HK flyhalf's injury adds pain before S Korea game
Playmaker Keith Robertson has plenty to worry about as Hong Kong prepare to take on South Korea in the HSBC Asian Five Nations Top Five tournament on Saturday.
The flyhalf, who is also the No1 goal-kicker in the team, is nursing a shoulder injury that has still eluded diagnosis by the medical staff.
And if this isn't enough of a problem, his goal-kicking was wayward in last Saturday's 85-10 rout of the United Arab Emirates in the opening game in Dubai.
Both issues are a worry for Robertson (pictured) and the team management as they come up against South Korea, who are a bit of an unknown quantity, having been relegated from the Top Five competition last season.
'I have a sharp pain in my right shoulder, just below my shoulder blade. I have done an X-ray but we still can't find out what is wrong and I will have to do an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]. It is annoying ... I can't lift my arm above my shoulder,' Robertson said.
He injured himself in a tackle in the first five minutes against UAE. This might have been a reason why the normally reliable scorer missed three out of seven kicks.
Alex McQueen, who took over the kicking duties in the second half after Robertson was withdrawn, missed four conversions. Those missed attempts amounted to 14 points.
'We kicked poorly against UAE. We need to sort this part of our game quickly. It didn't matter against UAE, but those points will be crucial against teams like Korea and Japan,' said Dai Rees, national coach and Hong Kong Rugby Football Union's head of performance.
Robertson agreed his kicking had been poor, but refused to blame it on his injury. 'I could happily use that as an excuse but ... I don't think that was the reason,' he said. 'I have changed my style a little bit and I think I will have to work on it a bit more.'
Against UAE, Robertson was placing the ball on the kicking tee almost parallel to the ground. It might be a coincidence, but McQueen does it the same way.
'It helps with the alignment and I have been trying this out,' Robertson said. 'Alex has been kicking like this all his life and I don't think the placement of the ball has anything to do with it.'
Robertson's hope of working on his kicking has been stymied so far by his injury. He missed Monday night's training session, but is hopeful the MRI scan today can identify his problem.
'I hope the pain goes away and I will be fit and ready by Saturday,' Robertson said.
If not, Hong Kong could start with Jamie Hood in the flyhalf slot. Hood was on the mark, knocking over two from two after coming on as a late substitution against UAE.