It’s been a long wait since we pulled down the shutters on last season, both in the domestic Premiership and after our historic draw against Japan(!), but the wait has been well worth it with the Rugby World Cup now at the business end, our own domestic competition back up and running and not forgetting Hong Kong’s international test series just a month away.
Our participation in the inaugural Asia Rugby Championship was a success. Not only did we blood six new players into the realms of international rugby, we maintained our top three status in Asia’s premier competition. The thick layer of icing on the cake was of course pipping South Korea for second place.
At this time of year rugby seems to be on everybody’s mind, not least with the 40th anniversary of the Hong Kong Sevens just around the corner. But looming even closer following Saturday’s climax to the HKRFU Premiership regular season are the Grand Championships.
The Russians have been and gone and while they leave with the Ustinov Cup bragging rites when we reflect on our brief two-test campaign there were a number of positives to be taken by the home side.
While most of you were gearing up for the start of the new HKRFU Premiership season two weekends ago, Peter Drewett and I seized upon a unique opportunity to visit Ulan Bator for a training session with Mongolia’s national team – our fellow members of the Asian Rugby Football Union family.
Five weeks of conditioning already in the bag, six more gruelling sessions to come, followed by a “short” hop across to the other side of the world, and we’ll be into the biggest game in Hong Kong 15s rugby history.
Under the stewardship of Leigh Jones, Hong Kong climbed to their highest ever International Rugby Board ranking of 23; travelled to Kazakhstan and won there for the first time; claimed the Emirates Cup of Nations in Dubai; beat, nae battered, Belgium twice; and for the first time in Hong Kong’s history reached the Rugby World Cup repechage stage.