Hong Kong Sevens in Jack Capon’s sights as he aims to help Tigers through to Premiership decider
Craig Stewart’s side take on Kowloon in Saturday’s semi-finals, while Valley and Football Club meet in the other match
Tigers forward Jack Capon is hoping to use his side’s unexpected semi-final clash with Kowloon on Saturday as an extra boost in his bid to play in his first Hong Kong Sevens in April.
While Capon says the result wasn’t a surprise to him, there weren’t many outside the Tigers camp expecting them to overcome the highly fancied Bloomberg HK Scottish in the quarter-finals.
“I think having the opportunity to play this weekend will definitely benefit me,” Capon said.
“I’ll benefit from the competitiveness and the high-intensity rugby. Because there is obviously only so many sevens tournaments during the year, it’s quite tough to be able to play regularly so having more rugby is always going to be good.”
Capon says the fact Tigers have been building throughout the year held them in good stead against Scottish, but he also feels the simple notion that no one wanted the season to end spurred the side on.
“Leading into the quarter-final game, I think none of the boys wanted rugby to end so we really dug in during the week at training,” he said.
“The boys have been building and building and building and although the results through the season haven’t really shown that, I think as a unit we are now ready to play.”
While 24-year-old Capon has one Hong Kong 15s cap under his belt, his main focus is sevens and he is eyeing a berth in the side come April.
He played in last year’s Asia Rugby Sevens Series and, despite missing the cut for the recent trip to Fiji, Capon is hopeful he’ll get the chance to run out in front of his home crowd.
“It is all going pretty well and training is geared towards the sevens, once the Premiership is finished the focus will be more heavily on that and we can get into a real bulk of training,” Capon said.
“I’d like to think I’m a chance [to make the side], everyone is putting their hand up for selection and everyone is going pretty hard because I don’t think anyone is guaranteed a spot.”
Born in Bristol before coming to Hong Kong at the age of 11, Capon is expecting this week’s clash with Kowloon to be a “pretty juicy one”.
YouTube videos and late nights watching brother Olly play for Exeter all part of HK experience for Tiger Alex Woodburn
Tigers – who finished the minor round in last place – will again go in underdogs, this time against a Kowloon side that are fresh from a week off.
“I’m not too fussed about where we finished in the league because we know what we are capable of when we put things together and apply ourselves,” Tigers coach Craig Stewart said.
“Last week proved to us what we are capable of doing. We are under no illusions that it’s a big challenge but you have got to be excited by it.”
The other semi-final sees Societe Generale Valley host Natixis HKFC in a clash that Football Club coach Phil Bailey knows will be provide the ultimate test.
Hong Kong Rugby Union chairman Pieter Schats predicts seismic shift as HSBC Try Rugby programme launches
“We need to limit our errors, Valley live off those scraps and they have got a lot of guys that have played professionally,” Bailey said.
“They know what to do, they know how to play rugby and they know how to execute.”
The KPMG Women’s Premiership semi-finals also see Valley and HKFC lock horns, while CPM Gai Wu Falcons will attempt to progress to the decider against Tigers.