Hong Kong defeat UAE in Emirates Airline Cup
Captain McColl says his team far from perfect despite scoring 51 points against UAE
Hong Kong stayed unbeaten and will meet Belgium in a winners-take-all clash on Friday after dispatching hosts United Arab Emirates 51-6 in the Emirates Airline Cup of Nations yesterday.
Centre Stewart Megaw touched down twice as Hong Kong ran in eight tries to ease through to a comfortable win against the minnows in the four-nation rugby tournament. But despite the try glut, skipper Tom McColl was unsatisfied, saying Hong Kong had not fired on all cylinders.
"It's good to get a win, but we didn't execute everything we wanted to," said McColl.
"We did string a few phases together, but at times we couldn't hold on to our ball due to lapses in concentration."
Despite starting with a number of key players on the bench, Hong Kong got quickly into stride when scrumhalf Kenneth Hsieh, the smallest man on the field, spotted a gap and ran 20 metres untouched to score by the post.
Hong Kong led 32-6 at the break with further tries to Sebastian Alfonsi, Ian Ridgeway, Megaw and Nick Hewson. Megaw completed his double, and tries to Salom Yiu Kam-shing and Alex Baddeley with flyhalf Mike Glancy adding four conversions and a penalty saw Hong Kong cross the half-century mark. But at least half a dozen chances were lost.
"We need to work on our composure. We were too eager to score tries and it cost us," McColl said.
It has been a harsh entry for UAE into the realms of world rugby. Having served an apprenticeship of one season after being divorced from the former Arabian Gulf, a collection of all the seven emirates, the UAE were handed full membership on the International Rugby Board only a fortnight ago.
Three days ago, they were thrashed 94-3 by Belgium in their first international game since getting an official world ranking - 96 - and things did not get any better against Hong Kong.
"If someone had asked me if I would settle for a 50-something scoreline before the game, I would have said yes. It is certainly better than getting 90 points posted on us. We saw a marked improvement out there tonight," said UAE coach Duncan Hall.
Meanwhile Belgium, the top-ranked team in the tournament, also remained unbeaten with an unconvincing 28-11 victory over Zimbabwe in a scrappy game.