Tigers shake off slow start to overcome Kowloon in premiership kick-off
Football Club and Scottish also secure wins on Super Saturday at Kings Park
Defending league champions Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers were forced to shake off the complacency to come from behind in the season opener of the Saxo Capital Markets Premiership at Kings Park on Saturday.
Trailing Kerry Hotel Kowloon 20-10, the Tigers finally woke up to run out 31-26 winners.
Led by fullback Casey Stone, who had a hat-trick in the second half, Tigers stormed back with three tries and held off a late Kowloon surge.
Stone played down his feat, saying: “I was on the end of the line so I just had to run it through, so I had the easy job. Just luck I guess, I just wanted to come out and have a good game really.”
Tigers coach Samuel Hocking, who was named Hong Kong Rugby Union’s coach of the year last season, said there were a lot of positives from the squad’s first game, and one negative.
“That first twenty minutes to be perfectly honest,” he said. “But I’m not worried, it was a bit of an issue for us last year, we started a lot of our games slow.”
Stone is one of many backs trying to catch the attention of Leigh Jones, the coach of the Hong Kong national side. Jones is in the process of selecting a roster of 30 players who will travel to France in November to compete in a four-team tournament for the final spot to be filled for next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay, the new outfit formed after the dissolution of the Hong Kong Cricket Club rugby section last year, put up a brave effort in their inaugural match before going down to Natixis HKFC 43-13. Sandy Bay lock Jack Delaforce, who is also on Jones’ national team radar, said he was disappointed with the result but there were a few factors that hampered the squad going into the fixture.
“Last week was unfortunate with a few injuries, two hookers and our starting halfback went down, but we can’t really take that as an excuse. It’s been a good vibe down at training, I just think we haven’t had enough time together because of those new guys coming in.”
In the late game, Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish beat Societe Generale Valley 21-15.