West Asia Premiership: Bahrain in control but Tonkin wants total domination

Matt Jones - Editor 20:38 23/01/2019
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Big push: Bahrain coach Louie Tonkin.

Bahrain are in a commanding position to win the West Asia Premiership following last week’s resounding defeat of Abu Dhabi Harlequins. But coach Louie Tonkin is only interested in total domination.

The Welshman believes two wins from Bahrain’s final three games will give his side the league title, but he wants to top the Premiership and secure home games in the West Asia Cup play-offs and retain the title they won last season.

The commanding 49-15 trouncing of Quins in Abu Dhabi last Friday saw Bahrain open up a gargantuan nine-point lead over the coachless Quins – who said goodbye to Mike McFarlane after nearly four years in charge last week.

But Tonkin is looking at the bigger picture and adding the double to last term’s cup triumph – a maiden trophy for Bahrain in eight years.

“It’s all about the play-offs now so we can get a home semi-final and a home final in the cup,” said Tonkin, who has transformed the club in his two-and-a-half years in charge.

“We won the cup last year and (Jebel Ali) Dragons won the Premiership, but we want to be outright West Asia champions this year.

“It’s important to finish strongly. There are some big challenges ahead. We have (Dubai) Exiles at home then Dragons away and a big game against (Dubai) Hurricanes. Those three teams are in a three-way battle for those last two play-off spots so we know they’ll all be raring to go.”

Tonkin is targeting two more wins for his side after the club were given a bonus point win ahead of this weekend’s 12th round of fixtures following Dubai Eagles’ decision to forfeit. That means Bahrain’s lead at the top is stretched to 14 points ahead of this weekend’s fixtures, which sees Quins go to Jebel Ali and Canes host Exiles.

“Moving forward, we’re disappointed Eagles have forfeited this weekend. We don’t get a lot of home games so we were really looking forward to hosting,” added Tonkin.

“It is what it is. We have three games left and we’re all guns blazing for Exiles next week. Exiles are the only team to beat us this year and they did so deservedly so we know they have some key players back now and we’re really targeting that game.

“Nine points clear, we’re aware two wins in the final three games will see us over the line and give us the title, which is what we’ve targeted from the beginning.”

West Asia Prem fixtures:

Friday

Bahrain F-F Dubai Eagles

17:30 Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Exiles

19:00 Jebel Ali Dragons v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

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