With the closing of a successful HSBC Asian Sevens Series for Hong Kong, the lads’ focus now turns to the 15-a-side game and, with this in mind, players who have been competing and training as part of the sevens set-up are now returning to their clubs and making a complete change in how they view and perform on the park. For Whichway Valley, we had five players who represented Hong Kong throughout the series: Lee Jones, Max Woodward, Salom Yiu Kam-shing, Ben Rimene and me. Despite there being some interrelating factors between sevens and 15s, our roles can be quite different, depending on the position we play. For me, the contact area and set piece in sevens and 15s is one of the core components of my game that I have to get right. There is probably less room for error in sevens because if you get it wrong, it invariably ends up being seven points conceded at the other end. In any form of the game you have to take opportunities when they arise and treasure possession Nick Hewson But with points less frequent in 15s, building every bit of momentum is the key and focusing on your piece of the jigsaw is vital to getting your team over the try line. In any form of the game you have to take opportunities when they arise and treasure possession and, most importantly, as the old cliché goes: “the team with the fewest mistakes wins”. As for the Premiership this year, I must comment on how exciting it continues to be – with any side capable of beating their opponents each week – and especially in light of the current congestion at the top of the table. This adds to the general interest in the league, not only for the fans but also for us as players as well, which is in complete contrast to five or six seasons ago when the league was three rounds and the results were so predictable. The skill-levels and competition in the league have grown so much that there are no easy games anymore, nor any room for complacency by any team. The addition this year of the Broony Quaich has added a different dimension and motivation for players, as well. Valley grabbed the new silverware for the first time on Saturday from Hong Kong Scottish, who won the Quaich with their impressive defeat of Kowloon the weekend before. This coming weekend will be our first defence and we will need to be at our best to keep it. It is rare to get a Quaich challenge and you have to make the most of it. I have seen teams defend the Ranfurly Shield in New Zealand and it gets the entire club and community behind them. This new concept is already proving to be a great addition to Hong Kong rugby. Looking internationally, it is exciting for Hong Kong to have two tests at home against Belgium in a few weeks (December 17 and 21). The Hong Kong team normally play two home tests during the HSBC Asian 5 Nations in April or May each year. Having two more home games is fantastic for the fans who support the team, as well as for the players who will get to take on the strong Belgium side when the humidity is low! It will be exciting to see the home side in action against a higher-ranked team and we will have to take full advantage of the home pitch and crowd support. On the theme of rankings, it is interesting to see the gap closing between the top international teams. This past weekend it was stunning to see Georgia beating Samoa, who regularly punch above their weight against the higher ranked teams. But as a Kiwi, the highlight of the weekend was the immense match between Ireland and New Zealand. It was a belter and one in which the Irish will rue the many “what ifs” that can happen in rugby. I had to feel for Ireland when Aaron Cruden missed the final shot at goal leaving the match as a draw, only to be able to retake the conversion due to the Irish charging early. Referee Nigel Owens had no other option than to give Cruden a second shot at it, which he slotted home perfectly. For me, that nail-biting game epitomises how opportunities taken by one team and small errors conceded by another can sway the momentum of the 15s game, which is more often seen in the fast paced game of sevens.