Dingley all smiles as HK thump visitors
THE hired band began playing Tina Turner's anthem of victory 'Simply the Best' after Hong Kong trounced the United States 43-25 yesterday to keep their Pacific Rim rugby union championship record clean.
Two wins out of two and captain Paul Dingley was smiling when asked if the singer belting out the hit at the Aberdeen Stadium was paying tribute to his side's performance so far in the home-and-away series.
'I hope so. We are very happy that all our hard work and training is paying off. I said we would be going for an emphatic win against the Americans and try to get the bonus point . . . and we achieved it,' said Dingley.
A five-try romp by Hong Kong saw them collect the extra point being awarded for teams who score four tries or more in the Pac Rim this season. Every point will matter as Hong Kong - who moved to the top of the standings after the second round - aim to win the tournament for the first time.
Everything is going to plan.
Last week the victims were Canada. Yesterday it was their North American cousins. Last week it was left winger Luke Nabaro who grabbed the glory. Yesterday it was Chris Gordon on the other wing who got the almost-compulsory brace of tries.
Not that Nabaro was feeling left out. He capped Hong Kong's outing with the last try scored midway through the second half to give the home team a 43-13 lead.
Centre Roger Leeson, who had an exemplary game, and skipper and No 8 Dingley also got their names on the scoresheet with tries either side of half-time. Flyhalf Yates was once again on the mark with the boot, putting over three conversions and four penalties.
The Americans began with a lot of oomph, lost the plot midway and then came back with three tries after Hong Kong relaxed with the game in the bag.
The killer blow came in the 30th minute of the first half when American flyhalf Matt Alexander, re-starting the game after Hong Kong had put over their second penalty, kicked the ball out of touch.
From the ensuing scrum on the halfway, halfback Stephen Kidd worked the huge blindside. Fullback Vaughan Going coming up, created the overlap for winger Gordon who had an unobstructed 50-metre run to the tryline. American fullback Andre Blom, his only obstacle, lost his footing and Gordon just motored merrily past him for what must have been the easiest try in his career.
The replay button was hit moments later. Another scrum in the same position, and Kidd worked the blindside again. This time Going cleverly slipped the ball inside to Dingley who spotted the gap and covered 45 metres to deal another massive blow.
Hong Kong played good percentage rugby, keeping play as much as possible in their opponents' half, and the solid defence - with flanker John Gordon and centre Nigel D'Acre outstanding - earned the turnovers. The result was never in doubt.
Simply the best? At the moment Hong Kong are certainly better than all the rest.
China hammered the Hong Kong Dragons 67-3 in the curtain-raiser yesterday.
The Chinese national team scored 11 tries.