Abu Dhabi Harlequins have been forced to cancel their trip to Jebel Ali Dragons on Friday ending their pursuit of a perfect Gulf Top Six season.
The champions, who had won nine out of nine prior to this weekend, were missing 14 players for the clash and crucially did not have the required five front-row specialists available.
Graeme Murphy was the latest prop to succumb to injury after he suffered a neck injury in Quins’ 29-22 defeat of Doha last weekend.
Quins are striving to get enough players fit for the West Asia Rugby Cup final. The two teams – who finished the Gulf Top Six season first and second respectively – are set to meet in the end-of-season showpiece at Zayed Sports City on March 22.
And Quins director of rugby Chris Davies, said: “We just haven’t got the number in terms of front-row forwards. “It’s an absolute nightmare, we’ve just got to try and get these players fit. I’m not even sure how we’ll be for next week.”
Davies added: “The previous games have taken their toll. It’s tough on the lads, we’re disappointed. We regret that’s the decision we’ve had to make but hopefully things will tidy up before next week.”
Dragons coach Shane Thorton was understanding but disappointed that he couldn’t give some of his fringe players a run-out before the final. “We had a couple of players coming back from injury (we wanted) to give them a game to push for a spot,” he said.
“But now we can’t do that and it’s going to give me a harder choice next week to pick that 22.”
Elsewhere this Friday, the Dubai Exiles welcome Bahrain to 7he Sevens looking to avoid the wooden spoon. The Exiles will climb off the bottom with a win against second-bottom Bahrain, handing their visitors the dubious honour.