WINNERS KEEP STRANGLEHOLD ON PREMIERSHIP LEAGUE AFTER ROUND 5

Scorpions beat Vipers 24-7 in first ever Women’s Premiership Super Series match

01 Nov 2015


Societe Generale Valley, USRC Borrelli Walsh Tigers and Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish all dispatched their opponents today to keep the Hong Kong Rugby Union’s Men’s Premiership leader board static after Round 5.

Valley kept their grip on the top of the table after beating Natixis Hong Kong Football Club 22-15, making them the Premiership’s only undefeated side with a perfect record of five wins and no losses. In other Premiership matches, second-placed Tigers dispatched Leighton Asia Hong Kong Cricket Club 22-15, while Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish edged Sabre Kowloon 6-3 in Shek Kip Mei.

The tie at Hong Kong Football Club proved an entertaining exchange in a day of taut match-ups. Valley enjoyed the better start with scrumhalf Adam Rolston giving his side an early lead with a penalty in the ninth minute before dynamic flanker Toby Fenn extended the margin with a first-half brace of tries in the 26th and 33rd minutes to push Valley out to a 15-0 lead at halftime.

The second half saw an inspired performance by the hosts as Football Club, under new coach Phil Bailey, came out breathing fire. Despite its perfect record this season, Valley has had sustained periods where they failed to gel as a fifteen - and the start of the second half was the latest occurrence of this trend.

The sustained HKFC pressure and Valley’s lapses in concentration soon gave the Sports Road outfit a way back into the match. From the outset of the second half, Football Club exerted some real pressure on the Valley defence and managed to string together sustained periods of both possession and territory.

The effort paid off as Club methodically worked the ball deep into Valley territory shortly after the re-start, recycling phase ball well to put centre Ben Axten-Burrett across the line beneath the posts without being touched. The conversion made it an eight point match with 30 minutes remaining as Football Club trailed 7-15.

Football Club maintained their pressure and picked up added momentum when flanker Fenn subbed off for Valley. Club were again able to maintain the ball in hand and pressurise the Valley defence, soon resulting in a second try from in close, this time with HKFC flyhalf Jamie Lauder emerging from the pile to narrow the deficit to three points at 15-12.

As was the case in the HKCC match two weeks ago, Valley seemed to only truly awaken to the situation when their lead was threatened. With no margin for error, Valley regrouped impressively in-match, and successfully took some of the pace out of the game while reverting to a back-to-basics approach.

With the ship steadied, it was Football Club’s turn to hold off the onslaught for the final ten minutes. Eventually, Valley winger Dave Vainqueur broke through the to that point solid Football Club defensive line, to race away for a 40-metre try, putting Valley ahead 22-12 after Ben Rimene’s conversion from the touch line was successful.

Moments later, Valley sealed the win with No.8 Thomas Lamboley crossing over from in close. Rimene’s final conversion attempt hit the posts, but Valley emerged with a 27-12 win, a final margin that flattered the visitors.

Post-match, Valley coach Jack Isaac was pleased with the result, noticing improvement from his side over last week’s chequered performance against Kowloon. “We knew Football Club would come into this match with some momentum after their win last week, so we were braced for that. I thought we put in a good first forty minutes which was pleasing, but we got a bit off track in the second half. Ultimately, we were able to regroup and pull away late,” said Isaac.

Valley’s four tries were enough to secure their first bonus point win of the season as they top the table on 21 points ahead of “no longer” surprise package Tigers who are 4-1 on the season with 16 points. They lead third-placed Hong Kong Scottish (3-2) by one point in the standings. Football Club improve to nine points from a two wins, three losses record while HKCC are in fifth place on seven points after their fourth straight loss. Bottom-ranked Kowloon picked up their second consecutive bonus point as they continue to home in on their first win of the season.

In the HKRU Women’s Premiership, Scorpions beat Vipers, 24-7, at Kings Park to claim bragging rights for the first win of the newly launched HKRU Women’s Premiership Super Series.

Captained by Chow Mei Nam, Scorpions proved too strong on the day, although the Colleen Tjosvold-led Vipers managed to regroup well after trailing 19-7 at halftime, conceding only five points after the break.

The Super Series has been launched to provide an opportunity for performance players to compete in a domestic representative 15-a-side competition. The aim is to bridge the gap between Club and International rugby and to identify performance players for the future. Their will be two additional Super Series rounds this season as the HKRU focuses on enhancing its strength in women’s fifteens.

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