HK take on Tunisia in return to full game
It's back to the longer version for Colin Bisley and his seven-a-side teammates as Hong Kong meet Tunisia at the Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday, building up momentum for the HSBC Asian Five Nations later this month.
Bisley (pictured) is the only new face in the back division, which comprises four other players who graced last weekend's Hong Kong Sevens. They will need to adjust quickly to the full version in their first-ever meeting with Tunisia.
'The challenge we've got right now is that this is the first week we have our sevens boys,' said Hong Kong coach John Walters. 'There will be a fair bit of organisation involved, as we didn't have the sevens guys these past three weeks and we will need to work to gel the team.'
The halves combination of Mark Wright and Kenzo Pannell, centre Anthony Haynes, winger Rowan Varty and fullback Bisley all figured last weekend at Hong Kong Stadium. While the other four also played in January's warm-up matches against Taiwan, Bisley sat out due to an injured knee.
Hong Kong will also play away to Tunisia on Saturday week - the team leaving for Tunis immediately after Saturday's encounter.
Hong Kong, led by No 8 Semi Iafeta, will basically field the same starting line-up who played last time, apart from Bisley and blindside flanker Justin Gregory. There are also two new faces on the bench - Football Club lock Laurence Denvir and Valley's flanker/lock Renaud Chavanis.
Walters has set his side a basic target - to improve on their outings against Taiwan, not so much in the scoreline, but rather on performance. Hong Kong defeated Taiwan 64-17 and 52-27. 'I'm looking for improvement in our defence and in the contact area,' Walters said.
Hong Kong were due to play Morocco next week in Tunis, but the Moroccan Rugby Union pulled the plug on the game at the last moment.