SANDY BAY TAKE ON TIGERS IN SAXO MARKETS PREMIERSHIP GAME OF THE WEEK

20 Nov 2020

Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay face Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers in this weekend’s Saxo Markets Premiership game of the week at 14.00 Saturday at King’s Park. In other matches, Natixis HKFC host DAC Kowloon Rugby Club at HKFC at 15.30, while Societe Generale Valley meet Bloomberg HK Scottish at King’s Park at 16.00.

Both of this week’s showcase sides are coming off of momentum building efforts, with Tigers losing to Valley 19-8 last week, while Sandy Bay mounted a late charge against the reigning league champions HKFC, with a dominant final quarter where they narrowed a 19-0 gap to 19-10 before time ran out. Despite the moral victories, both were left out of the points and with a third of the season effectively gone, that is a matter of increasing concern. 

“It is an interesting league already. Any team can turn over anyone else, and it is clear that no club looks clearly better than any others at the start,” said Sandy Bay coach Brett Wilkinson.

“Tigers are quality and Kowloon are showing well. Every game matters. You really have to put up points, whether by winning or securing a losing bonus point if things do not go your way. Those points are going to be critical by the end of the league,” he added.

Finally healthy after a star-struck 2019, Tigers have made ripples with a strong start to the year, especially considering they have faced a murderer’s row opening slate with last year’s one and two, HKFC and Valley, to open the campaign. 

For their part, Sandy Bay were left ruing a missed opportunity for a statement win against the reigning league champs Football Club, and a chance to move to 2-0 after some early indiscipline helped HKFC build an ultimately unassailable margin. 

“We took a big step forward from week one, apart from our discipline, which let us down. We gave Club a big leg up with the penalties, and we halted our own progress at key times. That left us having to chip away at them for the rest of the game,” said Wilkinson.

For a second outing, Sandy Bay’s defensive effort was immense, earning plaudits from Wilkinson; “I am proud of the way the boys defended. We held out under real pressure in a few big moments.” 

For Wilkinson the key now is more belief. “We need to trust ourselves a bit more with ball in hand. That’s being more patient, definitely, but also trusting each other when we have the ball a bit more. 

That trust will be put to a massive test against Tigers and Wilkinson knows it:

“They are a club we respect a lot. They are well coached and recruited well in the off-season. They have so many good players, and some dangerous attacking players with guys like Josh Hrstic and Josh Henderson, and the Sevens players. 

“We have to be aware of them at all times, but the focus is on us - and getting our own game right.”

“They have a big and very efficient pack, so the set piece will be critical. We were better last week, but it will come down to who gets the better start early on. A good launch starts it all, without it you can struggle in this league.” 

More good news is on the horizon with one of Sandy Bay’s secret weapon signings, centre Tertius Kruger - who played Guinness Pro14 rugby last season, having cleared quarantine and gotten his first sessions in at ‘The Bay’. Wilkinson kept his cards close to the vest about whether the Free Stater will debut on Saturday. 

“Tertius is out of quarantine, and has had his first few sessions. He has fitted in well already, but obviously he has a lot going on at the moment in getting settled in and into rugby shape. It is a priority for us to get him going, but we want to be clever about it and we take seriously our duty of care to make sure guys are not put in bad positions,” Wilkinson added.

Like the entire community, Wilkinson was excited to be back and talking about rugby again in this unique season. 

“There is a good competition in the squad. That is coming out in training, and I think it is a factor of having only ten games. Everyone is keen to press their claims,” he added.

HKRUTV APP debuts

This weekend marks the debut of the new HKRU TV app, where fans from around the world and around the corner can watch KPMG Premiership Game of the Week action live for free. Games will be streamed live and as video on demand. The app will also offer exclusive rugby content for those looking to delve deeper into the world of the Hong Kong Rugby Premiership. Starting this weekend, Saxo Markets Men’s & KPMG Women’s Premiership Rugby Game of the Week can be viewed both on the HKRU TV app and as always, on HKRU Facebook & Website.

Download for free today at:

IOS: https://apps.apple.com/hk/app/...

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hkru.hkrutv

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