21st Apr 2016

This Saturday sees Hong Kong Football Club host the annual Taipan’s Day in what is gearing up to be another fantastic celebration of rugby and entertainment.

As previously announced, the 53rd Taipan of this fixture is Chairman of Swire Properties, Mr John Slosar. The challenger is former HK Rugby Union Chairman and stalwart of the sport in Asia, Mr. Peter Duncan.

Conceived according to the Barbarians format and first played at HKFC on 20th January 1951, the Taipan became an annual HKFC fixture. The Taipan, arguably the foremost business figure of the day in Hong Kong, would field the best Rugby team at his disposal to challenge a formidable side to represent the Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong – playing for the Mansergh Cup.

This year’s fixture will conform to the more modern format, where both teams will comprise some of the most exciting and talented players in Hong Kong from across the Premiership clubs. Both squads are coached by esteemed rugby international players in their own right, ex Australian rugby league international Phill Bailey for the Taipan team and ex Fiji international Deacon Manu for the challenger team. Phill is supported on the coaching front by ex American international, Tim Usasz and Deacon is supported by ex professional rugby union player, Wesley Feausi.

With the two squads being put through their final preparations at training on Thursday evening, the line ups will be announced on Friday. The two team captains have however been long decided, that being Hong Kong XV and VII international and HKFC skipper Jamie Hood for the Taipan team. For the Challenger team it is skippered by five times Taipan stalwart and HKFC second row, Jamie McGregor.

As in the original Taipan’s Day, where there historically would be a curtain raiser between the Civilians v Services, which later changed to a Police Commissioner’s XV vs a Commodore’s or Captain-in-Charge’s XV, this year sees a packed day of rugby activity.

Taipan Day Fixtures
08:00 am The Taipan Mini Rugby Tournament
12:00 pm Operation Breakthrough vs Hong Kong Football Club Colts
13:00 pm The Taipan Varsity Match – Colonials v Lions
14:15 pm Hong Kong Disciplined Services vs Tin Shui Wai Pandas
15:45 pm Hong Kong National Teams vs Waikato Chiefs
17:30 pm The Taipan Match
20:00 pm The Taipan Dinner

Entry into the stand is free all day with access to the usual excellent food and beverages available all day in the various kiosks. The whole of the Hong Kong rugby community and beyond is more than welcome at HKFC on Saturday.

This year’s primary curtain raiser is the Hong Kong national team versus the Waikato Chiefs Development Squad, which is sure to add to the excitement and the prestige of the day. The Waikato Chiefs have once again arrived in Hong Kong with an abundance of talent including Chiefs winger Chase Tiatia and replacement players in hooker Liam Polwart, loose forward Mitchell Brown, winger Monty Ioane and previous Super Rugby player Cardiff Vaega. The Hong Kong national team are using the Waikato fixture as their final and only preparation for their Asian Rugby Championship fixtures against Japan and South Korea in May. The fixture will be a full blown affair as former Japan Defence Coach and now Hong Kong Head Coach, Leigh Jones having had the squad on a full time basis since he arrived from the Rugby World Cup in November, will be eager to get a positive performance on their road to the ARC’s.

The day culminates in the the Taipan dinner which is still considered one of the most prestigious dinners in Hong Kong and will be once again attended by the top rugby and business personalities in the country.

HKFC Director of Rugby, William Thomas, commented on the Taipan days rugby festivities ‘Saturday is once again going to be another superb celebration of Hong Kong rugby at HKFC. If I’m honest, I’m a little bit jealous of these young guys, a lot of them in the most informative years of their professional careers, getting the chance to play in such a historic rugby fixture and then to dine and network afterwards with some of the most influential business people in Hong Kong.’

‘From the day I arrived in Hong Kong, everybody talked about the Taipan’s day and the history behind it from the very first Taipan in 1951, Sir Arthur Morse and his famous urbane code of conduct through to Club stalwart, Alex Duperouzel resurrecting the day in 2011 as part of the Club’s 125th anniversary. Having spoken to previous Taipan players from various Clubs around Hong Kong, it’s clear that they have hugely enjoyed and valued their involvement in the day.’

‘I stumbled across the cover (below) from the Taipain’s programme in 1981, which was designed by Ann Moir, the wife of former HKFC Chairman Mike Moir. For me, the image sums up the Taipan’s game and the day perfectly with rugby central to the high rise and highly connected city around it. It’s going to be a great day both on and off the field.’