Dubai Knights Eagles made a strong start to their bid to win a hat-trick of Gulf Women’s titles at the Dubai Rugby Sevens with two pool-stage wins on the opening day.
The holders beat Emirates Firebirds Pink 56-0 and Abu Dhabi Harlequins 29-0, but then played down their prospects of retaining their crown.
The domestic game for women is played in a series of sevens tournament. So far in the current campaign, Dubai Hurricanes have won three, with the Knights Eagles having won one.
As such there is less expectation on the Knights Eagles this weekend, despite being the Dubai champions in the previous two years, according to captain Helen Amos.
“It was a good start, bearing in mind we have a completely different group of girls this year, as we have had some leave,” Amos said.
“It is different for us and feels like less pressure, at least from within.
"Everyone else might still be looking at us, but we have changed our gameplan, we have changed our coach, and it has been good so far.”
The Hurricanes underlined their own credentials with a 22-10 win against Abu Dhabi Saracens, followed by a 57-0 success against Sharjah Wanderers.
Their club-mates made a similarly strong start to the Gulf Men’s League, as they beat their city neighbours Dubai Exiles in their one pool match to be played on Day One.
The Hurricanes began their title defence with a 29-12 win over the side who were Gulf League champions in 2017.
Dubai English Speaking College made a spectacular statement of intent in the Gulf Under 19 tournament.
The 2016 winners meted out a 74-0 thrashing to Gems World Academy Dubai in their final match on Day One.
Dubai College, the defending U19 champions, were scarcely less ruthless, as they beat Warriors 71-0 in their pool.