Mike McFarlane insists Abu Dhabi Harlequins have more gears to go through, which is a scary thought considering they torched Jebel Ali Dragons 35-7 on Friday night.
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On this form the new-look Quins could take some stopping, McFarlane’s men making it back-to-back wins in the UAE Premiership, scoring five tries in a game that became a romp in the second half.
The comprehensive nature of victory had not looked likely in a poor first half, littered with handling errors from both teams.
It was almost half an hour until the first points of the game were scored, Brian Geraghty stealing possession from a Dragons’ ruck and sprinting the short distance to touch down.
The hosts were level before the break, Xander van der Westhuizen cutting a brilliant line to puncture Quins’ defence and go over.
Quins responded immediately though and led 12-7 at half-time when a great break by full-back Alastair Johnson sent William Umu through.
A storming run from Geraghty put replacement Matt Smith in at the corner six minutes into the second half and Dragons could probably see the writing on the wall when flanker Ben Blamaire was sin-binned for a kick to the head of Alastair Johnson which ended his night.
Luke Stevenson’s last minute penalty seals a 35-7 win for Quins. They are looking good
— Matt Jones (@MattJones360) October 2, 2015
Five minutes later and it was all over with the night’s best try. Quins turned the ball over inside their own 22 and winger Max Trimble showed fantastic feet and lightening pace to scorch 80 metres for a bonus point-clinching fourth try.
Quins put the gloss on victory when Umu crashed through several tackles before offloading to debutant Augustin Arias, the Argentine prop touching down for his side’s fifth score.
For McFarlane, victory capped a brilliant week, daughter Madison was born on Wednesday morning.
“She’s amazing, she’s beautiful, but I’m absolutely wiped,” he said. “They came home this morning so I went to pick them up from the hospital, took them home and got them settled then straight off to rugby.”
Despite the comfortable win, McFarlane thinks there is more to come from his side.
“At times we showed at our fluent best we can rip teams apart,” he said. “We played some clinical rugby and were relentless. We’ve just beaten Dragons with a bonus point and if anyone had offered us that at the start we’d take it.
“We’ve got so many more gears to go through though. If we can beat them with a bonus point and only playing at 70 per cent, there’s more to come.”
Dragons counterpart Bruce Pendrey took positives from the performance.
“The Premiership is a fantastic competition and it’s a long road ahead with a lot of games. We’ll be playing until March or April so we’re building and strengthening the squad,” he said.
“All credit to Quins, they’re a fantastic team and you can tell they’re going to be at the top come the end of the season.”
Tickets for this year's Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens tournament have now gone on sale.
Over 100,000 fans and 4,000 players are expected at the action-packed rugby festival which will take place on 3-5 December at the Sevens Stadium.
Now in its 46th year, the popular three-day annual rugby event will attract the world’s best players as excitement for the Rio Olympic Games continues which will see Sevens being contested for the very first time.
An array of top class international fifteens players will participate in this year’s tournament in a bid to realise their Olympic dream in 2016.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased online or at selected Costa, MMI, Go Sport and dnata outlets, Bidi Bondi, The Sevens Stadium and Park n Shop.
Abu Dhabi Harlequins will be looking to build on their 24-3 win against capital city neighbours Saracens in the Abu Dhabi derby last weekend when they travel to Jebel Ali Dragons.
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Mike McFarlane began his reign with an eventually comfortable victory in the derby and the Quins’ head coach will aim to continue their winning ways.
McFarlane is a busy man at the moment and has been in hospital this week as he and wife await the arrival of their first child, but he is buoyed by the return to the capital of bulldozing centre Iziq Foa’i.
“We are fielding all three teams this week and still have lads missing selection, which is positive,” said the Englishman. “Prop James Macauley has a back injury, whilst we monitor some niggles. Izzy has returned but is carrying a knee injury.”
Clashes between Quins and Dragons used to be for the biggest trophies in UAE and Gulf rugby but that changed last season as Dragons ran out of puff.
They lost their opener 14-5 to Dubai Exiles but performed well in a close encounter and hope to welcome UAE sevens heroes Niall Statham, Ryno Fourie and Ian Overton for the visit of the reigning champions. “We are aiming to click after a disappointing first game,” said director of rugby Paul Hart.