Doug Fluker feeling right at home after switch from Gai Wu to Premiership powerhouses Valley
Winger is proving to be a very handy acquisition for reigning champions and was important with two tries in their win over Scottish
Jumping from a third division side to the starting line-up of four-time reigning grand champion Valley is no mean feat, but then winger Doug Fluker was no ordinary third division player.
After helping Gai Wu top the National League 1 – which is now the second tier of men’s rugby after a summer reshuffle – last season, Fluker made the move to Societe Generale Valley to test himself among Hong Kong’s best.
“I wanted to try and play up a couple of grades,” Fluker said.
“The training is obviously more intense and the expectations are a lot higher. With Valley being the reigning champions for four years, they expect a lot and it is good to be back in an environment like that.”
Being a New Zealander and having played rugby in Rotorua, Fluker is no stranger to serious rugby.
Prior to Hong Kong he played a year in Holland followed by an eye-opening stop at the Luton Rugby Football Club in England and is on what he says is a typical Kiwi jaunt.
“That was a bit of a rough place,” Fluker said about Luton.
“It’s a bit of a culture for Kiwis. We head offshore for a bit of overseas experience. If you can piggy back rugby, it makes it so much easier.”
Although he enjoyed his time at Gai Wu, Fluker feels right at home among his countrymen at Valley.
“The rugby community in Hong Kong is quite small so I knew a lot of the guys, there is a lot of other New Zealanders at Valley,” he said. “It’s a lot more like home here.”
While rugby union is his main go, Fluker is also a member of the small but growing rugby league community in Hong Kong.
“I’ve always watched league and I like playing it,” he said.
“It is a couple of guys trying to build the profile of league in Hong Kong. We only do one tour a year.”
In what will be music to union purists ears, Fluker feels he hasn’t learned too much playing league that he didn’t already know.
Fluker showed his value to a Valley side that continued their unbeaten start to the Hong Kong Rugby Union Premiership season against Bloomberg HK Scottish in round three, crossing twice in his side’s 31-17 win.
“Doug does everything really well, he is a solid individual and he does the basics really well,” Valley coach Andrew Kelly said. “He’s been a great acquisition for us.”
Valley were always one step ahead of Scottish after an even opening and their class shone through when the game was on the line either side of half-time, with Ryan Meacheam dangerous out wide.
Valley enters the week off with three wins from as many starts and are looking ominous early in the season.
“We are in a good position, we have still got a long, long way to go to where I want us to be but we are building every week,” Kelly said.
Elsewhere, Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers came from 16 points down to notch a brilliant 28-22 win over Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC and Natixis HKFC landed their first victory of the season with a 23-12 victory over Kowloon.
In the KPMG Women’s Premiership, Valley defeated Kowloon 56-0, CPM Gai Wu Falcons knocked off SCAA First Pacific CWB Phoenix 31-0 and HKFC accounted for Comvita City Sparkle 39-17.