Making a mark in Hong Kong

When Global Rapid Rugby Founder Andrew Forrest conceptualised a new elite-level rugby competition in the Asia Pacific he knew Hong Kong would play a key role in realising his vision. Already a rugby stronghold in the fastest growing region in the world, the evolution of the South China Tigers in 2019 has been an important step in the fledgling competition.

After kicking off the Asia Showcase against the Western Force in Perth, the Tigers take on the West Australian side again, this time on home turf, in the final game of the Asian series. Team Manager, Andrew Hall, said this year had given players and fans a tasty appetiser of a new and exciting brand.

Tom Varndell in action for the South China Tigers vs Asia Pacific Dragons during Global Rapid Rugby 2019 at Aberdeen Sports Ground, Aberdeen, Hong Kong, on 21 April 2019.
Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

“Playing in Global Rapid Rugby has been absolutely fantastic; it has given Hong Kong players an entirely new experience and challenge, allowed us to play against new competition, and tested our abilities to play at high intensity,” said Hall.

“The quality of the rugby has been impressive. We have shown we are capable at this level, and in periods have put together some good rugby, now our challenge is to extend those ten and twenty minute periods to the entire game.

“The Force game is another chance for us to do that, and another opportunity for us to show the people coming down to the match what the Tigers are capable of,” Hall added.

South China Tigers run out at Aberdeen Sports Ground, Aberdeen, Hong Kong.
Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

That sentiment is widely shared by the players, particularly after the disappointing loss a fortnight ago to the Dragons in Singapore. A win or bonus point in the final match will put the Tigers into outright second place with the Force having already sewn up the series.

“We can’t win the conference anymore, but that has not changed our focus ahead of the game a bit. We have an opportunity to put some things right and close out the campaign on a high,” said Hall.

“The challenge for us is to put it all together this weekend. Put those little things right that we didn’t in Perth. Get a functioning scrum and set piece, breach the gain line quickly and come away with points from our opportunities, the same things we have been focusing on in every game, really.

“Defence has been a huge focus as well. Defence is something that says a lot about a teams’ character and we expect the squad will have something to say about that in their performance. The Force will score, of course. I don’t expect this game to be as tight as it was in Singapore last week, but if they do score we want to make sure they have to work damn hard for it,” Hall added.

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