Classy Hong Kong launch defence of Asian U19s crown with 11-try romp over Taiwan
Teenage “veterans” Matt Worley and Hugo Chui Ho-ching each scored a brace as two-time defending champions Hong Kong delivered an 11-try masterclass of running rugby in crushing Taiwan 78-12 on Sunday at the Asia Rugby U19 Championship in Singapore.
Nine Hong Kong players got across the line against the third seeds with fly-half Hugo Stiles amassing an impressive 25 points from a near-perfect 10 conversions and a try.
The bonus-point victory saw the Hong Kong Rugby Union squad move quickly to the top of the standings above Sri Lanka, who later recorded a 27-12 bonus-point win over third-placed Singapore, and Taiwan.
The winners of the Singapore tournament automatically qualify to represent Asia at Zimbabwe 2016 – next year’s edition of the World Rugby U20 Trophy.
The Taiwanese 15 had no answer for Hong Kong in the sodden conditions at Yio Chu Kang Stadium, conceding six tries and 42 points before half-time.
The first half became the Stiles and Worley show as the pair combined to give Hong Kong a 14-0 lead after just five minutes, with the first of Worley’s brace coming off the kick-off when he capitalised on some poor defence to touch down in the corner.
And a stylish half-break from Stiles minutes later put Worley through for his second.
That set the tone for the opening half as tries came at regular intervals over the next half hour. Winger Austin Robertshaw, lock Alex Horne, winger Chui and lock Cheung Ho-yin all added tries before the break to put the game out of Taiwan’s reach.
Worley opened the second half with a drop goal that was soon followed by Chui’s second try of the match.
Replacement forward Jonathan Healy added another in the 52nd minute, just seconds after coming on off the bench, while Ben Schats and Mak Kwai-ching scored late tries on either side of a well-deserved try from fly-half Stiles who commanded Hong Kong’s offensive performance with style.
Taipei responded gamely in the second half, resisting the Hong Kong onslaught for long periods and scoring two tries in the final quarter, both from scrums deep in Hong Kong territory.
Hong Kong play last year’s runners-up Sri Lanka on Wednesday in what should prove the toughest challenge of the tournament, before taking on Singapore in the final round on Saturday.