Krohn urges Hong Kong not to squander opportunity
From ALVIN SALLAY in Johannesburg
HONG KONG captain Stuart Krohn has pleaded with his side not to let slip the once-in-a-lifetime chance of playing in the game's most prestigious tournament - the World Cup.
At the post-Test match dinner held by the Namibian Rugby Union, Krohn, when called upon to give his customary speech, used the opportunity to ask his side for their full commitment for another two months.
''We have the dream of playing at the World Cup still within our reach. Let's not lose it,'' said Krohn.
''Look at Namibia as an example. They had the chance and they lost it. Speak to their players and feel what it is like to miss out on the World Cup. Please guys, let's give it our best shot, and take this chance,'' added Krohn.
Namibia played in the African World Cup qualifiers in June in Casablanca, but although they were one of the pre-tournament favourites, they failed to qualify.
Hong Kong's chance to qualify comes in October when the territory play in the Asian Rugby Football Tournament in Malaysia. The winner of this tournament will win the chance to represent Asia in the World Cup in South Africa next May. Hong Kong's main dangers will come from South Korea and Japan.
The four-game tour of South Africa and Namibia ended on Wednesday night with the territory losing their first game, being beaten 22-12 by Namibia.
But although defeat was more a case of Hong Kong losing the game, than Namibia winning, Krohn was optimistic of the future.
''While we wanted to get a winning habit going, the defeat has just highlighted our weaknesses. Looking at the bigger picture, it is better to lose now and learn, than lose in October,'' said Krohn.
Reflecting on the whole tour afterwards, Krohn said that overall, he was pleased with the way the build-up was proceeding.
''The positive things to come out of this tour is that we have established a pattern of play. Everyone now understands what his role is in the team. And most importantly we have improved our discipline on the field.
''Our composure as a team has improved and we are now bonding together. Our commitment to winning is also good, but we have to still work on that,'' added Krohn.
He said the two-week tour had helped build up a strong and healthy team spirit.
''On tour, there is a supportive environment. When someone plays badly we know what is happening and the problem can be rectified immediately. When we get back to Hong Kong our biggest problem will be that the team will get together only once a week.
''It is up to the individual now to be responsible and take it upon himself to train daily and remain committed,'' said Krohn. ''What we have done on tour is instil a spirit. This has been instilled into the core of the team, but there are always some guys who can go astray.'' The Hong Kong team leave Johannesburg today.
and will arrive in the territory tomorrow afternoon.