Campese takes positives in defeat

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 March, 2011, 12:00am

Despite falling short in yesterday's GFI HKFC Tens Cup final, BGC Asia Pacific Barbarians coach David Campese sees a bright future for the all-star invitational side with plans to reach out further across the region.

Even with the likes of recently retired Australia legend George Gregan in their all-star ranks, the Barbarians fell just short of overhauling a two-try half-time deficit as Hong Kong's Tradition Valley held on to post a 28-24 victory built on a first-half brace from tournament leading try-scorer Pita Ahki.

But with the annual Hong Kong Football Club event the first outing for the Barbarians, who are drawn together from across the Asia Pacific region and included several World Cup winners as well as current and former national team captains in their inaugural squad, Campese is confident the team will grow with plans for a 15-a-side game in London as well as sevens outings in the future.

'It was a great game. We were down 28-7 and to get back to 28-24 was great. We have got so much talent available from all parts of the region and it gives an opportunity for these guys to play alongside Christian Cullen and George Gregan, this is the whole idea of the Asia Pacific Barbarians and hopefully they will go back and spread the word,' said Campese, who scored 64 tries in 101 caps for Australia.

'The hardest thing is this team has set a very high standard, so the next team has a lot to live up to. We are looking for a game soon using the nucleus of this team and we will try and get some other players in from maybe Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and China.'

After downing top seeds and last year's beaten Cup finalists Samurai 15-5 in the quarter-finals, the cosmopolitan Tradition Valley, who were made up of players who recently were crowned 2010/11 G4S Domestic League Grand Champions along with a host of invitational players, outclassed Malaysia's Borneo Eagles 31-0 to earn their place in the final thanks to braces from Ahki and Rocky Khan.

'We stepped up a level every game and played to our strengths,' said Tradition Valley captain Kane Hancy, who maintained his 100 per cent GFI HKFC Tens record with a third Cup victory in three attempts.

'The players in the Barbarians team are players we idolised when we were younger and it was so good playing against them. It just shows their composure to come back at the end, but our guys stuck in there.'

Elsewhere, Mike McKee scored four tries in the Bowl final as Hong Kong Rugby Football Union G4S League champions Newedge Club beat Champion Systems Overseas Old Boys 49-19.

In the Plate, Australian Country Invitational edged out the all-aboriginal Glen Ella coached Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team to win the final with a hard-fought 10-7 victory.

'We knew the first day was going to be hard, you have got some tough opposition, but I just said to the guys lets re-gather on Thursday morning and lets win some silverware and I can't ask for anything more,' said Newedge Club coach Rob Naylor.

'Mike McKee is an outstanding player. He is usually a fullback but I put him in at scrumhalf and he shone through, four tries in a final is great.'