BAHRAIN RFC’s select XV will go in search of a first ever Gulf Conference win in Oman this evening in a match that is expected to go a long way towards deciding the destination of the overall title.
After something of a strange week, in which Bahrain confirmed their top-of-the-table finish in the West Asia Premiership thanks to Jebel Ali Dragons’ forfeiting of their scheduled fixture, the Select XV touched down in Muscat last night with the intention of making a statement of their own against the reigning conference champions.
With the postponement confirmed earlier in the week, Bahrain head coach Louie Tonkin has taken the opportunity to blood a number of experienced campaigners working their way back to match fitness.
Arron Dalgarno again captains the team from hooker following an impressive first premiership start in two years against Exiles a couple of weeks ago and he is joined in the front row by fellow Elite Squad members, Oli Sanson and Callan Hope.
Paddy Gilbert and Oli Johnson-Munday are rewarded for their tireless work on the training field as they renew their second row partnership with the ever-versatile Matt McKee named on the blindside flank, Rhys Fitzgerald on the openside and veteran Arthur West slotting in at number eight.
Dicky Ryan and his trusty sidekick Ross Preedy will look to dictate the tempo of the game from half-back, while also bringing the midfield combination of Myles Dempsey and Greg Heath into play.
In the back three, the inimitable Joel Lewis will marshal proceedings from full-back, with Nigel Phillips and teenager Rory Drummond named on the wings.
The bench is the definition of youth and experience, with grizzled forwards, John Docherty, Nick Young, Eric Aufdembrink and Saul Piper named alongside colts Liam Chapman, Connor Nosworthy and Kyle Nair.