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UAE rugby information: Mike McFarlane urges Abu Dhabi Harlequins to rise to powerful problem in 2018/19 – Article


Mike McFarlane has challenged his players to channel the famed Abu Dhabi Harlequins spirit as they battle to remain relative in what their head coach has described as a “rebuilding year”.

Quins claimed all 5 main trophies two seasons in the past – West Asia Premiership, Dubai Sevens, UAE Premiership, West Asia Cup and Asia Rugby Western Clubs Champions League – for an unprecedented feat in home UAE rugby.

But monetary woes and player departures had been met with renewed efforts from rivals which resulted in a fiercely aggressive 2017/18.

Success will solely be extra arduous to return by this year, however McFarlane feels the ‘one club’ ethos he has instilled on the membership throughout his tenure will fire his squad for the journey forward.

“Every year is a fresh start,” stated McFarlane forward of Friday’s go to of Sri Lankans Kandy within the second fixture of this season’s curtain-raising Asia Rugby Western Clubs Champions League match.

“We’re really looking forward to it but we have suffered over the summer with a large number of players leaving.”

Mike McFarlane has overseen a revolution since taking over at Quins.

Quins truly discovered themselves in a transitional interval throughout 2017/18 following a dominant three-year spell by which silverware was hoovered up with regularity – 10 out of 19 trophies obtainable during the last 4 years had been hoisted by Quins, the vast majority of them under McFarlane’s steerage.

That included 2016/17’s marvelous quintuple, in addition to three-straight Dubai Sevens titles from 2015-17.

They suffered troubles off the sector even before final season started with the ending of a three-year sponsorship cope with Etihad was not adopted up with a renewal.

There had been additionally a number of high-profile player departures and the lack of influential skipper Ben Bolger to pressured retirement by concussion.

Despite all this, they remained fiercely aggressive on the sector as they, Jebel Ali Dragons, Bahrain and Dubai Exiles contested and shared the foremost honours.

Quins retained the Champions League title and added the inaugural UAE Premiership Cup however the main titles prevented them.

They lost the West Asia Premiership crown because of final day heroics from Dragons in Bahrain – a 36-32 bonus level win incomes them the title.

Bahrain beat Dubai Exiles within the West Asia Cup final, Exiles beat Dragons within the Dubai Sevens final and Quins lost the final game of the season and their grip on the UAE Premiership as they had been dropped by Exiles.

McFarlane believes it could be “mission impossible” for his depleted squad to fight on all fronts once again this time period – however he has urged Quins to step as much as the plate.

“It’s two seasons in a row now we have lost large player numbers, which brings another rebuilding year with little depth yet lots of challenges,” he added.

“It appears mission unimaginable this year with the Dubai groups and Bahrain recruiting so closely and us being decimated.

“However this is why I built the club on culture. It’s just hard with everyone’s high expectations which they take for granted. Last year was an incredible feat given losing a whole team.”

Last summer time introduced the devastating information that Bolger – McFarlane’s on-field normal and Quins’ talisman – was pressured to call it a day after repeated concussions.

Brian Geraghty was one of three big stars to leave Quins 12 months ago.

Brian Geraghty was certainly one of three huge stars to go away Quins 12 months in the past.

Key figures Patrick Jenkinson, Willie Umu and Brian Geraghty additionally left the UAE in addition to a bunch of others. This summer time, in the meantime, has seen long-time membership captain Phil Abraham hold up his boots in addition to UAE stalwart Phil Brady.

Pieter Kilian, Alfred Ries, Tom Brown, Gerrit Visser, Jona Marshall and Joe Teasdale are additionally among the many departures – leaving Quins fighting an uphill battle.

“All of them are first XV starters. And that’s on top of losing 12 first team players last season,” added McFarlane.

“We did so well last year considering we lost so many but to happen again this year is a nightmare. Especially as so many of the second team have gone too.”

Kandy arrive within the UAE capital having lost the Champions League opener 31-20 to Bahrain final weekend. Quins will hope to start brightly as they then head to Bahrain subsequent week for what is going to doubtless be a deciding match in the event that they win on Friday.

They are chasing a 3rd straight Champions League title.



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