Hong Kong rally late but fall short against Portugal in World Rugby U20 Trophy
Tries to Jack Scanlon, Oliver Duffy and Matt Worley see Andy Hall’s side get within a point late in the game in Montevideo
Hong Kong suffered their second loss from as many matches at the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Uruguay, going down 31-24 to Portugal despite a gutsy fightback.
Hong Kong surged back from an 18-3 deficit in Montevideo to get within one point in the dying stages, but two late penalties saw Portugal home.
The narrow loss marked an improved performance for Hong Kong from their round one loss to Fiji, but coach Andrew Hall bemoaned a poor first half that hurt his side’s chances.
“It was a far better performance from Fiji,” Hall said. “The collective improvement was pleasing but the reality is that individual errors cost us that game – the penalties we conceded, our support kicking, simple and unforced errors in our handling.
“They are a strong side. They took their chances when they were in our territory, but they weren’t overly creative. We allowed them those chances. We might get away with that in Asia, but we won’t here.”
Portugal opened the scoring with a try in the 11th minute and followed that up with the first of four penalties struck by fly half Jorge Abecassis, one of five players in the Portugal squad that has been capped for the national team.
Hong Kong full back Paul Altier missed a chance to reply with a penalty in the 24th minute but converted on his second opportunity three minutes later to make it 8-3.
The Portuguese scrum posed problems for Hong Kong and produced their second try after an eight-man drive saw Portugal’s No 8 touch down, making it 15-3 after the conversion.
“Our scrum was okay and our line-out was much improved,” Hall said. “Portugal are strong up front and it was always going to be tough, but we have got to get used to it because we’ve got Uruguay next, which will be a similar challenge.”
Portugal opened the second half with another Abecassis penalty before Hong Kong mounted their fight back, with hooker Jack Scanlon, winger Oliver Duffy and Matt Worley all finding the try line.