Niall Rowark to show the way against Japan as coach insists Hong Kong won’t just defend
Andy Hall drafted in the fly-half for his first start in the tournament after he came off the bench to spark revivals in all three previous games
Hong Kong will “not go out to defend for 80 minutes” and will look to fly-half Niall Rowark to lead the attack against Japan in the Asia Rugby Championship finale at Aberdeen Stadium on Saturday.
Head coach Andy Hall drafted in the reliable Rowark for his first start in the tournament after he came off the bench to spark revivals in all three previous games.
Hong Kong have to contain the dominant Japan to a winning margin of less than 29 points to retain their position as second-best team in Asia. If not, South Korea will take the runners-up spot.
“We are not going out to defend for 80 minutes,” insisted Hall as he announced his 23-man squad. “There are goals we have set ourselves and this does not include holding on to our 29-point differential. We will be looking at scoring tries.”
Rowark came off the bench last Saturday in Incheon to spark Hong Kong’s superb comeback when they scored four tries in the last quarter to edge Korea 38-37. Japan have already clinched the Asion crown with a 100 per cent record, and defeated Hong Kong 41-0 in Tokyo.
“Niall has been there from the beginning and right from the start has done everything asked of him,” Hall said. “He has done extremely well coming off the bench in our earlier games. He helped right the team in our first game against Korea and did very well last week to tidy things up and put us in the position to launch that second-half attack.”
Hong Kong squad
1 Leon Wei Hon-sum, 2 Alex Harris, 3 Jack Parfitt, 4 Adrian Griffiths, 5 Paul Dwyer, 6 Nick Hewson (captain), 7 Matt Lamming, 8 Alex Baddeley, 9 Cado Lee Ka-to; 10 Niall Rowark, 11 Salom Yiu Kam-shing, 12 Tyler Spitz, 13 Max Woodward, 14 Tom McQueen, 15 Jean-Baptiste Aldige.
Replacements: Lachlan Chubb, Jack Neilsen, James Cooper, Jack Delaforce, Damian Bailey, Gavin Hadley, Adma Rolston, Chris McAdam.