REMATCH OF 2019/20 GRAND FINAL ON CARDS IN KPMG PREMIERSHIP

13 Nov 2020

After an exciting opening to the KPMG Premiership season last week with last season’s top threats re-asserting their claims, this weekend sees the intensity reach an early peak with a rematch of the last Grand Final between Societe Generale Valley and Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers.

Both sides will be coming off of convincing season openers when they meet at King’s Park at 18.00. Tigers beat Natixis HKFC in the opener 27-5, while Valley defeated DAC Kowloon handily.  Each team will also bring plenty of Hong Kong talent into the encounter, setting the stage for an exciting battle for early bragging rights and potential Hong Kong jerseys.

After defeating Valley in a memorable Grand Final two seasons ago, Tigers were on the other side of the fence this spring, with a 36-10 defeat in the season’s showcase. Valley sealed their win early on establishing a 24-0 lead in the first half, although they are missing a key cog in that final in the now retired No.8 Olivia Coady.

Tigers are relishing the opportunity to match wits again against the league’s best, with captain Lindsay Varty saying, “We enjoy playing Valley a lot as it's always an exciting challenge. They play a strong, physical game so we are expecting big tackles and strong ball carries from them. We're prepared for it!

For her part, Varty isn’t buying into the off-season transition at Valley despite the many faces stepping down or away from the game after last season’s double.

“It's great to see new faces on any of the teams, as it just means more girls are getting an opportunity to play rugby in the Premiership,” she said.

“But it doesn't change the game plan for us. We will still be going in with the intention to play our game and stick to our structures. I'm sure the coaches  will be preparing us for a physical test so I expect lots of tackle training and contact area work in training,” added Varty.

Valley player/coach Bella Milo is also up for a good strong test early on: “It’s going to be a big game and we are excited. I watched Tigers play last week and they have national players throughout the park, so we need nothing less than an 80-minute effort from our players. We will work to stop their attacking game early, and must stop playmaker Vivian Poon from getting into it.

“At the same time, there is a different vibe about us this year, with new players, new leadership, and a lot of energy and belief. We will be looking to get out there and tick the boxes we set out to tick for this week’s match, just like we went about doing last week.”

With a ten-round Premiership, including seven straight rounds leading into the Christmas break, Milo is also keeping a watchful eye on her squad’s overall strength and condition.

“We have a few minor niggles from last week’s game, so we will rest a few players on Saturday and use this weekend as a opportunity for more players to get game time under their belts.

Milo highlighted a few players that caught her eye in the opener and could see additional game time against Tigers.

“I was impressed with Lewis Wong (Wong Yi-tung Wong), who came off the bench and injected some good energy into our defence, and Sonia Chandiramani who came in at six last weekend. Nadia Cuvelier’s first start in midfield last week, proved she’s a force to reckon with and we will be keen to give her that opportunity again this week.”

Post-match, Milo also recognised Katie Booth and returning player Jess Knight who was the forward of the game in week one, in another sign that Valley’s depth remains solid despite losing a few key veterans over the summer. 

In other KPMG Premiership action, DAC Kowloon hosts the league’s other 1-0 side in Gai Wu Falcons at KGV at 17.30, while HKFC Ice host SCAA Causeway Bay at Sports Road at 18.15.

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