11 Sep 2017

Hong Kong lost 38-0 to Canada in yesterday’s seventh placed play-off at the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Montevideo, Uruguay. With both teams winless entering the match, it was Canada that saved their best performance until last as they shut-out Hong Kong.

With full-back Matt Worley, one of the most experienced and influential players in the squad, sidelined due to injury, Hong Kong were unable to keep pace with a Canadian attack that had disappointed in the the tournament to date but at last showed its potential.

For the first time in the tournament Canada posted the opening try. Cole Davis took a ball on the right wing and cut inside the defence to touch down after six minutes. With Will Kelly converting, Canada were seven points to the good.

Canada doubled their lead in the first quarter when prop Cole Keith powered his way across the line in the 18th minute and Kelly converted. Jake Thiel added Canada’s third try of the opening half, fending off Max Denmark to touch down in the 27th minute. In the 34th minute, James O’Neill took the ball off the back of a ruck and lunged over the line, sending Canada into the break with a 26-0 lead.

Hong Kong tightened its defence after the break to slow Canada’s strike rate but the second half started with more of the same from the Canadians. Just two minutes in, William McDougall-Percillier took the ball off the back of a driving scrum and slipped through the Hong Kong defence en route to the try line. In the latter stages, O’Neill scored his second try of the match to round out the scoring.

“We didn’t get a win and that’s disappointing and somethint that we need to analyse and reflect on, but it’s been a great tournament and a great campaign,” said Hong Kong captain Mark Coebergh.

“We lacked size but that is something we have to learn from and adapt to. We have to learn to play smarter rugby because we are smaller, but it is a great tournament with some of the world’s best players at this level and the boys loved it.”

“We played better than we did last year, particularly in the pool stages, and that is something we can build on for next year’s campaign,” Coebergh added.