Both sides look to end 2016 on a high

Matt Jones 00:11 15/12/2016
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Thoughts may be turning towards Christmas and jetting home for the holidays, and both Dubai Hurricanes and Doha are hoping to give themselves an early present with a final West Asia Premiership win of 2016.

Doha travel to Canes tomorrow with both sides in need of a festive season pick-me-up.

Doha lost at home, a place they like to feel is impenetrable, last time out against Bahrain, while Canes are at least on the up following successive wins.

James Ham’s men started the season with three straight defeats, but then beat reigning west Asia and UAE champions Dubai Exiles before following it up a week later with another narrow win over Abu Dhabi Saracens.

Both teams are depleted ahead of the meeting at The Sevens, but Canes captain Dave Knight says that will not be an excuse.

“The boys are looking forward to it, it’s a chance to get some revenge from the Dubai Sevens and to also put what was a disappointing sevens campaign behind us,” said Knight, whose side were beaten 20-10 by Doha in the pool stages at the Sevens earlier this month.

“We want to get the momentum going again in 15s which we had before the break. We’ve got a few boys out injured and Doha are a solid outfit so we know it will be tough.

“They’re the only team that have taken points off Harlequins so we need to start strong. Hopefully we’ll have a decent home crowd to get the boys firing early. A good result puts us right in contention for playoffs so we’re hoping to sign of 2016 with a bang.”

“Those two strong wins feel a while ago now, so we’re hoping we can get into our structures and allow ourselves to play from the go,” added head coach James Ham.

“Doha are always a very strong outfit but hopefully we can take advantage of them coming over to us and go into another break with points recognising the hard work that’s been put in so far this season.”
Doha counterpart Alex Natera is travelling with a squad missing 18 players, but still feels his side are capable of victory.

“It’s been a long time between games and coming off a home loss to Bahrain just makes it even longer,” he said.

“The positioning of this fixture so close to Christmas and after school term finishing means we are missing a huge number of first team and first team potential players – 18 to be exact.

“I’m still very happy that the side we are putting out will not only be competitive but can come away with four points. A real testament to the depth in the club at the moment but we will miss our regular 1st team starters.

“I don’t think motivation is an issue with the squad we have traveling. If anything the boys are chomping at the bit. It’s been a while between innings plus fringe players want to make a statement and stake their claims on the jersey while their more senior counterparts are away.”

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