An interview with John Byrne, General Manager of HKU Sandy Bay RFC.

19 Aug 2020

  • Tell us the story behind the HKU Sandy Bay logo?

HKU Sandy Bay started as a staff sports society for The University of Hong Kong to promote junior rugby in the South side community. It symbolises our heritage and is a nod to our creation. In due course we plan to foster closer ties with the university that will be mutually beneficial. 


  • Can you give us a brief history of HKU Sandy Bay?

As mentioned above we began life as a sports society for Hong Kong University staff families. In 2018, the former Aberdeen (香港仔) RFC and then HKCC Rugby Section joined forces to become the Senior Section of HKU Sandy Bay to create a rugby club that caters for all age groups.  


  • What differentiates HKU Sandy Bay from other rugby clubs in Hong Kong?

It is first and foremost a family club that was built from the minis up. HKU Sandy Bay are also very much reliant on the catchment area of Pokfulam and the south side of the island although we do now attract players from further afield.  Despite being seen as largely an expat club, 65% of our minis and youth players were born in Hong Kong. 


  • What are HKU Sandy Bay’s greatest achievements?

The achievements all stem from our base which is the minis and essentially the life-blood of the club. The greatest achievement has been organically growing from a small society into a club that now boasts over 3000 members, able to host mini festivals for 10,000 participants.


  • What are HKU Sandy Bay’s most memorable moments?

The most memorable moment was certainly the Prems winning the Grand Final in our first year under the new Sandy Bay colours. After a tumultuous time off the field we faced an up-hill battle when the season started which was reflected in our results all the way up to Christmas. Brett Wilkinson never let the players' heads drop despite not winning a game in 2018 but the turn of the year saw a remarkable turnaround and surge in confidence that saw them go all the way.  


  • Anything special HKU Sandy Bay have been doing this year to mark the 30 years anniversary?

The big celebrations for the 30th Anniversary are currently on ice! We were hoping to hold a ball last year which got postponed due to the unrest...which became further postponed due to Covid. At this rate we might well have to make 32 our big birthday celebration! We have an event booked for October but this will more than likely be pushed further back.