Eagles have lift-off
Fledgling side soaring after maiden win in second game versus Saracens
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.