Jebel Ali Dragons storm back for West Asia Premiership title with bonus point win over Bahrain

Matt Jones - Editor 23:00 09/03/2018
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Ryno Fourie scored a critical third try for the Dragons.

They did it and did it the hard way.

Jebel Ali Dragons are West Asia Premiership champions after beating Bahrain 36-32 on their home turf with the bonus point victory required to lift the title ahead of Abu Dhabi Harlequins.

Despite coming into the final week of the campaign on top of the table, Dragons needed a mini miracle to wrestle the title away from defending champions Quins.

Mike McFarlane’s men had very winnable game away at fledgling Dubai Eagles, while Dragons were set the task of going to a team unbeaten at home in 14 months, knowing only a bonus point triumph in Saar was enough.

They did it in style too, roaring into a 36-11 lead, although the home side certainly put the heat on Dragons late on with a stirring comeback as Louie Tonkin’s men ran in three scores to almost ruin the party.

“It was a cracking game,” said long time Dragon Ryno Fourie, who scored a crucial third try for the visitors.

“We were 20 points up at one stage but then they came back, fair play to them, and they had us worried. But we stuck to our guns. We were hungry for it and I’m glad we got the monkey off our backs.

“Since the beginning of the season everyone has tried their best. We came here just trying to settle for what we could do and try our best. We didn’t expect to win it with the streak Bahrain have been on. All the boys put in a performance, it was a whole squad performance.”

Up against it before kick-off, Dragons were also without their talisman, Saki Naisau, but scored through another Fijian, Niko Volavola, Jonathan Hamilton, Fourie, James Love and skipper Ross Sampson.

Quins had done their part, the reigning champions dispatching Eagles 55-3 at Dubai Sports City to earn a bonus point win themselves that took them onto 47 points. Dragons, matching their points tally for the evening, are champions on 48.

Rugby, bloody hell.

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