07 Sep 2017

Hong Kong lost 66-10 to Uruguay last night to conclude the pool stages of the 2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

After opening encounters against Fiji and Portugal, Uruguay proved too much of a hill to climb for the Hong Kong U20s as they fell to their heaviest loss of the tournament so far.

Hong Kong held the hosts to a 14-3 lead at half time with Uruguay’s two tries coming in the first quarter and Matt Worley replying for Hong Kong with a penalty in the 24th minute.

Things went off the rails in the second half despite a positive start for Hong Kong after Uruguay were shown a yellow card in the 41stminute.

The tournament hosts replied well and were able to score a short-handed try in the 49th minute.That opened the floodgates as Hong Kong conceded four tries over the next ten minutes to fall behind 40-3.

Coach Andrew Hall turned to a strategic use of the bench at that point, bringing on backs Jack Abbott, Thaddeus Summers and forward Sam Tsoi Kin-san.

All three of these players are eligible for the next two World Rugby U20 Trophy tournaments should Hong Kong qualify.

“We took a longer view with this selection. Sam, Thadeus and Jack are all eligible for the next two U20 Trophy competitions and this match gave them an important opportunity to experience the level required at this tournament,” said Hall.

The young trio will be well aware of what is required after Uruguay went on to rack up four more tries over the last 20 minutes to expand the scoreto 59-3, before Hong Kong was able to cross over for its first try through No.8 Max Denmark in the 79th minute. Worley’sconversion brought the score to 59-10.

Denmark’s try was one for the tournament highlight reel with the rangy forward collecting the ball at the base of the scrum 40 metres out from the Uruguay posts and steamrolling over multiple defenders to cross the line.

Adding insult to injury, Uruguay came back to score their seventh try of the second half and ninth of the match in the 80th minute as Uruguay defended its ground 66-10.

Hong Kong will now face Canada, fourth seeds in Pool A, in the seventh place play-off on Sunday.

Captain Mark Coebergh credited the Uruguay pack for their performance after the match saying, “Uruguay are a very good squad. They are a very strong team, very physical with some big guys. We fell on the wrong side of it today.

“Credit to the boys though, it is difficult when you have to face a bigger forward pack rolling over you. We will just have to learn from it. Canada are also a very good side and we now just have to move on, see what they are like and go from there,” Coebergh added.