HK get their act together in Bowl
By DONAL SCULLY
MIXED feelings were the order of the day for Hong Kong's victorious team.
Even as they celebrated winning the Bowl in emphatic style, beating Papua New Guinea 45-7, players and officials were ruing the failures of the first day's competition when they blew a chance for Cup qualification and ended up missing out on the second string Plate, too. Team captain Rodney McIntosh felt lack of sevens experience was the undoing. 'We have a nucleus of guys who have played to a good standard,' he said.
'What we need is regular, hard competition. If a new sponsorship deal comes off we will be able to play sevens games once a month. We could really benefit from fixtures with the likes of South Korea and Japan.' At least the territory got it right in the Bowl with three solid, if uninspired displays.
'What we said before the competition was that we were worthy to be Cup contenders,' said McIntosh. 'To re-inforce that belief we felt we had to go out and win all the games by at least 30 points.' That's exactly what they did, crushing Singapore 40-0 in the quarter-final and Kwang-Hua Taipei 33-0 in the semi before completing their second successive Bowl final triumph.
PNG had progressed equally impressively, seeing off Malaysia 42-0, then Thailand 40-0.
'In the final we got our pattern going and kept our composure. We took the ball wide, got people doubling around and our passes were going to hand whereas yesterday we just didn't connect,' said McIntosh. The weekend marked a personal triumph for McIntosh who had undergone intensive surgery on his left knee three months ago.
He proved his fitness throughout the competition but most spectacularly in the final when he made a thumping tackle on Robert Sio, PNG's livewire runner who was threatening a break.
From the recovered ball Will Wild was set up in the left hand corner to make the score 19-0.
'I enjoyed that tackle,' said McIntosh. 'I'd been watching that guy [Sio] all the game because he's dangerous. I wouldn't say that moment was the highlight for me, though. What makes me happy is getting some silverware and being in one piece.' Wild was one of three Hong Kong players to score two tries, the others being Isi Tu'Ivai and the impressive Mark Solomon. Vaughan Going completed the try count and Stephen Kidd made five of the conversion attempts. PNG's late consolation score was touched down from on his own kick ahead by Morea Kauna.