GFI HKFC Tens 2016

Former All Black Jimmy Cowan adds star power to Asia-Pacific Dragons at HKFC Tens

Kiwis Carl Hayman and Isaac Ross will also appear for the champion side at next week’s event

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 March, 2016, 3:07pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 April, 2016, 12:33am

Former All Blacks Jimmy Cowan, Carl Hayman and Isaac Ross will star for the BGC Asia-Pacific Dragons (APDs) at next week’s GFI HKFC Tens as the side bid for a third successive Cup title and a fourth overall.

I played in the Bledisloe Cup in Hong Kong twice and scored a try in the second match, so hopefully I can contribute again this time
Former All Black Jimmy Cowan

Cowan is looking forward to his return to Hong Kong, where he played for New Zealand against Australia in the 2008 and 2010 Bledisloe Cups, scoring a try in the latter.

The 34-year-old scrum-half will make his HKFC Tens debut just two months after representing the APDs against Australian Super Rugby side Western Force in a 15-a-side pre-season match in Perth, where Ross was among his teammates.

“It’s great to be playing at the 10s for the first time. This is a big year for us, as we played Western Force in February and in June we play the World Club 10s in Mauritius,” said Cowan, who was part of New Zealand’s World Cup-winning team in 2011.

“Isaac also played against the Force and I played with Carl in the All Blacks, so it will be great to team up with them in Hong Kong, as everyone’s vying for spots to be on the plane to Mauritius.

“Obviously there’s the added pressure at Hong Kong Football Club as we are defending champions, but we’re looking forward to the challenge and it looks like we’ve got a good squad.

“I played in the Bledisloe Cup in Hong Kong twice and scored a try in the second match, so hopefully I can contribute again this time. I’m looking forward to going back.”

Cowan won 51 caps for the All Blacks and was still playing Super Rugby last year, for the Blues, having spent 10 years with the Highlanders and two seasons with Gloucester.

Ross, 31, played for Crusaders, Highlanders and Chiefs, and won eight caps before moving to Japan’s Top League in 2011.

Hayman established himself as one of the world’s best props while winning 45 caps from 2001 to 2007 before playing for Newcastle Falcons (2007-10) and Toulon (2010-15), helping the French giants win the European Champions Cup for the past three seasons.

The APDs squad also features four former 10s champions, including former Fiji scrumhalf Emosi Vucago, Tongan prop Sione Lea and flying wingers Joe Lilidamu and Shannon Chase.

Former Tonga centre Rocky Havili and North Harbour back rower Anthony Matoto, who has played for Tonga at the Hong Kong Sevens, are among the squad’s newcomers, along with young Fijian backs Avete Daveta, Aminio Nasera and Aseri Vatuinaruka.

Reuben Parkinson, the 42-year-old former Japan centre who played at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, is the successor to former head coach Tana Umaga, who guided the APDs to their titles in 2012, 2014 and 2015.