Bahrain Rugby Football Club’s (RFC) first XV returned to training this week ahead of the weekend’s crucial West Asia Premiership clash away to Dubai Hurricanes.
Despite having signed off 2018 in emphatic fashion with a 68-14 hammering of reigning champions Jebel Ali Dragons in front of a boisterous home crowd in mid-December, Bahrain head coach Louie Tonkin will be all too aware that any slip up against a dangerous Hurricanes outfit will undo much of the good work done before the winter break.
Indeed, Tonkin’s men found themselves in a relatively similar position last season and were unbeaten until January, when their title hopes were all but dashed by consecutive defeats on the road to Dragons and perennial challengers Abu Dhabi Harlequins.
Most of the squad took full advantage of the three-week break since the Dragons drubbing and dispersed to their respective home countries around the world but there no easing them back into things this week, with a couple of extra sessions added to the schedule for good measure.
The squad has been boosted by the return of guest coach, Alun Wyn Davies, who has been paying special attention to the scrum and defensive units.
A former team-mate of Tonkin at Coventry RFC in the UK, Davies previously worked alongside his fellow Welshman at Cardiff University, where he is now Director of Rugby.
Having played rugby union and league at a professional level, Davies has made a name for himself as a defensive and scrummaging specialist and previously visited Bahrain before the 2017-18 campaign to assist in building the side’s defensive system.
Bahrain are currently top of the West Asia Premiership standings but with only four points between them and nearest rivals Quins in the league standings and the two teams set to face off in Abu Dhabi next weekend, they will be gunning for a big win at the 7evens Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Kick-off is set for 4pm Bahrain time and will once again be screened live via the club’s Facebook page and on the big screen at Bahrain RFC in Saar.