Hong Kong’s senior domestic competition is organised by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and features the city’s top six clubs – DeA Tigers, Hong Kong Scottish, HKCC, HKFC, Kowloon and Valley.
Referee Gabriel Lee apologises for scoring error
Hong Kong Scottish kicked for touch to end the game after ref told them they were ahead against Newedge Club
Referee Gabriel Lee Wing-yi has apologised for her blunder last weekend, which led to Hong Kong Scottish kicking for touch to end the game in a mistaken belief they were beating Newedge Club.
Club beat Scottish 23-21 after Lee had told the Scottish players they were leading, resulting in substitute scrum half Carl Robertson kicking the ball into touch. Scottish celebrations were cut short when they realised what the correct score was and they had lost the Broony Quaich.
"Gabi fully accepts responsibility for her error and has apologised for the situation that was created," said Vern Reid, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union chief executive. "Overall the referee controlled the game well and both the HKRFU and the [Referees] Society were happy with her performance."
An investigation into the confusion was undertaken by the HKRFU on Monday, headed by Dai Rees, head of technical development and performance, and the Hong Kong Referees Society. They came to the conclusion that Lee had made a recording error early in the game and this error was carried through until the end of the match.
"This led to the confusion between some players and coaches of both teams," Reid said. "She has apologised and no more action will be taken."
Lee (pictured) has represented Hong Kong with distinction at IRB women's world cups.
Referees were also in the spotlight last month when they staged an unprecedented strike after referee's manager Bernie Fienberg was dismissed, forcing all lower division games to be cancelled.
"Clubs have been urged to show greater respect to the referees and are always told that the referee's decision is final, which includes the score that they give you. Usually in a game where there are only tries then it is easy to keep track, but with Danny [Kroll] kicking a number of penalties and drop goals, it can be hard to keep track as a player of the exact score," said Dave Whiteford, Hong Kong Scottish general manager and fullback.
"I must commend our players though for acting with class at the end of the match as it was a hard pill to swallow, especially given the fact we relinquished the Quaich, which we were determined to hold on to over the summer."
Hong Kong Scottish remain favourites to claim the fourth and final play-off spot in the Grand Championship as they come up against bottom-placed Borrelli Walsh Tigers on Saturday.