Hooker thrilled at the chance to represent HK, just like his father

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 April, 2012, 12:00am

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Lachlan Chubb was too busy playing with elder brother Duncan on the sidelines to remember their father turning out for Hong Kong. The brothers, tiny tots then, were having fun with a rugby ball, and so it was born - the love for the game which today sees Lachlan included in Hong Kong's squad for the HSBC Asian Five Nations.

His father, Morgan Chubb, was an uncompromising tighthead prop with a walrus-like moustache who played for Hong Kong between 1988 and 1992. Morgan also captained the territory 12 times. Lachlan, the only uncapped player in the 31-man squad named for the A5N, is a hooker and hopes to follow in his dad's footsteps by representing Hong Kong.

'Dad obviously introduced me to the game at a very young age but he never put any pressure on me to play or achieve at the game. He just wanted me to enjoy it, and not to bother with it if I didn't,' says the 22-year-old Lachlan. 'Unfortunately, I don't remember him playing here for Hong Kong, as I was involved playing one-on-one rugby with my brother.'

From the touchlines, Lachlan graduated to playing mini-rugby at Hong Kong Football Club when he was four. But two years later, his family returned to Australia where he grew up learning the finer points of the game at Coffs Harbour on the north coast of New South Wales.

'I started playing junior rugby for Coffs Harbour and continued until I was 19, representing my zone in the age groups since I was 13. I also represented north coast schools at the New South Wales All Schools championship in my last year at school and played my first game of first grade for Coffs when I was just 17,' relates Lachlan. In 2009, he was offered an opportunity to play for Nomads (now Hong Kong Scottish) in the Hong Kong Second Division, and he grabbed the opportunity to return to the place of his birth.

'That was when I decided I really wanted a shot at playing for Hong Kong, having been born here. I returned home after that season with Nomads and had a further season with Coffs Harbour before moving to the Gold Coast, where I played prior to my return to Hong Kong last year.'

On his return, to work for Compliance Asia, Lachlan joined his father's old club. But it was tough breaking into the established Hong Kong Football Club front row, especially with Club skipper Tom Bolland, who had taken over from the injured Steve Nolan, filling the hooker's position.

'I got few chances to play for the firsts and I spent the majority of last season playing for the Dragons [Club's second team] which was an up-and-down season. However, we finished with a solid win over a Causeway Bay side full of First Division players,' Lachlan said.

So it came as a huge surprise when he received an e-mail from Dai Rees, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union's head of performance, to join an extended training squad for the Asian Five Nations.

'I couldn't believe it. And when I found out that I was in the full A5N squad, I was shocked,' said Lachlan. 'I came back to Hong Kong with no expectations other than having a go [at getting into the Hong Kong squad].'

In the old days, when Morgan played, an annual Asian competition was not in existence. What was in place at the time was the biennial Asian Rugby Football Union championship. Most of Hong Kong's games were against neighbouring Taiwan, with battles against Japan and South Korea only taking place every two years.

It will be different for Lachlan. There is a structured competition taking place every year, with 2014 being extra-special as the A5N will then also double up as the World Cup qualifiers for Asia.

'My dream has always been to play rugby at the highest level I can, and to maybe, one day, play in a World Cup,' says Lachlan.

Morgan, who now races outrigger canoes for sport, declined to be interviewed for this article, saying it had nothing to do with him.

'My dad said it is my time now and it has nothing to do with me following in his footsteps. But he is thrilled that I will be playing for Hong Kong,' Lachlan smiles.

And who knows, perhaps Morgan might even turn up to watch his son from the sidelines.