Clifford Chance Aliens, a team made up entirely of New Zealanders but based in Japan, won a gritty final 12-5 against Herbert Smith New Zealand Metro to lift the Cup competition at the PCCW Tens tournament last night at Sports Road.
The Aliens were down 5-0 at the half-time interval after Sensus Johnstone scored for the defending champions six minutes into the game, but the Aliens came back with a bang with Mark Camburn scoring a sensational try and Jason Tiatia converting to give the side a 7-5 lead seven minutes into the second half. And Tamasi Komomau scored a last-minute try to make the result beyond doubt for the Aliens.
In a tightly contested final, the Aliens ensured the Cup stays in the hands of the Kiwis for a fourth straight year. It was no surprise to see an all-Kiwi final in the 2004 edition as Aliens prevented Metro from winning back-to-back titles.
Aliens coach William Lose praised his charges for a job well done as the club left their best performance for last to topple the defending champions, who had looked powerful heading into the final. 'I knew we had lost nothing, even when we were 5-0 down at the interval,' said Lose. 'We did most of the defending and at half-time I told my players we needed to play field positions and we needed to get into their half.
'I knew if we spent a bit more time there, we would score. We haven't got any weaknesses and it was all about the squad's performance tonight. I was not really thinking we would be behind at any stage. It was never won until that second try was scored [by Komomau].'
Lose then gave special mention to the feisty Komomau, saying : 'Tamasi Komomau was absolutely amazing because he was injured two minutes before he scored the try and he had cramps, but still ran to score the try.'
Metro captain Paul Tupai was disappointed with the result, but pleased his teammates had given their all in the final.
'It was really the bounce of the ball and it wasn't really which team was better. It was just a game of rugby and it has been a good tournament overall for us,' said Tupai 'We were penalised on our attack when we tried to get back into the game [by the referee midway through the second half]. I thought the penalty went the wrong way. It's just a game of rugby and at the end of the day we made it through to the final.
'It has been an awesome tournament and Hong Kong has been great and we will be back next year,' he said.
Metro booked their final place by defeating RHK Samurais 17-0 in a repeat of last year's semi-finals. Spectators expecting a tough, physical match got just that as Metro went straight to work by scoring two quick tries in succession inside four minutes. It was a lead Metro never surrendered as Samurais, try as they might, failed to close the gap with Metro's backs working overtime.
Metro pipped Samurais by two points last year, but Metro always had the upper hand this time in a tight and physically bruising encounter.
Aliens had a tougher match after seeing off Legends in the other semi-final in another physically draining match that saw the Aliens prevail 13-5.
Hong Kong had success in the tournament by winning the Bowl competition after RSM DeA Tigers defeated IC Frith Irish 22-7 in the final.
The Tigers drew first blood and never looked back as they kept their opposition at bay with a solid performance to give the local First Division side an end-of-season boost.
Another local side, Zurich Hong Kong Barbarians, appeared in the final of the Plate competition, but found Standard Life Asia Scorpions from England too strong as they went down 14-24 in the final.
The Scorpions won the Plate for the second time since 2002 when they defeated the Hong Kong Barbarians in the final.