WESTERN Australia were supposed to be the pleasant little appetiser before the main dish in Hong Kong's international rugby union programme this season, the Pacific Rim Championships, which begin next week. But the visitors were more than a mouthful as they edged through to a 25-24 win over a Hong Kong Select XV - a shadow SAR side - at Aberdeen Stadium yesterday, bringing a three-game tour to a successful end. The defeat burst Hong Kong's confidence balloon. And it was no mere pin-prick which did the trick. Rather, it was a huge puncture thatwill have Hong Kong's coaching team of Phil Campbell and assistant Gary Cross back at the drawing board desperately analysing what went wrong. They won't have far to search. Poor ball retention by the forwards, a string of sorry mistakes, plus a reluctance to use the SAR's potent and attacking back three - wingers Luke Nabaro and Chris Gordon and fullback Vaughan Going - could sum up the reasons for the debacle. 'It was pretty disappointing. Even if we had won in the dying minutes, I would have regarded our performance as a loss,' said the forthright Cross. 'We will have a lot of work to do in the next week and I will be mainly concentrating on our ball retention.' The touring forwards outplayed their local counterparts quite convincingly in all departments. Outstanding were Fijian Vioni Masibaka, who won loads of possession in the lineout, the terrier-like loose play of fellow lock Trefor Thomas and the entire back row led by skipper Geoff Barnes. Hong Kong had one brilliant period of play midway through the second half when they scored two tries in the space of three minutes. Flanker Jon Dingley kept his personal record of scoring tries in representative games ticking over when he grabbed the first try with a surging 20-metre run. It capped a period of concerted pressure near the Western Australian goal-line, with Hong Kong opting for the attacking scrum on two occasions when the visitors were penalised trying to kill the ball. Three minutes later, Going sliced through for a lovely try after good lead-up work by centres Rodney McIntosh and Nigel D'Acre. Both tries were converted by fly-half Carl Murray as Hong Kong wiped off a deficit resulting from an earlier try by Western Australia's centre Justin Wilson. Inexplicably, the SAR went to sleep after this great phase of attacking rugby. Another try, scored by Ashley Bond, reduced the lead to 14-10 before a Murray penalty widened the gap to 17-10. Then Hong Kong's game fell to pieces as far as discipline was concerned. They gave away a string of penalties and five of them were punished. Western Australia, playing with the wind behind them, accepted the opportunities gleefully with flyhalf Adam Whitehead knocking them over. Two of these penalties before the break left Hong Kong clinging on to a precarious 17-16 half-time lead. The other three penalties in the second half allowed the visitors to sneak ahead. A try by Stephen Kidd in the 70th minute momentarily gave Hong Kong the lead. But a bad blunder by D'Acre, attempting to run the ball from inside his own 22, saw him nailed and the ball knocked forward. An infringement from the ensuing scrum gave the tourists the match-winning penalty. 'I'm bitterly disappointed. There was no pattern in our play,' said a dejected Cross.