Normal service may have been resumed in the UAE Premiership at the weekend, but not everything about Dubai Exiles’ fifth straight win was to be expected.
First of all, the fixture marked the start of Gulf rugby being played on a Saturday – rather than a Friday, as had been traditional for regional rugby to date.
And even though the Exiles claimed another success to maintain their lead at the top of the table, it was far from straightforward.
It was the third success they have had against Dubai Tigers this season. But more than anything it showed the advance the defeated side have made over the course of the campaign.
When the sides met on the opening day of the campaign, the Exiles thrashed the Tigers 91-0.
The strides Tigers have made in the time since was at first evident in the fact they made it to the final of the Dubai Sevens at the start of December.
They were felled by the Exiles back then, and the same happened when they were reunited on Saturday – albeit by the narrow margin of 35-33.
Also at Dubai Sports City at the weekend, Abu Dhabi Harlequins maintained the pressure on the Exiles at the top of the table as they beat Jebel Ali Dragons 27-17.