An interview with Kevin Lai, Chairman of Hong Kong City Rugby Club

21 Oct 2020

What’s the story behind the City Rugby Club logo?

Our logo consists of a tree made of 7 rugby balls. Each rugby ball represents one of our Club’s founders, who in 1996 joined the HKRU’s Summer Touch Tournament with their “City 7” team.

Can you give us a brief history of City Rugby Club?

In 1996, a group of tertiary students, graduates and teaching staff of City University of Hong Kong formed a leisure team to play in the HKRU’s Summer Touch Tournament. The team was named "City 7" because all 7 players came from City University touch and tag rugby teams. The team quickly grew in numbers and in 4 years decided to form an official rugby club to join HKRU’s Men’s league as a XV’s team. 2004 was a milestone for the Club as it both became a full member of HKRU and won the 2004 Divisional Championship and Union 7's Championship. That set the stage for some of the Club’s players to be selected to represent Hong Kong on the international stage. The Club kept growing and four years later developed a second Men's team for the entry division. City's first Ladies’ team was officially formed in 2011, through partnering with another club, who then went on to win the Women's 10 Championship in their first year.

By 2012 the Club had 3 Men’s teams playing in 3 different leagues (Championship, CL2 and CL3) and the following year added Twister RFC as its Youth team. Between 2012 and 2018 the Club won several cups including CL championship (2012), 5 cups in the 2015/16 season (double championship in the CL for Men’s 1st Team, double championship for Women’s NL1, & Grand Championship for Men’s NL3), and Grand Championship for Men’s 3rd team in NL3 (2018). City Women's 1st Team also moved from NL1 to Premiership in 2017.

What differentiates City Rugby Club from other rugby clubs in Hong Kong?

The Club prides itself on nurturing the development of rugby amongst younger generations in the Hong Kong local community (this is exemplified through partnerships with Tsuen Wan Rhinos Mini Rugby Club and Shatin Shapei Mini Rugby Club). In addition, the Club has been very sensitive to issues both on a global scale (partnership with Plastic Free Seas in 2018) and locally (support of underprivileged local communities through an ongoing partnership with Foodlink Foundation since 2019).

What are City Rugby Club’s greatest achievements?

2015/16 was a memorable season for the Club, as several teams won a total of 5 cups in a single season: Men's 1st team won double Championships in the Champion league,  Women's 1st team also won double Championships in Women's NL1, and Men's 3rd team won NL3 Grand Championship.

What are your most memorable moments on and off the pitch?

On top of the 2015/16 season (mentioned above), a few selected Club’s players went to Okinawa (Japan) in 2017 for a Rugby Tour, where our Women’s team won the 1st trophy in an overseas tournament.

Can you introduce to us some key personnel of City Rugby Club over the decades?

We would like to dedicate a special mention to 2 distinguished players: Mok Tsz Hin, who started in our Twister Youth Club and went on to be selected for Senior Warriors XVs Philippines tour in 2019; and Jan Tan, who pursued a successful career in rugby transforming from a key player to a dedicated referee.