There was a marked improvement by the Dubai Exiles Ladies‘ rugby team on Friday evening over their previous outing the weekend before. Three significantly grittier, determined and more ‘aware’ performances propelled the Exiles to three wins out of three.
Head Coach Epeli Davetawalu gets everybody warmed up
Kick Off against the young ladies of Dubai Hurricanes
Dubai Exiles Under 19 Girls v Dubai Hurricanes
The match with the Dubai Hurricanes once again proved to be a very competitive affair. It had been close the week before with the Hurricanes just edging out the Exiles by a couple of points. Once again a conversion would prove the difference in the return fixture at The Sevens.
Liv Jessup on her way to score
Liv Pollard has great feet
The Exiles‘ Ladies were almost on the scoreboard in the first couple of minutes. Liv Pollard had found some space to run into and when the support arrived Heather McNaughtan looked certain to score but was brought down just short of the try line by a wonderful last gasp tackle.
The Hurricanes were the first to make an impact on the scoreboard. After a loose Exiles pass, the ball ws pounced upon, a couple of passes and the Hurricanes were away with a 50 metre run in. 0 – 5.
There was nothing cagey or probing about this encounter. Both rugby teams had clearly decided that they were going to go for everything and turn it into a shoot-out. The Hurricanes definitely had their tales up, relentlessly seeking out the Exiles‘ try line. In similar fashion to the matches’ earlier score, the Exiles had lept onto a Hurricanes turnover and moved the ball out beyond the last Hurricanes defender. Still with a lot to do, about 80 metres to be exact, Liv Jessup showed her pace and outstripped the chasing Hurricanes defence to score under the posts. Converted by Charlotte McNaughton. What would prove to be a significant conversion. 7 – 5.
The Hurricanes were plying some good rugby, moving the ball from left to right, right to left and making progress down the pitch. Only some errant last passes and handling errors were keeping them form making an impact on the scoreboard.
It was the Exiles that inflicted the next impact on the scoreboard. A loose pass when Hurricanes were on the attack caused the ball to be knocked on. The knock on was immediately gathered by Esmee Smit and after running the necessary 60 metres to the try line, she delivered the score. 12 – 5. Half time.
Lily Christiansen eyes up the posts
As int he first half, the Hurricanes opened the scoring after 90 seconds played. some loose tackling from he Exiles Ladies had given too much usable space to their opposition and the ‘Canes were over the line. 12 – 10.
The repost was almost immediate. The Exiles had broken out of their 22, sweeping down the left side of the field. When it looked like the only outcome was going to be a try a despairing tackle brought the initial surge to a temporary pause. A quick ruck, some deft hands, the ball moved left to right, and Charlotte McNaughton was across the line for what would prove to be the winning Exiles‘ score. Final score 17 – 15 to Exiles.
Dubai Exiles Ladies v Dubai Sharks Ladies
The Dubai Sharks Ladies had provided rich fishing grounds to the Exiles in recent matches. The Friday evening game at The Sevens was going to prove to be a repeat of those match-ups. Charlotte McNaughton opened the scoring for Exiles Ladies, the future Llandovery College student is packed with pace and when she found herself one on one with the Sharks’ wing, 5 – 0 to Exiles. Converted, 7 – 0.
The next Exiles score was delivered after some handling errors from the Sharks proved too much of an invitation. After some direct running from the Exiles‘ forwards, Anna Johnstone had plenty of space to use to get around her defender. Once the defender was successfully circumnavigated the run to the try line was uninhibited. Converted. 14 – 0.
The final try of the half was pure opportunism. The Sharks had again spilled the ball in their own 5 metres and it was immediately scooped up and grounded for the score. 19 – 0 to Exiles.
Anna Johnstone grabbed herself a few tries
The second half was certainly a lot less flambouyant of an opening than the first. The game had slowed significantly and the Sharks were doing a much better job of holding onto the ball. The game ebbed and flowed for almost 6 minutes before Exiles‘ Charlotte McNaughton broke the deadlock with another trademark dash for the line. Converted. 26 – 0 Exiles. Final Score.
Charlotte McNaughton once again proved she has great feet and plenty of speed!
Dubai Exiles Ladies v Dubai Tigers Ladies
The match with Dubai Tigers Ladies rugby team was the first time that the two sides had met, again it was the Exiles that opened the scoring with just a minute played. Liv Pollard had again caused the initial damage, drawing the Tigers‘ defence towards her and creating acres of space out wide. When the ball was moved the Exiles once again found themselves with no defenders to avoid. Converted. 7 – 0.
Liv Pollard can spot and execute a gap
Tigers asking questions…
The Tigers were playing some good, direct rugby. Direct and hard running had seen them manoeuvre themselves up and into the Exiles‘ 22. However, when cool heads were needed along with a little bit of patience, a forced pass saw the ball turned over and given to the Exiles Ladies. With so much pace in the Exiles back line they didn’t need a second invitation. 12 – 0.
Liv Pollard was the next onto the score sheet. The Exiles had worked themselves up to the Tigers‘ 22 and with a defence scrambling to cover the outside threat, Liv threw the cheekiest of dummies, stepped inside and darted under the posts.17 – 0. Half Time.
Try time again
It was Liv Pollard who opened the scoring for the Exiles int he second half. In a replay of her earlier try, some need footwork had wrong-footed the Tigers‘ defence and Liv had crossed in the right hand corner and effectively ended the match as a contest. 22 – 0.
It was left to the Exiles to massage the scoreline as the game drew to a close. Three more tries took the game out to an unassailable 41 – 0 lead. Charlotte McNaughton fittingly getting the final score of a wonderful evening of ladies rugby at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
Heather McNaughtan takes a shot at goal
Dubai Exiles U19 Grls & Ladies v Dubai Hurricanes U19 Girls, Dubai Sharks Ladies & Dubai Tigers Ladies
The Sevens (7th May 2021)