HKRU Premiership 2016-17

Scottish captain Kane Boucaut hopes the success of Hong Kong’s women can spur on the men

The 25-year-old leads his side to a 35-27 win over Tigers, while Valley fall to Kowloon to throw the race for the league championship wide open

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 January, 2017, 9:18pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 January, 2017, 12:19am

HK Scottish captain Kane Boucaut is hopeful the success of Hong Kong’s women can inspire the men’s sevens and 15s teams to bigger and better things in an “exciting” 2017.

Boucaut was as solid as a rock in Scottish’s 35-27 come-from-behind win over Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers in the Hong Kong Premiership on Saturday.

The 25-year-old is part of the HKRU’s elite rugby programme and thinks that by qualifying for this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup, Hong Kong’s girls have shown the way for the men.

“A lot of the girls are really good friends with the guys in the programme and it’s great to see them having all this success,” he said.

“I definitely think it spurs the guys along and seeing their success we can ride on the coat tails of them and push forward.”

Despite not being eligible to represent Hong Kong until September, Boucaut is loving being involved with the programme and is soaking up as much as he can.

“It’s good sitting in the background and watching how it all works and hopefully I’ll get my shot in September,” he said.

“It’s exciting times ahead. The upcoming ARC [Asia Rugby Championship] is going to be really interesting, hopefully we can do really well and stay on top of Korea and push Japan.”

Saturday’s win over Tigers, coupled with Societe Generale Valley’s loss to Kowloon, leaves Scottish just a single point off top spot with four rounds remaining.

The weekend’s results have thrown the race for the league championship wide open and Scottish look a genuine chance to dethrone Valley.

“We’re a tight bunch, we like going out and having a few beers together after the game and we enjoy each other’s company,” Boucaut said.

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“That’s what makes Scottish and it’s really helped us the last couple of years.”

The No 8 is in his third season with Scottish after moving to Hong Kong from Brisbane and after co-captaining the side last year, he has taken the reins outright this season.

“I love a bit more responsibility and getting involved in the back room stuff, I really enjoy leading the boys,” Boucaut said.

Scottish were forced to fight back from 20-6 down at the break after a poor finish to the first half but were in front within 15 minutes of the restart, with dynamic centre Conor Hartley producing a brilliant hat-trick of tries.

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“We started well but then we went into a bit of a lull which was a bit frustrating and they scored a couple of good tries,” Scottish coach Craig Hammond said.

“We know they are a quality team and I’m happy with the boys, 29 points in that second half is pretty good and to get a bonus point right at the end was good.”

Earlier, tries to Josh Hrstich and Tomo Howells gave Tigers a healthy half-time buffer, before Hartley’s blitz and some precise kicking from fly half Gregor McNeish saw Scottish take a 10-point lead.

When Chiefs development player Joseph Ikenasio crossed late to bring the Tigers back within three points it was anyone’s game, but Scottish winger Austin Robertshaw had the final say with a brilliant intercept and try.

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Kowloon continued their impressive season with a 27-13 win over Valley to move within nine points of top spot, while Natixis HKFC inflicted another close loss on Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC, saluting 31-28.

In the KPMG Women’s Premiership, CPM Gai Wu Falcons thrashed SCAA First Pacific CWB Phoenix 79-5, Valley defeated Kowloon 44-0 and HKFC beat Comvita City Sparkle 29-8.