion) added to his team’s total as Wasps recovered from their big 46-0 loss at Sharjah Wanderers in last week’s opener.
Wasps were 12-0 up inside 30 minutes with tries from Fowler and Caldwell. The lead was reduced to five points as Exiles got back into the game, but Langton’s interception ensured Wasps took a 10-point lead going into half-time.
Wasps continued where they finished as Webb and Thomas were both involved in the next two tries as they stretched their lead to 22 points.
In the 53rd minute, Niazi struck with Thomas making it 36-7. Exiles crossed the line to reduce the deficit after Wasps had again scored a try with the score 41-12. Price added another five points before Exiles hit seven more to their final total.
Xodus Wasps director of rugby Martin Southern paid tribute to his players. He said: “We were absolutely excellent. We trained extremely hard during the week after our defeat last week.
“We were very organised and our game was much more structured.”
Meanwhile, Conference Cup holders Dubai Hurricanes II registered their first win of the season with a 73-8 victory over Abu Dhabi Saracens II at Al Ghazal.
Dubai Sharks also triumphed with a 21-17 win over Abu Dhabi Harlequins II at Zayed Sports City in the capital. Ronald Van Wyk, Dan Crumplin and Dewald Von Maltitz scored tries while stand-in captain Ben Tilston converted six points as the Dubai outfit beat their opponents for the first time.
Dubai Sharks head coach Kevin Drew, who saw his side lose 18-13 at Arabian Knights last week, hailed his team’s performance.
He said: “After last week’s disappointment, we had to bounce back and we did that. The team was more confident than last week and we played very well as a team.”
In the other matches, Jebel Ali Dragons II ran out 55-5 winners over Al Ain Amblers II, Heartbeat Tigers beat Sharjah Wanderers 27- 0, while Al Ain Amblers I defeated Arabian Knights 43-3.
Jeremy Manning missed a penalty from right in front of the posts at the death as Abu Dhabi Harlequins gift-wrapped victory for Dubai Hurricanes on a thrilling opening night of the Sport360° UAE Premiership.
Manning’s miss handed Canes a 16-15 win and left the majority in the crowd at Zayed Sports City scratching their heads as to how exactly the player-coach had not won them the game.
Although let off the hook, the win was just reward for the visitors and new coach Ross Mills following a second-half turnaround.
Andy Powell scored all of his side’s points as Canes stormed back from a 12-3 half time deficit to start the season on a high.
With defences on top early on, it looked like it was going to take something special to break the deadlock and local lad Adel Al Hendi provided it with a scintillating opening try in the 16th minute.
Full-back Matt Hawley made a darting break and the pacey winger still had work to do when he received the pass, throwing a mesmeric dummy to Canes’ full-back Andy Longley that put him clear.
Fly-half Powell knocked over a penalty after 23 minutes to put Canes on the board.
Manning missed a straightforward penalty to extend Quins’ lead, but he was pulling the strings in a first half the home side dominated.
Quins went over again before the break, prop Graham Murphy credited with the score which was converted by Manning.
If Canes had been sluggish in the first half, they certainly turned up in the second.
Firstly, Powell showed signs of what was to come with a searing break in midfield, before he got his side back in the game in the 51st minute when he intercepted a pass to run in from 40 metres.
He converted it brilliantly from out wide to bring Canes to within two and they went ahead for the first time just before the hour when he kicked a penalty.
He and Manning exchanged penalties to leave the visitors 16-15 in front before Manning was offered the chance to win it after Canes failed to clear away from a ruck.
Manning, who had quarterbacked the entire game for Quins, fluffed his lines and Canes celebra-ted.
Their coach Mills, who led Jebel Ali Dragons to a treble last season, said he thought his side deserved the win. “He (Manning) doesn’t usually miss them so he’s let us out of jail, but in all honesty if we’d have lost that game it would have been an injustice,” said Mills.
“I felt we outplayed them today, it sets the benchmark for us and it will tell people maybe they shouldn’t just look at Quins and Dragons as Premiership winners. I want to keep the trophies I won last year.”
Disappointed Quins coach Manning refused to dwell on his miss or be too dismayed by an opening day defeat. “Yes, I’m disappointed but as a coach I’m pleased with the way the team is going,” he said.
“I think there’s more positives than negatives.” He singled out teenage winger Al Hendi. “He was fantastic and it makes me happy to see young guys stepping up to the plate and playing senior rugby,” he said.
Sport360° UAE Premiership rugby club Xodus Wasps have been handed a AED 10,000 fine by the UAE Rugby Federation (UAERF) for failing to send a club member to attend a medical course.
In a statement released by the UAERF, the sanction was imposed after the Wasps failed to officially respond to the Federation's "correspondence to explain non-attendance."
"Xodus Wasps RFC has been issued a AED10,000 fine, by the UAERF, for non-compliance with UAE Rugby Federation’s regulation for a Club-nominated member to attend the UAE Rugby hosted IRB Superweek accredited Medical Course – Level 1," the statement read.
"The disciplinary sanction was enforced after the Club’s inability to officially respond to the Federation’s correspondence to explain non-attendance, and acts in fairness to other UAE affiliated RFC’s who were in full compliance with the regulation of attending the IRB Medical Course – Level 1, held in Dubai on September 13th 2014."