14 Sep 2015

The Hong Kong rugby community geared up for the kick-off of Rugby World Cup 2015 in UK this Friday with a trio of celebratory events this week.

On Thursday 10th September the Hong Kong Rugby Union hosted a “Giants of Rugby” charity dinner at the Grand Hyatt, with an impressive line-up of speakers that included three World Cup winning second rows in New Zealand’s Ali Williams, England’s Simon Shaw and Australia’s David Giffin, joined by Deacon Manu and Tim Usasz the captains of Fiji and USA respectively at the last tournament in 2011.With ex-Scottish international lock Andrew Hall calling the shots as master of ceremonies, it was an entertaining and memorable evening, and also one in an excellent cause with over HK$100,000 raised for the HKRU Community Foundation which uses sport as a medium to tackle social issues such as youth crime and social inclusion.The event was generously supported by DHL, Virgin Atlantic, UKTI, Wine’n’things, Gilbert, Glenfiddich, and Rugby World magazine.

Next up on Saturday 12th September the Mini Rugby Union held their very own Under 12 World Cup, kindly supported by Land Rover, with teams representing all 20 of the countries participating in England.With a firm emphasis on having fun and making new friends, youngsters from Hong Kong’s 21 mini clubs had an exciting afternoon at the Hong Kong Football Club, with their very own “parade of nations” opening proceedings. For the record, Samoa took the Cup, perhaps a great omen for one of the World Cup's most popular sides.

Rounding off the weekend, on Sunday 13th September the HKRU Community Foundation welcomed over 150 youngsters from four of their key NGO partners for a morning of World Cup-themed games and fun at KGV school sports pitch.Again kindly sponsored by DHL, the Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015 , and generously hosted by KGV school, the boys and girls from the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Hong Kong Society for Protection of Children, Po Leung Kuk and St Catherine’s Homes were able to show off their new-found skills they have been developing during their summer "Get Into Rugby" training courses.

Certainly the most poignant moment of the morning came when ex-Hong Kong internationals Chan Wai-ping and Liu Kwok-leung met the youngsters from St Catherines - the two of them, along with Wai-ping's elder brother Chan Fuk-ping, were living in the St Catherine's Home when they were introduced to rugby at Kai Tak Tigers over 30 years ago, and all three went on to have distinguished playing careers representing Hong Kong in the 2002 Asian Games as well as Fuk-ping making history as the first local Chinese player to play at the Hong Kong Sevens. Sadly interest in rugby after that initial group faded, and it is only now three decades later that St Catherine's kids have picked the ball up again - let's hope a few can follow in the footsteps of their illustrious alumni!
With the first match of the World Cup kicking-off at Twickenham on Friday 18th September, many of Hong Kong’s rugby fans will be preparing to head across to watch the action in person, but for those left behind Fox Sports 2 will be showing every encounter live, right up to the final on 31st October when the new world champions will be crowned.Enjoy RWC 2015!