Pressure cooker: Hong Kong coach Leigh Jones calls for more tours after Nairobi belting
Visitors fail to execute basic skills as match-hardened Kenyans outmuscle and outrun Hong Kong on the way to a 34-10 triumph
Hong Kong coach Leigh Jones has called for more overseas tours after his side were exposed under intense Kenyan pressure in a 34-10 loss in Nairobi last night.
Hong Kong had players missing, blooded youth and went in with a lack of match practice, but their inability to execute basic tackles and passes in the one-off test showed there is a long road ahead.
“It’s important we play against strong opposition away from home and learn to cope with the pressure,” Jones said.
“The step up is just too much for them and it just forces a large number of errors. We need more fixtures like this to improve. It’s pointless playing in our backyard... against teams that send their second team to Hong Kong.”
The final score flattered Hong Kong, with Kenya taking the gas off late and the majority of the damage done in the first hour.
Hong Kong lacked continuity and gave the ball away on a number of occasions as the home side streaked to a 34-3 lead.
“We struggled to put any constructive phases together and I think they scored three or four tries as a result of us turning the ball over,” Jones said.
“You just can’t afford to do that at this level or you get punished and that was the case.”
In what was, according to Jones, part of Hong Kong’s “pre-season”, a match-hardened Kenya who finished second in the recent Africa Cup ran the visitors ragged.
Hong Kong where outmuscled by the home side, who opened the scoring with a successful penalty in the third minute.
First-half tries to prop Joseph Kang’ethe and the electric Tony Onyango put Kenya in charge at 20-0 and the visitors had to wait until the shadows of half-time to register their first points - a Matt Rosslee penalty.
Tough game for the visitors!!! Hong Kong going down to Kenya 10-34 https://t.co/H80BKihIgU
— HKRU (@HongKongRugby) August 27, 2016
Outside centre Rosslee was serviceable on debut and will be better for the run, also adding a conversion.
Kenya ran in another two tries early in the second half, before a yellow card allowed Hong Kong to work in to the game.
After a sustained attacking push, first-gamer Hugo Stiles crossed in one of the few highlights for his side.
Liam Owens, also on debut, looked lively early, Matt Lamming was busy and Alexander Post, Mike Parfitt and Joey Cheung Ho-yin took to the field to earn their first caps.
“On a positive note, it was great to expose the youngsters to it and they learnt some harsh lessons and will get better from it,” Jones said.
“You can never fault the effort but it’s just about getting the accuracy under pressure.”