Jacques Benade delighted with Dubai Exiles’ ‘deserved’ UAE Premiership title triumph

They already had a first Dubai Sevens title following an 11-year drought in the bag. But you felt it might still have been considered a disappointing season had Dubai Exiles not claimed a second major trophy in 2017/18.

Head coach Jacques Benade said as much following a titanic tussle with Jebel Ali Dragons in their 31-20 West Asia Cup semi-final at the end of March.

It saw them put a foot in the final, but an inexperienced and patched-up squad decimated by injuries then had to head to Bahrain to win. It was a daunting task, one they manfully committed to and even looked likely to win, until they wilted in the final 10 minutes and Bahrain sauntered to a flattering 47-25 win.

So one final remaining, against their most hated rivals Abu Dhabi Harlequins – who have had a stranglehold on UAE rugby in the last two years and more.

But as Exiles capitulated in Bahrain three weeks ago, the UAE Premiership final seemed a step too far for an injury-ravaged Quins – barely recogniseable from last year’s quintuple champions.

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