Two big wins for Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2008, 12:00am

Squad use new game plan to score convincing victories over Chinese Taipei

The Hong Kong XVs rugby squad played beautifully to defeat Chinese Taipei in two home matches last week. Hong Kong XVs head coach John Walters said the team was the strongest side available.

The 22-member squad was carefully selected.

In the first Test, Hong Kong defeated Chinese Taipei 64-17.

Seventeen-year-old centre Ed Rolston scored the first try within five minutes of the kick-off.

Captain Semi Iafeta, Kris Marin and Rowan Varty scored two tries each, while Wayne Whitney, Nick Hurrell and Kenzo Pannell also touched down for the home side.

Iafeta said they had a new game plan and the scoreboard was an indication of how good it was. However, the captain was not totally satisfied with the performance.

He believed they could improve in their next game.

In the second match, Hong Kong got off to an explosive start, when Hurrell scored the first try in only the second minute. Gavin Hadley scored two more touch-downs in the next 20 minutes, and another try just before halftime. Hong Kong dominated the first half, and led 45-12 at the break.

Chinese Taipei were much more competitive after the interval, yet they could not withstand the attacks launched by the Hong Kong squad. They eventually lost 27-52 to give Hong Kong a clean sweep of the series.

'Playing two internationals in three days was not really what we were looking for,' Iafeta said after the second Test. 'But we were consistent in getting more than 50 points [in both games]. There's still a lot we need to work on in terms of defence.'

Coach Walters said: 'We made a lot of changes this year and we got through a lot of pattern stuff, which was good. I was happy with the continuity. Defence was good until the last 15 minutes [in the first match]. But we tried very hard and we always do.

'It was a good effort and they all did pretty well. There were some injuries and ... disruptions in the scrum. As a team, we're expected to perform and improve each week, but this was a bit of a step back today [from the first match].'

The team will next prepare for a Test series against Tunisia in April.