Dubai Exiles remain perfect while Dubai Tigers are turning expectations on their head

Matt Jones - Editor 22:14 10/11/2019
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Dubai Exiles have won four from four.

Dubai Exiles consolidated their position atop the West Asia Premiership table with a fourth straight win to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season.

Meanwhile, it’s now two straight wins from four games for promoted Dubai Tigers who consigned Dubai Knights Eagles to a fifth straight defeat.

Exiles beat Jebel Ali Dragons 34-14 on the road, while Tigers earned a 27-16 victory over fellow Dubai Sports City dwellers Knights Eagles. Knights Eagles might have been eying this weekend as a game to earn points from the newly-promoted side, but former Italy international forward Aaron Persico’s side have confounded expectations with a fine start to the campaign.

And evergreen flanker Jamie Clarke is just happy his side are defying some pre-season views that Tigers might be the league’s whipping boys.

“It was good to get another win under the belt even though we made it hard on ourselves,” said Clarke.

“I’m not sure about a title shift, we’re just positive that the boys are playing well and we are not being labelled the walkovers or the new addition that is seen as being an easy win.

“Off the field the club as a whole is in a really good place so things are all heading in the right direction.”

Exiles top the pile by two points, ahead of Bahrain who were on a bye week. After earning a contentious 31-0 bonus-point win the previous week after opponents Abu Dhabi Harlequins forfeited, Jacques Benade’s men eased to a 21-point win over champions two seasons ago, Dragons.

“It’s a good win and we will take that, especially since it was at the Centre of Excellence,” said Exiles’ UAE Number 8 Jaen Botes.

“You just never know when you go down there and what they bring. Some of us were a bit frustrated how the game went as we couldn’t really take control of it. But we got the job done and at this moment that’s all that matters.”

Tigers and Exiles clash this Friday and Botes says he and his team-mates will look to continue the momentum.

“This weekend will be another challenge and we will need to be on form so we will look at the video and look to better ourselves,” added the South African.

“We just want to take each game as it comes and look to really start to gel as a club and squad. It’s been a positive start but we can’t take our foot off the pedal, it’s a long season and anything could happen.”

In the other game of the weekend, Dubai Hurricanes raised eyebrows as they condemned Quins to a second straight defeat, winning 40-22 at The Sevens.

It was a huge monkey off the back for Canes and their long-suffering coach Mike Wernham – who has not tasted victory against the capital city side in his four years involved with the senior side.

“It was really good to get the win against Quins, it’s something we’ve not done for five years on the 15s field and, for me, it’s been four years,” he said.

“As far as I’m aware we’ve not got a point against them in that time, so it’s pleasing.

“It will come as a shock to some but we know what we’re capable of. We felt we were good enough to beat Exiles earlier in the season but we didn’t turn up, then in Bahrain we didn’t have a full team out but they were the better side.”

West Asia Premiership results

Thursday

Jebel Ali Dragons 13-34 Dubai Exiles

Friday

Dubai Knights Eagles 16-27 Dubai Tigers

Dubai Hurricanes 40-22 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

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