Bahrain Rugby Football Club’s first XV line-up for tomorrow’s West Asia Premiership Final against Dubai Exiles has been named by head coach Louie Tonkin, with the side showing two changes from that which blew reigning champions Jebel Ali Dragons away in last week’s semi-final.
The changes come at front row and fly-half respectively, where Jack Parry comes in at loosehead prop having impressed off the bench last time out, and the mercurial Ross Preedy takes over the pivotal number ten jersey, having missed last week’s encounter due to a family bereavement.
Parry once again lines up alongside Lindsey Gibson and Rich Muncaster, with Derryn Jones and Tom Bell continuing in the engine room, and Jordan Viggers, Alastair Crombie and Tommy Booth making up the back row.
Somewhat remarkably, tomorrow’s game marks the first time half-backs Rob Bennett and Preedy will have started together since the corresponding fixture against the same opposition last season, with the latter’s season hampered by a troublesome knee injury.
There are no further changes to the back-line, as Jack Phillips again partners skipper Adam Wallace in midfield, while Dai Evans, Callum Roberts and James Whittingham retain their spots in the back-three.
The bench has been a telling factor in Bahrain’s success this season and will undoubtedly have a significant role to play again tomorrow, with Oli Sanson, Sunia Famietau, Mark Burnell, Elliot Behan, Nick Annear, Leon Mauer and Luke Radley all itching to get in on the action.
For hooker Gibson, it marks an extension of his astounding record of having started every game the club has played in Gulf competition for the last four seasons.
It is also a significant occasion for Burnell, as the only remaining member of the last Bahrain team to be crowned Gulf Rugby champions, looking to bridge a gap of nine long years.