Sandy Bay triumph, HKFC top Valley and Scottish trump Tigers
- Sandy Bay got a historic first win while HKFC and Scottish head into the league break top of the standings in the men’s rugby premiership
While it took them a few games and it “wasn’t pretty” according to head coach Brett Wilkinson, Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay finally notched the club’s first-ever win. In a nail biter of a game, they beat Kerry Hotel Kowloon 16-13 in the fifth week of men’s premiership rugby action.
Neither Sandy Bay nor Kowloon led by more than five points throughout the match and it looked like the purple and white were going to win early on as they controlled most of the play. James Cunningham and Bryn Phillips, both recently named to the national squad that will head to France for the Rugby World Cup repechage, had exceptional games for Kowloon, but in the end it came down to one penalty kick for the win.
The two teams were tied at 3-3 for a substantial portion of the first half, showcasing how hard-fought the game was on both sides. Tom McQueen scored his first try in more than two premiership seasons to give Sandy Bay the go ahead at 8-3. After the half, Matt Lemming scored to give Sandy Bay a 13-10 lead, but Kowloon answered with a penalty kick by fly-half Jack Hughes.
Tied 13-13 with about 15 minutes to go, Jack Metters played the role of hero and converted a penalty kick to give Sandy Bay the lead and the eventual win. Wilkinson said the tight scoring game probably took a few years off his life as it was “not very good for the nerves and the heart”.
“I think it was always going to be a tight game and I am just very proud of the character the guys showed in the last five minutes,” said Wilkinson, noting that Sandy Bay were able to hold off a final push from Kowloon in the dying seconds of the match. “This is definitely something we can build on. Am I happy with our accuracy? No. We can be a lot more accurate and clinical in what we do, and there were a lot of mistakes for us, but I’m just proud of the way we showed our character. That is what Sandy Bay are all about.”
In the other two games of the day, Natixis Hong Kong Football Club beat Societe Generale Valley 31-10 and Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish beat the Borelli Walsh USRC Tigers 31-13. The premiership now breaks until December as the 15s national squad head to France for the Rugby World Cup repechage qualifier.
HKFC and Scottish lead the league standings five weeks into the season with four wins and one loss each. Next are the Tigers with three wins and two losses, and then Valley with two wins and three losses, followed by Sandy Bay and Kowloon, who both have one win and four losses.