Super Saturday promises a try-fest as clubs begin run-in to Grand Championship
Societe Generale Valley have already wrapped up the league title with a third of HKRU Premiership matches still to be played, but that isn’t slowing the other top-flight clubs facing off in this weekend’s final Super Saturday triple-header.
With second place still being hotly contested and teams jostling to secure a top-four finish to reach the Grand Championship play-offs, coaches are promising a try-fest at Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday afternoon.
Leighton Asia HKCC coach Deacon Manu is clear-eyed about what still remains to be done if his side are to return to the Grand Final for a third successive year.
“Valley are well clear on the table at present so it’s becoming a fight for second place. Those spots look like they can change week in and week out, so the next month of the season is going to be vital to secure points,” he said.
HKCC have been boosted by the return of Hong Kong prop Jack Nielsen and are showing some resurgent form after winning three of their last four games, but a rash of injuries sees eight players unavailable for HKCC’s clash with Bloomberg HK Scottish.
With key playmakers Angus Cameron, Matt Lamming and Tom McQueen all out of the running, Manu concedes the challenge will be significant – and potentially very exciting.
“Scottish play an expansive game like us, so Saturday’s match could see a lot of tries,” he said. “They have some big ball carriers and we’re expecting a very tough match.”
HK Scottish will look to build on their winning start to the year following last week’s 20-11 victory over Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers.
“We’re looking to find some consistency after the win last weekend. It was a scrappy victory but a win is a win,” HK Scottish GM Bryan Rennie said.
“We’re looking forward to this match with HKCC riding high off some good wins. We know they will be up for it.”
Immediately following the Super Saturday opener between HKCC and HK Scottish, runaway leaders Valley will be hoping to continue their perfect 10-0 winning run when they face USRC Tigers.
That will be followed by the late game between Natixis HKFC and Sabre Kowloon with the home side aiming to halt a recent string of reversals as they mount a bid to climb into the top four.
“This is a tough game and a must-win for us, really,” said HKFC coach Phil Bailey. “We’re coming off three losses and need to nail this one.
“We’ve not been creating enough opportunities [but] have put ourselves in poor position on the field too often this season, putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure. Even so we have been in the hunt in every game it just comes down to executing that final pass under pressure,” he said.
The 10th round of the HKRU Women’s Premiership will be played Saturday with third-placed USRC Tigers at King’s Park against CPM Gai Wu Falcons who are one place and 10 points above them in the league standings.
Both teams have shown they can score at will this season but Gai Wu’s more robust defence has been the deciding factor in keeping them close on the tail of leaders Valley Black Ladies.
Valley Black will face SCAA First Pacific CWB Phoenix at Shek Kip Mei on Saturday, while HKFC Ice tackle winless Transact 24 Tai Po Dragon Ladies at KGV.