A new concept was introduced to Hong Kong Rugby this season with the “Super Saturdays”. This sees the six top-flight clubs in the Paul Y Premiership playing at King’s Park in back-to-back matches across three Saturdays each season. Today’s top of the table clash between unbeaten Leighton Asia HKCC and WhichWay Valley at 6.30pm will go a long way towards determining the league favourites and how the season will play out. This is a replay of last year’s Grand Final and there is plenty on the line for both teams. The cricketers have developed a tougher edge to their pack this season and we can expect and serious tussle between the two sets of forwards, while injuries to Tom McQueen, captain Nick Wheatley and centre James Robinson will stretch the depth of HKCC's potent back line. With both teams stacked full of Hong Kong sevens and 15s internationals, expect open running rugby as players are keen to impress the national selectors ahead of the two tests against Belgium next month. Adding an edge to the 4.30pm Abacus Kowloon v Hong Kong Scottish match, the new Broony Quaich – Hong Kong’s equivalent to New Zealand’s Ranfurly Shield – will be up for grabs. Kowloon have held it since the first game of the season and the men from Shep Kip Mei and the Borders are keen to relieve them of this prize. Meanwhile, Borrelli Walsh Tigers and Newedge Club start proceedings with a 2.30pm kickoff, with the Tigers looking to restore some pride. The Super Sixes not only has three top-class league matches, but plenty for the family with face painting, bouncy castles and activities for the kids, as the HKRFU seeks to broaden the appeal of the game to non-traditional supporters. The standard of rugby in Hong Kong has increased markedly in the last three years. Each of the six Premiership clubs now has a full-time head coaches to manage their programmes and this has helped raise the standards of all players. There has also been an influx of players with high-level experience from Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Scotland, Wales and South Africa. The key to success in Hong Kong club rugby is having strong overall performance squads. This has also led to a rise in standards in National League 1, where there is a strong correlation between the strength of the 2nd teams and success in the Premiership. Most of the Premiership clubs have also developed and invested in strong mini and youth feeder systems and are now looking to fast track the youth players into their training squads. The decision taken four seasons ago that requires players who want to be eligible for national sevens selection to play in the domestic leagues in Hong Kong has also played its part in ensuring that the top local talent was available. The recent introduction of rugby sevens into the Hong Kong Sports Institute has also led to a higher standard with full-time players having access to outstanding facilities. Watching the Premiership, it is clear to see the benefits to 15s that will accrue from the players in the HKSI programme, with their overall speed, strength and conditioning improving this season and having a positive knock-on effect throughout the leagues. The HKRFU's strategic plan has a stated aim of expanding the number of Premiership teams, ideally to eight, within three years. rb-ibc Tin Shui Wai won the Championship in their first season and are currently playing up in National League 1, building on their strength to compete at the highest level. In the Championship league, which is comprised of new up-and-coming teams with no affiliation to the Premiership clubs, there is currently a seven team league. Gai Wu RFC are unbeaten with the SCAA Standard Life CWB first 15 breathing down their necks. The HKRFU has also dedicated full-time coaching resources to assist the Championship clubs and local development, which continues to strengthen the game on and off the pitch. Strong club rugby bodes well for Hong Kong’s international programme and with an eye on the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the HKRFU, club management and coaches are all pulling in the same direction.