Hong Kong Premiership

HKRU Premiership 2016-17

Kicking on: HK Scottish recruit Gregor McNeish on target thanks to former Chief

Flyhalf credits the coaching of Dan Waenga and a soccer background for his pinpoint accuracy after booting all of his side’s 19 points in win over HKFC

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 October, 2016, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 11:08am

New Hong Kong Scottish flyhalf Gregor McNeish credits years of playing soccer in his youth and former Waikato Chief Dan Waenga for his laser-like kicking accuracy.

From Scotland, McNeish came to Hong Kong after a season playing for the Taradale Rugby Club in New Zealand.

“My mum and dad are PE teachers so I played a lot of sports,” McNeish says.

“I played a lot of football and a lot of golf, but stuck with rugby in the end. Playing [soccer] and kicking so much probably helped.”

Although he was not always first-choice kicker when playing in Scotland, it was while in New Zealand that McNeish’s kicking went to another level thanks to the help of Waenga.

“He was the kicking coach there and he did a heap of coaching with me,” McNeish said.

McNeish, who was playing for Heriot’s Rugby Club in Scotland before his southern hemisphere season, is a PE teacher himself.

While unsure of how long his Hong Kong stay will be, having recently landed a role at Renaissance College things are going well for McNeish and he is confident in where Bloomberg HK Scottish is heading.

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“It’s taken a bit to get used to the heat and humidity, but apart from that I’m enjoying it here,” he said.

“We’ve [Scottish] recruited really well and got a few good strong runners in, which they’ve been missing.”

McNeish’s kicking accuracy was key for Scottish in their tense 19-15 round two win over Natixis Hong Kong Football Club, with the back scoring all of his side’s points.

Fourteen points came from his boot and he also notched Scottish’s only try in the club’s first ever win at Football Club.

“He’s pretty laid-back and a pretty cruisy guy, but that last 20 minutes he took control and put us in the right areas,” Scottish coach Craig Hammond said.

After scores were locked 10-10 at the break, Scottish constantly repelled HKFC late in the match to snare their first win of the season.

HKFC’s first-half try was scored by Charles Higson-Smith, while Mat Lamont crossed after the break in a game in which HKFC never led.

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In other HKRU Premiership action, Kowloon pulled off the biggest upset of the season so far with a 31-30 win over Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC and Societe Generale Valley accounted for Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers 26-15.

Valley are the only undefeated side after two rounds and HKFC are the only team yet to open their account in what is shaping as an even season.