13 Nov 2017

After a narrow 16-13 loss to Russia in the opener of the Regal Hotels Cup of Nations on Friday, coach Leigh Jones has announced his squad for tomorrow night’s second round test match versus Chile (19.00 at King’s Park).

Chile beat Kenya 23-3 in their tournament opener and Jones sees several similarities between their style of play and Russia’s:

“I expected to beat Russia but we came unstuck, and again I am expecting to beat Chile. I said before the competition that we have now got to measure ourselves against this type of competition and back ourselves to win.

“We let ourselves down against Russia due to an inconsistent set piece and some poor discipline. We have talked about that and how to improve our set piece against Chile, and I think that the rest of our game will improve as a consequence,” Jones said.

Jones has made several changes to the squad, primarily in the backline, with Jack Neville earning the start at fly half while Matt Rosslee moves to the reserves. Neville will partner with the new centre pairing of Sam Purvis and Tyler Spitz, while Ali Maclay and Marcus Ramage come into the squad on the wings. Utility back Jamie Hood will move from nine to fifteen against Chile with scrumhalf Liam Slatem taking over at the pivot.

Prop Jack Parfitt and flanker Matt Lamming are the two newcomers to the match day 23 in the forwards with Parfitt joining Ben Higgins at prop, while Ben Roberts will take over at hooker and captain the side. Both Higgins and Roberts were on the bench for the opening match.

James Cunningham earns a second start at lock with Kyle Sullivan moving to the starters list after the opener, replacing Adrian Griffiths who will start on the reserves bench against Chile. The back row sees Kane Boucaut and Lamming on at flanker with Thomas Lamboley retaining the No.8 jersey.

Russia starters Dayne Jans and props Dan Barlow and Dylan Rogers join Griffiths on the bench alongside Michael Coverdale, Cado Lee Ka-to, Rosslee and Conor Hartley, all of whom figured in match one. The changes are consistent with Jones’s approach of using the Cup of Nations as a stepping-stone for Hong Kong’s ultimate attempt to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019.

“We have got to keep developing depth and keep developing competition. Competition has got to be the key as we move forward, so there is a bigger picture in mind with the changes. It’s about having a look at different permutations and different selections with that larger picture in mind,” said Jones.

Jones will be calling on his side for another lift in performance against Chile and the forwards in particularly will be asked to set the tone early on.

“Chile are a big, heavy team and rely largely on their forwards. They are very nuggety and physical, so we are going to have to match them in the forwards and in their physical approach, and also to show a bit of class and play the game at a quicker tempo.

“Obviously their scrum was probably their main weapon along with their No.8 coming off the back of the scrum. We have to take their scrum away and their lineout drive, so it’s not dissimilar to Russia.

“If our set piece doesn't function, they will control possession, they will then control the penalty count and control territory. If we allow them to do that then we will have problems again. Our set piece needs to function and we need to get field position and turn the tables on them,” added Jones, who believes his side will not be lacking in motivation after coming so close to beating Russia for the first time last Friday night.

“There was a lot of disappointment in the locker room after Russia, which is pleasing in many respects. I generally thought we had Russia on the rack with 20 minutes to go, but we couldn’t find that extra gear. So that is the challenge now for us, in making sure we stay competitive with these sorts of teams, but that we also find that gear when we need to move ourselves away from them,” Jones concluded.

2017 Regal Hotels Cup of Nations Match Schedule





Tues., 14 Nov.

Russia v Kenya


Kings Park

Hong Kong v Chile


Kings Park

Sat., 18 Nov.

Russia v Chile


Hong Kong Football Club

Hong Kong v Kenya


Hong Kong Football Club