West Asia Premiership battle intensifies after Bahrain inflict third straight defeat on Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Matt Jones - Editor 19:43 19/11/2019
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Saki Naisau and Canes are on a roll in recent weeks. (Pic by Sam Wainwright)

There is an exciting title battle brewing in the West Asia Premiership with just eight points separating the top four teams after a helter skelter weekend.

Dubai Exiles lead the way after reeling off a fifth straight win, beating success story Dubai Tigers 44-11, and they hold a two-point advantage over reigning champions Bahrain who came off their bye week to win a fourth game from five outings.

Adam Wallace’s men inflicted a third-straight defeat on Abu Dhabi Harlequins, claiming a 32-24 win in Abu Dhabi, who nevertheless remain in the mix at the top on 15 points in fourth place, with impressive Dubai Hurricanes moving a point above them into third following their 28-10 win at Jebel Ali Dragons.

The top three have all played five games with Quins having played a game more and still reeling from their forfeit to Exiles, which has been followed by two more defeats.

Bahrain trailed 12-0 in the UAE capital before storming back to take a commanding 29-12 lead against Quins, who came back at the visitors in the second half, but Wallace’s men held firm to cut Exiles’ lead to two points – with Canes on 16 and five points further back.

“We have to look at the positives because Quins is a tough place to go,” said forwards coach Lindsay Gibson.

“It was a disappointing start as we found ourselves 12-0 down and then we were 29-12 up at half-time. We were sloppy after the break, giving them lots of energy from our mistakes and they got back into it fair play.

“They might have snuck it at the end but we dug in and scored a late penalty to get the victory.”

The Scottish hooker, who is out injured at the moment with a knee issue, is looking forward to a battle to retain their crown, after a cakewalk to the Premiership final last year, before they were given a stern test by Exiles.

“Things are certainly heating up now at the top,” he added.

“Exiles lead the way and it’s going to be tough. We have to go to Canes and Exiles, and with those two it’s not really ever a home and away game for them.

“Those two games after Christmas are massive and you can’t rule out Quins, even though the forfeit could massively affect them in the long run. But it’s still very competitive.”

West Asia Premiership results

Friday

Jebel Ali Dragons 10-28 Dubai Hurricanes

Dubai Tigers 11-44 Dubai Exiles

Abu Dhabi Harlequins 24-32 Bahrain

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