Ea­gles have lift-off

Fledg­ling side soar­ing af­ter maiden win in sec­ond game ver­sus Sara­cens

Sport360 - - Regional - By Matthew Jones @Mat­tJones360 mat­tjones@sport360.com

The sign on the door of the number two chang­ing room at Dubai Sports City reads ‘Wel­come DSC Ea­gles’, and UAE rugby’s new­est club might well feel like they truly ar­rived af­ter record­ing the first win in their short his­tory last night.

Many crit­ics prob­a­bly ex­pected Dubai Ea­gles to go their maiden sea­son with­out tast­ing vic­tory – es­pe­cially af­ter they had their wings clipped on their com­pet­i­tive de­but a week ago, thrashed 85-8 by Dubai Ex­iles. Not cap­tain Conor Coak­ley though, who got out of bed yes­ter­day be­liev­ing his side were go­ing to win.

“Hon­estly, no,” said the flanker when asked if Ea­gles’ maiden win had come sooner than ex­pected. “I thought we’d get a win this sea­son. The guys have a be­lief in what we’re do­ing. I got up this morn­ing and I felt it. ‘Yeah, we’re gonna win’. And we’ll have more.

Vic­tory for ei­ther side last night would have been hugely sig­nif­i­cant. Ea­gles were formed less than three months ago and held their first train­ing ses­sion a lit­tle over six weeks ago – with seven at­ten­dees.

Sar­ries, mean­while, may be a lit­tle older, they were formed in 2011. But it’s been a try­ing sum­mer with the loss of their home ground. They don’t ac­tu­ally have a head coach ei­ther af­ter Win­ston Cowie stepped down in the sum­mer.

The Kiwi re­mains as a player though, plung­ing over the white­wash for Sar­ries’ only try last night, and be­lieves bet­ter is to come.

“It was scrappy and I think the re­sult shows we’re lack­ing a lit­tle bit of depth,” he said. “But we had 15 play­ers on the pitch and a full bench. We’ve got a few boys who’ve put in a huge re­cruit­ment drive this sum­mer and have re­ally kept the club to­gether. Per­haps we’re not there yet on the per­for­mances but we’ve got a bunch of guys here who en­joy play­ing rugby and like to play for each other, and hope­fully the re­sults will come.”

A scrappy first half ended with Sar­ries lead­ing 3-0 but just 26 sec­onds of the sec­ond pe­riod had elapsed be­fore full-back Jamie Wil­liams’ blis­ter­ing run set up Carey to make amends for his ear­lier er­rors and scurry over for the open­ing try.

There was barely time to blink be­fore Ea­gles and Carey dou­bled the lead, Wil­liams again the provider as the Ea­gles sud­denly led 14-3.

Sar­ries re­duced the gap when Cowie crashed over and the sides swapped penal­ties be­fore Hamil­ton was harshly sin-binned for a high tackle. And the hosts held on for a fa­mous vic­tory this fledg­ling Ea­gles fam­ily won’t for­get in a hurry.

85 points con­ceded by Ea­gles on de­but v Ex­iles last week

Fly­ing high: Dubai Ea­gles cap­tain Conor Coak­ley led by ex­am­ple as the new side got their first-ever vic­tory last night.

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