09 Sep 2017

Hong Kong are recharging their energy stores for their final outing at the 2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy in tomorrow’s seventh place play-off against Canada, (21.00).The team is hunting for its first win of the tournament and some redemption after a 66-10 loss in their last match against Uruguay.

Hong Kong will look to put that match out of their minds as they focus on Canada.

“The guys are bitterly disappointed at how the Uruguay game went. We capitulated really, but we haven’t spent a lot of time dwelling on it. We agreed to look ahead to Canada and focus everything on them,” said coach Andrew Hall.

The team has had a light week focusing more on the mental than physical aspects of the game against Canada.

“We have taken the training levels down a bit and are focusing more on our meetings and walk-throughs to keep the tanks full. The players appreciate that we need to respond to that defeat against Uruguay – and that it can’t be a 20-minute flash, it has to be a sustained 80-minute assault,” Hall emphasized.

“Canada bring a physical element like Uruguay and Portugal. They have a solid set piece and a direct and physical midfield. It’s not a complex game plan but it is effective.If we let them get momentum early our job becomes considerably more difficult.

“We are focused on nullifying their opening attacking phases and playing to our strengths. We don’t want to go from set piece to set piece; we want to keep the ball in play to let the game break down a bit so we can play our brand of controlled chaos rugby.”

The challenge has increased after attacking fullback Matt Worley, whowas injuredin the Uruguay match, was forced out of theencounter against Canada.

“We only have one change with Matt out, but it is a big one, and obviously a blow to the side considering his experience and attacking threat,” said coach Andrew Hall.

Worley is one of just two players in the squad, the other being prop Ken Encarnacion, on his third World Rugby U20 Trophy tournament. Worley’s absence sees fly half Paul Altier drop back to cover fullback, with Daniel Archer getting a second start at no.10.

Hall has kept the three young debutants against Uruguay – backs Thaddeus Summers and Jack Abbott and forward Sam Tsoi – all of whom are eligible for the next two tournament editions, on the reserves bench for a second straight outing after they performed well.

Hong Kong squad v Canada:

1. Ken Encarnacion, 2. Jack Scanlon, 3. Lachlan Oliver-Kerby, 4. Zach Baldwin, 5. Jake Barlow, 6. Gregor Ramage, 7.Oliver Overman, 8. Max Denmark, 9. Mark Coebergh (captain), 10. Daniel Archer, 11. Oliver Duffy, 12. Cameron Smith, 13. James Karton, 14. Marcus Ramage, 15. Paul Altier. Reserves: Jay Cooke, Thomas Gibb, Bruce Wong, Sam Tsoi, Henry Poon, Thaddeus Summers, Daniel Pusack