Shane Thornton said his club had enjoyed the finest moment in their history so far after Dubai Tigers beat Dubai Exiles for the first time.
Regional rugby’s youngest Premiership club beat its oldest, as the Tigers won 40-29 at The Sevens, Dubai on Saturday night.
Niko Volavola scored two tries and Chanley Williams contributed 20 points with the boot as the Tigers claimed a second win at the start of the West Asia Premiership campaign.
“It is totally [the best moment for the club to date],” said Thornton, the Tigers founder and chairman.
“Beating the Exiles is incredible. They are the oldest club in the country and we are the newest in the Prem, and we are still building.
“It was our big goal to come here and beat them on their own soil, so this is brilliant for us.”
The fixture was a clear marker of the rapid progress the Tigers have made in recent times.
They gave up almost 100 points to the Exiles in the corresponding game last season. They then went on to lose the final of the Dubai Rugby Sevens to the same opposition.
This time, though, they were good value for their win, despite the indiscipline that saw them finish the game with 13-men – and briefly have to play with just 12.
The two clubs’ second XVs had played out a 13-all draw on the same field, and Thornton said he is delighted by the advances his club has made.
“Both our teams were absolutely spanked by Exiles at this stage of last season, but tonight we were able to turn the screws on them,” Thornton said.
“We have a team that is building in confidence. We have a culture in the side now, and some players who are playing some really good rugby.”
Earlier in the day, Abu Dhabi Harlequins had begun their top-flight title defence with a 22-20 win at Jebel Ali Dragons.