06 Oct 2017

Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers will host Kowloon in tomorrow’s KPMG Premiership Women’s Game of the Week at King George V School at 18.00. Natixis HKFC Ice face Transact24 Tai Po Dragons at Football Club, while in other Premiership action City Sparkle welcome Eco Gai Wu Falcons at Happy Valley, and Societe Generale Valley face off with SCAA First Pacific Causeway Bay Phoenix at So Kon Po, all three matches kicking off at 16.30.

Kowloon have been circling their first win of the season and are coming off of an impressive defensive effort last weekend that saw them prevent the Falcons from taking flight in a 17-0 win.

More of the same will be needed against Tigers, who dispatched City 40-0 in their last outing.

Kowloon forwards coach Ben Ho said, “We will build on what we have been doing right in our first two games [a narrow 10-12 loss to Tai Po and the feisty loss to Gai Wu]. Hopefully this will be our first win. We have improved from last season and both our development players and the regular squad are playing better and better.

Unsurprisingly for a forwards coach, Ho chalks up their success to continuity and improved performance in the set pieces.

“We are better able to keep the ball, and win set pieces, which allows us to keep the upper hand, and at least relax the pressure and give ourselves a platform to build on.

“Against Gai Wu, we kept the score down by owning the ball ourselves as much as we could. The less they see of the ball, the less chance they have to put points on the board.

Kowloon are relatively hale after the opening matches but still missing four players on sevens duty.

Tigers meanwhile enter the game relatively unfazed by an early loss against powerhouse Valley (3-39) but equally found it hard to calibrate their performance in last week’s big win over City.

“Games like this and against Football Club and South China are really important,” said coach Fan Shun-kei. “Our main focus is to end up in the top four at Christmas [when the league will split into an elite and developmental premiership competition]”.

“I think it will be a close contest and that the result could turn on the backs and our movement in terms of how we use space. Playing the ball into space will be crucial.

Like Kowloon, Fan will be missing four players to national sevens duty but he does have an ace up his sleeve in sevens squad member Lindsay Varty who will support the squad from the bench on Saturday.

“We’ve no big changes,” said Fan. “Lindsay is available to us this weekend and we are fortunate to have recruited some big forwards this season, which was something we were missing previously. Three or four new props have come into the squad, which gives us more flexibility in how we play.”

Fan also hailed his new arrivals from New Zealand. “They are making a big difference,” he said.

“Abbey Rivers (prop) brings a lot of physicality and more stability in the scrum while Sarah Swinbanks (fly half) has given us a kicking option to escape danger that makes us much stronger,” Fan added.

Valley top the table heading into round three, followed by Phoenix and Gai Wu in tied second, with Tigers running fourth on five points. Kowloon who have been unlucky in their results are 0-2 and are tied-sixth with HKFC, while Tai Po dragons cling to fifth on four points. City Sparkle are winless to date at the bottom of the table.