05th Dec 2015

    Round eight of the Hong Kong Rugby Union Premiership sees some of the top contenders in action against each other in an intriguing weekend of rugby.

    Undefeated Societe Generale Valley travels to Shek Kip Mei to take on Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish (16.30) in a game where the Broony Quaich will be on the line. Scottish are tied 3rd with USRC Borrelli Walsh Tigers on the table. Tigers meanwhile face surging second-ranked Natixis Hong Kong Football Club at King’s Park (16.30) while Sabre Kowloon, fresh off their first victory of the season, will take on injury-depleted Leighton Asia Hong Kong Cricket Club (Aberdeen, 16.30).

    Scottish are looking to bounce back after a 25-20 defeat to HKFC. After numerous positional changes last week, Scottish’s chances will be improved by the return from injury of Lex Kaleca in the centres with Rob Cleary shifting to fullback in place of Dave Whiteford, who made a spot start last weekend.

    The Scottish pack could be under pressure against Valley’s steamrolling front row, anchored by hard-nosed South Africans prop Grant Kemp and hooker Dayne Jans. Scottish has been forced to move first-choice hooker Lachlan Chubb to the flank to cover for the injured Harris Grant; Frazer Wilford gets the start at hooker.

    “Last week was a morale booster and a big turnaround from when we played Scottish at their place earlier in the season and lost heavily,” said Will Thomas, HKFC Director of Rugby. “They came out fighting and put some points on the board, but we showed character in coming from behind. We’re now second but the middle of the table is very close. A win will cement our place but so far this season we haven’t played well at King’s Park, even when we’ve won.

    “Beating Tigers will also set us up nicely to play Valley the following week, when all the pressure will be on them, and maybe we can get something from it. But we have total respect for the Tigers and what they’ve done this season. This is a big game for us,” Thomas added.

    Football Club suffered a setback in the build-up with Andrew Tiedemann returning to Canada for the remainder of the season for family reasons. Mitch Andrews will make his debut at hooker. Andrews previously played for the Melbourne Rising in Australia’s National Rugby Championship. Football Club is also awaiting the return of injured No.8 Dan Falvey, but welcomed back another Hong Kong international, Jamie Hood, who returned from the sevens squad for his first league action last week.

    Kowloon coach James Scaysbrook commented on his side’s nascent momentum saying, “We had a good review of our win over Tigers and we’re looking forward to the weekend. HKCC are well organised with good ball carriers. We must get things right in the contact area, like we did against Tigers. The team is up for it,” added Scaysbrook.

    HKCC suffered a double blow in their loss to Valley last week which was accompanied by the loss of flyhalf Gus Cameron to a fractured ankle and Tom McQueen to a shoulder injury; these coming just as the Cricketers looked to be returning to full strength with captain Ben Roberts playing his first match in several weeks against Valley.

    Top of the Table clash looms at mid-point of HKRU Women’s Premiership season

    This weekend’s sixth round of the HKRU Women’s Premiership completes the first half of the season for the women, offering an opportunity to size up the seven teams ahead of the break. In an enticing top-of-the-table clash, CPM Gai Wu Falcons take on last season’s champions Societe Generale Valley Black Ladies at Happy Valley (Happy Valley 8, 16.30). Both sides enter the tie with perfect five win, no loss records. It is the first time this season that the perennial title contenders will meet and the first time that the two clubs have met both boasting undefeated records.

    Valley have the edge on the table with a bonus point seeing them atop the log on 24 points to Gai Wu’s 23. Valley are out to extend their 20-match winning streak dating back to last season, but the Falcons have the firepower to stop this juggernaut in one of the most anticipated matches of the season. With both teams having provided a majority of the Hong Kong XV for the upcoming Tour of Spain, a stellar clash is on the cards.

    “It will be interesting. Both teams are at full strength with the sevens players back. Whoever wins will be favourites for the league title,” said Sam Feausi, HKRU Women’s Rugby Development Manager.

    Hong Kong Football Club are on bye while the mid-table contest between Tigers and SCAA First Pacific CWB Phoenix CWB will kick off at King’s Park at 16.30. Transact 24 Tai Po Dragon Ladies and Kowloon Ladies play the late match at So Kon Po (18.00) with both teams in search of their first points.