Exiles newcomer, John Donnan, picks the ball out of the air
Saturday evening saw the now annual pre-season trip to Jebel Ali Shooting Club and a warm up match against hosts the Jebel Ali Dragons. There are a lot of new face in the Dubai Exiles UAE Premiership line-up and the evening was a chance to give the ‘new boys’ their first run out in the black of Dubai Exiles RFC.
Exiles’ Justin Walsh gets ready to get the game going
Teenager Marcus Kruger was the first to score
It’s difficult to know what to expect from the first run out after the Dubai summer break. The Exiles had started pre-season training in August and all of the preparation on the practice field doesn’t mean much until you get a game under your belt. Referee Tony Duminy blew his whistle and a competitive ball was kicked for the first time since the end of March.
It was clear from the outset that both teams fancied throwing the ball around and playing some rugby on the narrow Jebel Ali pitch. Handling errors punctuated proceedings to begin with until Marcus Kruger opened the scoring for the visitors. The South African youngster, recently selected to represent the UAE in both Under 20 and Senior 7s, ran a sublime wrap with his brother, Hannes Kruger, another UAE International in senior and Under 20, to skip past a couple of forwards and dance across to score. Converted by Marcus Kruger. 0 – 7 to the Dubai Exiles.
The second Exiles score came from another Marcus Kruger special. Scrum half, Alex Fowler, had picked the ball up from the base of an under pressure Exiles‘ scrum in the Exiles‘ 22 and attacked the blind side. When ‘Fozzy‘ was tackled he popped the ball off the ground into the supporting Marcus Kruger who skipped inside the Dragons‘ Number 8 and after gaining 50 metres rounded the on-rushing full back. When the Dragons‘ cover defence looked to have cut off his options, a floated pass to a supporting Anthony Kapp gave the Exiles‘ blind side flanker a clear run to the posts. Converted by Marcus Kruger. 0 – 14 to the Exiles.
Anthony Kapp scores his first of a brace of tries
Dave Gairn‘s hearing aid batteries were going flat
Newcomer Cornelis Steyn joined from the Hurricanes in the off season
After an impressive opening 20 minutes from the Exiles the men in black were somewhat guilty of resting on their laurels and giving possession to a very willing and capable Dragons attack. Too many ‘lazy’ penalties eventually allowed the Dragons to get over the try line. 7 – 14 to the Exiles. Half Time.
Anthony Kapp opened the second half scoring, grabbing his second try of the game five minutes after the restart. Teenage scrum half Fourie Du Preez had come on to the pitch for his first experience of UAE Premiership rugby and his immediate contribution was to send Exiles‘ centre Jordan Ainslie into space who in turn sent ‘Kappy‘ on his way to the try line. Converted by Justin Walsh. 7 – 21 to the Exiles.
Justin Walsh kicks a conversion
Hannes Kruger on his way to score after picking a great line
Matt Mills put in another swashbuckling performance
Exiles‘ scrum half Fourie Du Preez was picking the pace up at the breakdowns and moving the ball away quickly from rucks. With 25 minutes left on the clock he picked out Exiles‘ captain Pieter Killian who in turn moved the ball to full back Hannes Kruger. Hannes hid his run well and picked a hole straight through the Jebel Ali Dragons‘ line, a couple of steps and he was under the posts. Converted by Justin Walsh. 7 – 28 to the Dubai Exiles.
The fifth and final try for the Exiles was a much deserved score for hard working centre Jordan Ainslie. The Dragons had given away a penalty and ever the opportunist, Jordan quickly tapped the ball to himself and hared off through the retreating Dragons‘ defence. 7 – 33 to the Exiles.
The Dragons grabbed themselves a couple of tries at the end of the match and must be given a lot of credit for battling until the final whistle. It was a job well done for the Exiles who clearly have some exciting new players in the squad. Dragons 17 Exiles 33. Final Score.
Jebel Ali Dragons
|Cornel Steyn||Number Eight||0||0||0||0|
|Sean Mc Grane||Hooker||0||0||0||0|
|Fourie Du Preez||Scrum-half||0||0||0||0|
DUBAI EXILES RFC V JEBEL ALI DRAGONS
UAE Premiership Pre-Season Friendly (17th September 2022)