BAHRAIN RFC’s Select XV will be aiming to cap a truly magnificent season as they take on Muscat RFC at 5pm in Saar for a chance to add a first Gulf Conference title in its current format to the Western Club Champions League and West Asia Premiership crowns already secured for 2018-19.
Today’s game will mark the renewal of what has become a competitive and entertaining rivalry since the revamp of the Gulf Conference three years ago with Bahrain having earned a dramatic victory with the last kick of the game in the corresponding fixture last season.
Unsurprisingly, the Bahrain squad features the core of the squad that earned a vital bonus point win in Oman last month, with the addition of some Gulf Rugby royalty for good measure.
After his cameo on the flank, Matt McKee is back where he belongs in a solid front row alongside captain Arron Dalgarno and Callan Hope, while Paddy Gilbert continues the solid theme in the second row, where he is joined by his boyhood hero and former Bahrain captain Rich Wilkinson.
Self-titled ‘Bahrain legend’ Tom Ham returns on the flank to balance out the move of the lightweight Myles Dempsey to the openside, with Arthur West continuing at number eight.
Rich Ryan has a new half-back partner in the considerable shape of Luke Radley, with veterans Terence Tantoh and Kern Wales returning to form a potent centre combination.
The average age of the back-line is offset by the presence of Rory Drummond and Kyle Nair on the wings, with Joel Lewis once again named at full-back.
On the bench, Eric Aufdembrink, Saul Piper, Liam Chapman and Connor Nosworthy will look to pick up where they left off in Muscat and they are joined by the varying talents of Matt Axton, Cobus Grierson and, marking a gap of nine years since his last competitive appearance for Bahrain, Carlton Marshall.