Northern English Hong Kong rugby transplant is ‘missing gravy’ but loving the city
- Sean Taylor, who has suited up for the Preston Grasshoppers, was intrigued by Hong Kong and its burgeoning men’s premiership league
- His drinking buddy from back home, HK Scottish front-rower Brad Tuff, convinced him to take the plunge
With Christmas right around the corner, there is one thing Englishman Sean Taylor is missing about back home.
“I miss gravy, that’s for sure,” said the 27-year-old HK Scottish fullback, who hails from Southport, near Liverpool. “Sunday roasts are big, and because the holidays are close, we always get together if the weather is a bit colder.”
Taylor arrived in August on the advice of Scottish front-rower Brad Tuff, who also happens to be his drinking buddy from the University of Central Lancashire. Tuff came over at the start of last season from England and liked it enough to recommend the move to Taylor.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union has gone full boar in recruiting international players, even comprising a video highlighting the benefits of living and working in the city trying to up the league’s quality of play.
Taylor said he was sold on the high level of rugby, and the opportunity to earn a bit more cash and travel around Southeast Asia.
“We’re going to Vietnam for Christmas, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Taylor is currently rooming with Tuff and his girlfriend out in Tung Chung, and Tuff dished the dirt on the crafty, speedy back when it comes to his domestic scouting report, and if he cleans up after himself.
“Me and the missus have to mother him a bit,” Tuff said. “We lived together for a few years back home so I knew what I was getting into. It is great having a fellow Northern Englishman around that’s for sure.”
Taylor, who previously played for the Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club (where he set a record for most points in a season) and also played in Northern Ireland and toured Belgium for the England Counties squad, said he was quite surprised with the level of play in Hong Kong’s Premiership.
“It’s good rugby – high standard. And the guys are really close, we all go out for a meal afterwards, and guys are hanging out outside of training during the week.”
The camaraderie has translated to on-field supremacy as Scottish sit atop the league standings with 29 points (six wins and one loss), which has them six points clear of second place clubs Hong Kong Football Club and USRC Tigers.
Taylor said he’s loving the tight-knit group mentality which features a post-match rendition of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by Scottish duo The Proclaimers.
“You can see the results of it on the pitch,” Taylor said. “Guys want to play harder for each other.”
Scottish manager Bryan Rennie said the Englishman has slid right into the squad perfectly, “buying into the team culture and the ethos” and bringing his background in sports coaching to the table as well.
“He’s brought some real experience and composure to our game management, and he’s done a fair bit of coaching so he’s been helping out with some of the younger players.”
Currently teaching English in kindergarten, Taylor said he was ready for the “manic” pace of Hong Kong, as he lived just outside of London for two years. He said he hasn’t had much culture shock outside of gravy withdrawal and of course, having Tuff around has helped in another department.
“It’s good to have my drinking buddy back that’s for sure.”