15 Jul 2019

Tonga inflicted a heavy loss on Hong Kong overnight at the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Sao Paolo, Brazil, winning 64-12 in a ten-try rout. 

Hong Kong’s defence has come under serious pressure in this year’s championship, conceding eight tries to Portugal and a further ten yesterday to Tonga, including six in a first half that saw Hong Kong trailing 36-12 after forty minutes. 

This despite Hong Kong having the superior start to the match with co-captain Sam Tsoi, (one of two senior caps in the squad alongside fellow skipper Paul Altier), leading the group from the front with a try in the eighth minute. 

Altier’s conversion gave Hong Kong a 7-0 advantage after nine minutes, but Tonga quickly replied with some intensifying pressure and Hong Kong’s defence wilted, conceding two tries in the space of five minutes and the lead, as they trailed 12-7 after the opening quarter of action.

Winger Sam Down, getting the start against Tonga, showed his pace with a try at the 20 minute marker to level the scores at 12-12 after Altier’s missed conversion.

But Tonga replied with another damaging scoring spree leading into the break with four tries in just eleven minutes to warp the score line to 36-12 at the break.

Hong Kong saw progress in the second half against Portugal as they chipped away at a similarly depressing lead, but Tonga shut Hong Kong out in the second half, while adding a further four tries of their own to finish as 64-12 winners.

Captain Paul Altier was obviously disappointed after the match saying, “It was a tough match, very tough. We came in knowing what to expect, but to be fair to Tonga, they came out very strong, they played hard and their flair was just too good for us.

“We have to be honest with ourselves at the end of the day. Moving forward, we have to perfect what we did not do well today and our defence wasn’t where we wanted it to be after Portugal.

“Now, we are just keen to get stuck into the Canada game to see how we can rectify this performance.”

After two of  three pool rounds, Hong Kong are still bottom of Pool B with zero points, trailing Canada on two points.

A win over Canada on Wednesday is now a must if Hong Kong are to maintain a chance to equal their best performance at the World Rugby U20 Trophy of sixth place in last year’s competition.