Club romp 'reeks of gamesmanship'
HKCC coach questions 100-point win over second-stringers
Synovate HKCC coach Richard Cooke has cast doubts over the bona fides of rival CBRE Club's massive 100-0 win over second stringers Club Dragons, saying 'team orders' must have played a part in the lop-sided result.
Football Club who are in a race with HKCC for the First Division League title - to be decided on Monday night - routed their sister-side Dragons on Thursday night, running in 16 tries in a one-sided match.
'It is like Formula One racing with the Ferrari bosses ordering Rubens Barrichello to pull over and allow Michael Schumacher to win,' said a sceptical Cooke. 'We knew this was going to happen, but not to such a degree.'
Cooke was referring to the infamous incident at the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix when Ferrari ordered Barrichello to move over and allow teammate Schumacher to pass so that the latter could clinch the F1 drivers' title.
The huge win lifted Club to the top of the standings on 58 points. HKCC are second on 54 points and need to defeat DeA Tigers at King's Park on Monday, along with a bonus point (by scoring four tries), to clinch the title for a second successive year. If they beat DeA, but fail to secure a bonus point, both teams will finish tied on 58 points with Club declared champions due to a superior point's differential - boosted by the 100-0 victory.
'What can I say,' replied Cooke when asked for his comments on the result. 'Or maybe Club got their act together and all their training paid off,' he said, tongue firmly in cheek. Cooke, who was not present at the match, added: 'Our task is now simple. We need to win with a bonus point. This has always been our target.'
Hong Kong Rugby Football Union executive director Allan Payne said he was a bit taken aback by the large margin of victory. 'Whenever the two Club teams play each other, it is always a very tough and hard match. I'm not quite sure what happened,' Payne said yesterday.
In the first round, Club defeated Dragons 34-20. But on Thursday night, they ran in tries from all parts of the field. Centre Nigel D'Acre top-scored with 35 points, including a hat-trick of tries. Hooker Tom Cameron and scrumhalf Simon Aird also scored hat-tricks while the other tries were scored by Luke How (2), Charlie Braizer (2), Duncan Robertson, Andrew Chambers and Jack Wilson.
Although reduced to cannon-fodder, Club captain Cameron denied that the Dragons had thrown the towel in and just made up the numbers. 'They were struggling with injuries and had to call up players from the lower divisions, including the Scorpions and Select,' said Cameron.
'We would have loved to have played touch and not get injured, especially with the Grand Championship coming along. But they came out firing and it was a hard game. But in the end we were fitter and played a more structured game than them,' Cameron said.
According to Robbie McRobbie, HKRFU community manager, it was the first time that the 100 point mark had been breached since Police defeated Aberdeen by a similar scoreline 12 years ago.
Bernie Fienberg, the HKRFU's referee's development officer, who was running touch added: 'The Dragons tried hard. They were down to 14 men towards the end.'
HKCC captain Mike Meredith said the fate of the league was still in the hands of his side. 'At the end of the day, Club scoring 100 points doesn't really matter. We need to go out there and win, and score four tries,' he said.