11 Jul 2019

The Hong Kong Men’s Under U20s team lost 59-27 to Portugal, bronze medalists at the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2018, in the opening pool match of the 2019 tournament in Sao Paolo, Brazil. 

It was tough going for Hong Kong after vice captain Paul Altier claimed an early lead with an opening penalty strike in the third minute. That three point buffer lasted only five minutes before Portugal replied with its first penalty of the match to level the scores in the seventh minute.

Portugal showed their class with six tries down the final 30 minutes of the first half, running their point total to 36 after the first forty minutes.  Altier notched a second penalty after 20 minutes to bring Hong Kong to 36-6 at the break.

The second half saw Portugal add three further tries, pushing their total to 50, but an improved defensive showing by Hong Kong limited the damage to an early score after the break and two tries in the waning minutes.

Hong Kong meanwhile put its best patches of play together in the third quarter, with a 21-point run that spanned 11 minutes and was started with a try from Kyle Kitney in the 63rd minute.

With a good captain’s knock, Altier converted Kitney’s effort and scored a try of his own five minutes later, adding the extras to bring the score to 45-20, when Thaddeus Summers added Hong Kong’s third try on the trot.  Altier’s conversion closed the gap further to 45-27, and brought his personal tally to 17 for the day.

But Portugal still had an extra gear and closed the game out with two late tries to close out a convincing effort 59-27.

Portugal now go to the top of Pool B on five points, level with Tonga who beat Canada 26-25 in their opener. 

Canada collected two bonus points from that loss to claim third place, with Hong Kong at the bottom of the table. Hong Kong face Tonga in their second match on Saturday, 13th July (2300 Hong Kong time).

In Pool A, Uruguay and Japan were the opening round winners, rising to the top of the group on five points ahead of Brazil and Kenya, both on zero points.