Hong Kong crush Philippines in 16-try Asian Five Nations opener
Hong Kong hammered the Philippines 108-0 to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a dream start on Saturday.
The 16-try rout highlights the huge gulf in quality in Asia and while it might not be the best preparation for Hong Kong as they look towards mounting a challenge against Japan, posting a century is not something to be sneezed at.
The Philippines were found wanting in all departments with Hong Kong's forwards, led admirably by Matt Lamming and Pale Tauti, steamrolling to a one-way victory in the opening game of the Asian Five Nations, which this year doubles up as the Asian qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup.
Hong Kong dominated all facets of the game - the set-pieces, the rucks, mauls and breakdowns - and used the abundance of possession to run in tries every which way possible.
Openside flanker Lamming had a hat-trick and lock Bill Brant and substitute centre Tom McColl grabbed a brace each.
The other nine tries were scored by Salom Yiu Kam-shing, Jake Phelps and Lloyd Jones - looking good playing together for the national team for the first time in midfield - Kenneth Hsieh Chun-hang, Rowan Varty, Alex McQueen, Peter McKee, Nick Wheatley and Alex Baddeley, the latter scoring the 15th which brought up the century a minute from the end. Flyhalf Chris McAdam collected 28 points from his left foot. Hong Kong had led 51-0 at halftime.
"We were quite professional and very clinical. They stuck to the process, didn't become egotistical, fairly simple game plan. It is easy in games like this to drop off at half-time but it was an 80-minute performance," said pleased head coach Leigh Jones.
"We can draw confidence from this performance. It is always important to start these competitions well and we have done that. We have got more depth in the squad and we will make a few changes next week to keep levels of competition up."
Hong Kong travel to Colombo to take on Sri Lanka next Saturday. Both these games will just be the starters before the main course in the form of South Korea (May 10 at home) and Japan (May 25 in Tokyo).
Jones feels there is still room for improvement. "At times our backs didn't complement the forwards as well as they should have. Our move selection behind wasn't great and against better opposition will get punished because of that. We have a lot of stuff to work on."