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Match Report – Bahrain construct a clinical performance against the Eagles

DSC Eagles 8 Vs Bahrain 54 – March 2nd 2018

A strong and clinical performance from the Bahrain 1st team sets up big final weekend of the West Asia Premiership.

Bahrain travelled to 6th placed DSC Eagles in their first ever West Asia Premiership fixture at Dubai Sports City. The impressive facility is sure to be a rugby fortress in years to come but the Eagles in their infancy have struggled in this year’s competition.

Bahrain travelled to DSC knowing that they needed to win with a bonus point to keep their title hopes alive, with competitors Jebel Ali Dragons and Abu Dhabi Harlequins both achieving bonus point wins in their earlier round 11 matches. This intent to go out and score tries was evident in the early exchanges with Bahrain turning down a number of point opportunities early on to scrum or go for the corner. A Bahrain penalty on the Eagles line saw captain Lindsey Gibson opt for the scrum showing confidence in his pack. The scrum went forward with intent and brilliantly controlled at the back by number 8 Tommy Booth saw the referee raise his arm under the sticks to award a penalty try to the Bahrain forwards – a great start.

Eagles are a side with great spirit and talented individuals who are a match for anyone and any thoughts of a whitewash match were thwarted with Eagles attacking from their own half throughout the whole game. They managed to get outside the Bahrain defence a number of times – something that will need to be addressed before Bahrain host perhaps the most potent attacking team in the WAP next week. The ever present UAE scrum half Josh Ives had a great game and constantly had his team moving and causing threats.

Perhaps the try of the match came in the 1st half from a well constructed lineout where loosehead prop Oli Sanson burst through the best part of 5 defenders to score a great solo try under the posts.  Further sequences of pressure on the Eagles line saw Dai Evans go in for his first of two tries and a further try from Iwan Phillips saw the bonus point wrapped up before half time which was really pleasing.

Half time talks of building a better all round performance in the second half were apparent when Bahrain came out in the second half with real purpose, which showed great character with the bonus point secured so early on. Second half tries came from Iwan Phillips (hat-trick), Dai Evans (2) and Tommy Booth saw the Bahrain side delighted at the final whistle with a full time score of Eagles 8 – Bahrain 54. Special notes for the day go to nominated man of the match Luke Radley on his fantastic defensive display surely making him one of the bravest defenders in the league and also kicking an impressive 6 out of 7 conversions earning him a personal tally of 12 points from the boot. Iwan Phillips unlucky not to get man of the match takes his try tally to 10 tries in 11 WAP matches this season and a personal points tally of 113 points for the season which is really impressive.

The stage is set now for a huge finale in Round 12 with 5 points separating 1st and 4th – this means any one of 4 teams could win the West Asia Premiership title in the last round which most certainly is the most competitive league in its history. Bahrain move to 3rd place now 2 points off the top seeded team Dragons who Bahrain will host this weekend. The West Asia Premiership trophy may be out of Bahrain’s control with Quins in a pretty formidable position needing to beat Eagles in round 12 with a bonus point – they will certainly be hoping we beat Dragons this weekend to help them secure their 2nd WAP title in as many years. If we beat the Dragons we will be guaranteed a top 2 spot, which will secure our 1st home semi final in the West Asia Cup in its new format, with the team holding an impressive 14 month unbeaten run at home they will be confident of beating anyone on their home patch. Bahrain will be all guns blazing this week and it really does propose to be a spectacular finish to an impressive season for the young Bahrain team!