Victor Pereira gets ready to put the ball in
Friday evening saw the Dubai Exiles play their first 15-a-side match for over 18 months as hosts, Jebel Ali Dragons, generously invited the Exiles to a pre-season warm-up. Four x 20 minute periods with an assortment of contested, uncontested, scrums and uncontested contested, line-outs allowed both sides to have an incisive look at the shape of their teams before the UAE Premiership season openers on October 1st.
UAE International, Robbie Sproul, eyes up a 100m run in!
Another UAE International, Carel Thomas, scored Exiles’ first try
On an evening which was like playing rugby in an oversized Swedish sauna with a ball supplied by ‘Imperial Leather’, there was inevitably a lot of handling errors from both sides. The Exiles were slow to start, the Dragons camped on the Exiles‘ try line for long periods of the opening quarter. Despite the early dominance, the Dragons were unable to break the final goal-line Exiles‘ defence, and when the Exiles did break out, Exiles‘ Namibian scrum-half Carel Thomas, gave a clean pair of heels and opened the scoring.
Young Ava tells dad, Jaen Botes, what she expects
It was a good evening to have no hair
Both coaching teams learned a lot about their squads for the new season. What looked good, what looked not so good and where the work is needed over the next two weeks. The score in these sorts of ‘matches’ is a mute point, but Exiles rattled the scoreboard on more occasions than their hosts, leaving the Jebel Ali ground with 29 points to the Dragons’ 10.
International Sky-Diving Champion, James Crossley, played his first game in a couple of seasons
Kenyan, Brad Owako, tries to cool down
Exiles‘ Director of Rugby, Jacques Benade, shares a joke with Justin Walsh
JEBEL ALI DRAGONS RFC V DUBAI EXILES
Pre-season friendly (17th September 2021)