27 Nov 2020

This week’s KPMG Premiership slate features a test for frontrunners Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers, the league’s last unbeaten team, when they play Gai Wu Falcons in Game of the Week on Saturday at King’s Park at 18.00.   DAC Kowloon play SCAA Causeway Bay Phoenix at Happy Valley at 17.00, while third-ranked Societe Generale Valley are away to Natixis HKFC at 18.15 in Saturday’s other Premiership matches.

Tigers - Falcons is shaping up as a barnburner with both sides bringing plenty of firepower into the contest, including almost 20 current and former Hong Kong caps.

After a tough 17-10 loss to Valley last week, Gai Wu have to pick themselves up against the hottest team in the competition in Tigers, who have vanquished all comers so far - including a statement 41-5 win over Valley.

Tigers have compiled an intimidating +130 point differential, posting 140 points in three games and with a perfect three from three bonus points, they have a four point edge on the table over Gai Wu as the league approaches the halfway point.

They have no intention of loosening their grip on the competition says Tigers captain Lindsay Varty.

“We have stayed strong and won all games so far, but it is by no means over. We still have teams to play in the opening round, and those we have already beat, will come back hungrier next round. We have to keep the intensity of our game up, and maintain our fitness and strength - most of all we have to stay connected as a team and work to keep building our momentum.

“Kei-jai [coach Fan Shun-kei] will keep us focused on the task at hand, but it is up to the individual to bring their best in every training and game so we can continue our winning streak,” said Varty who is marking her 20th season with Tigers.

With fifth placed Kowloon the final game of the opening round for Tigers on 5 December, they know that Gai Wu represents the biggest threat to an opening round whitewash.

“We have played them many times and they are a great team,” said Varty.

“They bring strong technical skills and efficiency at set piece and the breakdown. We know they will bring their all to the game and we are ready for it,” she added.

While Tigers passed their test against last year’s double winners Valley with flying colours, Gai Wu fell in a tough 17-10 loss.

Gai Wu are already moving on from that result and were even able to take confidence from the loss, said manager Pun Wai-yan.

“It was a loss, but we kept within seven points for the bonus, and the result showed the side we could compete. We need to carry on improving and train well this week. It will take another big effort from the group to beat Tigers, and a bit more clarity in our attack and defence,” she said.

With Tigers scoring at will, Pun says the team has a simple solution to keep them in low gear.

“The key is just to play to our strengths and deny them any possession,” said Pun.

DAC Kowloon, meanwhile, is looking to build off of its first win of the season last week at Football Club when they meet winless Causeway Bay on Saturday.

“It was a great win against Club, and a confidence boost after a tough start to the season,” said coach Terry Sibanda.

“We want to build on that momentum this weekend and improve our ability to execute. We had a lot of opportunities to close out the game against Club, but handling errors meant we kept them in it. We put ourselves needlessly under pressure by losing possession at key moments, but our defence was solid and reliable throughout the entire match.”

Heading into Round 4, Tigers have 15 points on the table, followed by Gai Wu on 11, Valley are in third on nine points, followed by HKFC on 6 and Kowloon on 4, finishing with Causeway Bay at the bottom of the table with 0 points.