They endured a rude awakening to life at the elite level but their 11-try thrashing at the hands of Dubai Exiles hasn’t scared off the Dubai Eagles.
They were thumped 85-8 on the West Asia Premiership’s opening day last Friday – their first competitive fixture since being created this summer – enough to have anyone wondering if starting a club from scratch and throwing themselves into the lion’s den was the brightest idea.
Head coach Pat Benson, however, insists Eagles have been holding their heads high this week.
“The mood in the camp is good,” said Benson.
“The boys were happy to get the first game out of the way. It was a chance to play the first competitive game and we were able to look at footage of ourselves for the first time which makes my job a bit easier, giving feedback.”
Eagles will welcome Abu Dhabi Saracens to Dubai Sports City tomorrow and, having been set up around six weeks ago and with just seven players turning up to the first training session, Benson is eying it as an opportunity for further progress.
“We’re looking forward to this weekend,” he added.
“We’ve not put any more emphasis on this game, it’s just another chance to play and we’re grateful for the opportunity to play against these teams because they’ve been doing it a long time.
“They’ve been successful at what they’re doing so it’s nice to test ourselves. We’re using the games to give as many players as we can exposure to Premiership rugby and the lads just want that experience.”
As for Sarries, they’ve been preoccupied with their own, significant problems. Having had a plethora of players pilfered this summer, they were dealt an unexpected blow at the beginning of August when they were left without a home when Al Ghazal Golf Club was closed.
There were fears the club could even fold but Sarries defied the odds and confidence is swarming around the club – despite a 28-13 defeat on the opening day last week to Dubai Hurricanes.
“It was a game we should have won with the very potent backline we have, we just didn’t give them enough opportunities,” said chairman Jay Danielson.
“But it was great to have a team out there and the guys are really enjoying it which is what matters. There’s a few positions we are still searching for some depth in, but overall everyone is excited about the season. We don’t plan on being whipping boys.”
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