Super Rugby’s Chiefs send powerful development squad to test Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Rugby Union on Monday welcomes the University of Waikato Chiefs development squad on a 10-day tour highlighted by a full 15-a-side match against the national team at Hong Kong Football Club this coming weekend.
The main fixture on Saturday will be a part of wider festivities at HKFC including the traditional annual Taipans clash.
The Chiefs return to Hong Kong following last year’s inaugural tour which marked the start of a strategic partnership between the Super Rugby side and the HKRU.
This time around, the visiting development team will train alongside Hong Kong’s national squad and members of the city’s wider development player pool. They will also visit the new Elite Training Centre at THEi, home of Hong Kong’s first professional 15-a-side elite rugby programme.
WATCH: Hong Kong front up against Chiefs development side in 2015:
“It is very exciting to welcome the Chiefs development squad as part of our growing partnership,” said Dai Rees, HKRU GM of rugby performance. “The past year has given both the Chiefs and HKRU the planning time and collaboration opportunities to fully maximise the elite development opportunities for both squads from the tour.
“The programme also allows Hong Kong’s rugby community to fully engage in the numerous community activities headed by the Chiefs throughout their stay.”
Saturday’s match, which kicks off at 15:45, will assist Hong Kong’s preparations for their Asia Rugby Championship matches against South Korea and Japan in May and June.
The Chiefs development players will also participate in HKRU community engagement coaching events together with players from Hong Kong’s youth and mini-rugby teams.
Last year’s Chiefs tour proved beneficial for the tourists and the hosts, with Hong Kong going on to capture second place in the Asia Rugby Championship after beating South Korea by a point (38-37) in the away leg at the Namdong Asiad Stadium in Incheon.
Following the tour, numerous Chiefs players were called up for senior duties as well as being selected into New Zealand’s victorious U20 side for the World Rugby Junior World Cup.
The 2016 visiting Chiefs development squad of 27 includes 17 players who took part in New Zealand’s ITM Cup competition last year. Chiefs winger Chase Tiatia and Super Rugby replacements Liam Polwart, Mitchell Brown and Monty Ioane are in the visiting squad.
Chiefs development touring squad 2016:
Aiden Ross (Bay of Plenty), Hiroya Sawai (Kobelco Steelers), Sefo Kautai (Waikato), Jeff Thwaites (BoP), Duke Nginingini (Waikato), Liam Polwart (BoP), Sekope Lopeti (Waikato), Shahn Eru (BoP), Jesse Parate (Taranaki), Aaron Preest (Waikato), Mitchell Brown (Taranaki), Hayden Anderson (BoP), Henry Stowers (BoP), Josh Dowsing (Waikato), Viliame Taulani (Counties Manukau), Te Aihe Toma (BoP), Richard Judd (Manukau), Yang Jeongchu (Steelers), Hideki Tanabe (Steelers), Luteru Laulala (Manukau), Cardiff Vaega (Manukau), Lalakai Foketi (BoP), Elijah Nicolas (BoP), Chase Tiatia (BoP), Monty Ioane (BoP), Shelford Murray (Waikato), Cody Rei (captain, Taranaki)