Bahrain Rugby Football Club’s (RFC) first XV’s winning start to the season came to a disappointing end on Friday night as they went down 31-20 to Dubai Exiles in the UAE.
The result – along with Dubai Hurricanes’ shock win over reigning league champions Jebel Ali Dragons on Thursday night – means the league standings remain wide open after three rounds, with Hurricanes, Exiles, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Harlequins all clocking up two wins from their opening fixtures.
Slippery conditions, ill-discipline and an unfortunate run of injuries in key positions undoubtedly contributed to what can only be described as a patchy performance by Bahrain but head coach Louie Tonkin will make no excuses, as the Exiles got their tactics spot on and emerged as deserved winners on the night.
As has so often been the case in a series of epic battles between these two sides in recent seasons, the boot of veteran Exiles captain Durandt Gerber opened the scoring with a penalty before a well-taken try and a further penalty approaching half-time opened up an ultimately unassailable 13-0 lead for the hosts.
Bahrain did hit back almost immediately thanks to a superb individual score by skipper Adam Wallace and Joel Lewis’ conversion and two penalties shortly after the restart had the teams all-square once again at 13-all.
Unfortunately, that was as close as Bahrain were to get, as unforced errors continued to cost them dearly as a second converted try and another Gerber penalty put the lead back out to ten points.
There was renewed hope with time almost up as Dai Evans crossed for a well-worked Bahrain score and Wallace nailed the conversion from wide out but again, the visitors coughed up a couple of costly penalties and the Exiles took full advantage with another Gerber three-pointer and a third try to deny their opponents even a losing bonus point.
Photos courtesy of our friends at www.YallaRugby.com
Next 1st XV Fixture
Jebel Ali Dragons v Bahrain RFC (AWAY)
4.00PM K.O. shown live from our Clubhouse!