15 Jan 2020

Societe Generale Valley’s 28-5 win over Gai Wu Falcons in the penultimate round leaves them 80 minutes away from an undefeated season with Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers lying in wait as the KPMG Premiership league hunt comes to an exciting close this Saturday.

Falcons will likely finish in third place after slipping behind Tigers, whose 42-0 win over Natixis HKFC brought them to 15 points, seven off Valley and six ahead of Gai Wu, ahead of their top of the table clash on Saturday. It will be a disappointing league campaign by their own lofty standards, one hampered by an inability to field a first choice side for much of the season through injury and player availability issues.

Coach Lai Yiu-pang’s side will now focus their energies on forcing their way into the grand final for the first time since a memorable win over Valley in 2018.

The result in the two team’s final league meeting left enough for both sides to take away hope, as Valley dispatched a top threat with relative ease, extending their win streak to 11 since October, while Falcons can take heart from a lively first half against the league’s best side.

They trailed Valley 7-5 after a charged opening half. Olivia Coady scored first after seven minutes in an ominous start for the league leaders with Zoe Smith adding the conversion, but Gai Wu’s influential prop Lau Nga-wun continued an outstanding season for the depleted Falcons with a late try to bring the score to 7-5 after the missed conversion.

Yellow cards against Riva Brill and Chloe Chan showed Gai Wu’s needling capabilities, but added fuel to the fire as Valley stormed back with 21 unanswered points in a dominant second half started with another early try, this time to wing Rebecca Thompson in the 43rd minute, to make it 14-5 before Law Cheuk-laam and Chloe Chan closed out the final quarter with scores. 

Lai focused on the positives of the outing, saying, “It’s always hard to come back from a long break, but I was pleased with our first half. We made mistakes but we fought back. We couldn’t maintain those levels in the second half and made too many errors, and they grabbed all of those chances.

 “I’m really pleased with how the younger girls played, particularly early on. They proved that they can play with a team like Valley, so now we need to expect and demand more from them.

“We didn’t pick up any more injuries and are fortunate to have a few more players coming back this weekend, which will give them some game time before the grand championships. We can try different combinations and see what may work best for the team going into next week,” said Lai.

As in 2018, he knows that it is all down to positioning for the finals push now.

“All we need in the grand championships is a single chance. We lost to Tigers and Valley in the league and we can’t erase that. What we need now is belief from everyone and an extra two percent out of every individual will make a massive difference.” 

The action in the KPMG Premiership A race is also heating up after Kerry Hotel Kowloon beat Bloomberg HK Scottish 24-10 to edge ahead in the league title race by a single point over SCAA First Pacific Causeway Bay despite their blanking of Transact24 Tai Po Dragons 29-0.

Kowloon now hold a bonus point advantage over Causeway Bay 20-19 with the last game of the season on Saturday being a winner take all affair at King’s Park.