International rugby a ‘walk in the park’ for Sam Purvis as Hong Kong grind out Cup of Nations win over Chile
The 28-year-old shows plenty in his third test as the hosts sneak home 13-6 at King’s Park
He played a prominent role in Hong Kong’s 13-6 win over Chile in the Cup of Nations at King’s Park on Tuesday night and Sam Purvis says the transition into the national set-up has been a ‘walk in the park’.
Not that the 28-year-old is suggesting the playing side of things is easy, but rather that he’s been welcomed with open arms since joining the team in Kenya in August.
“I first became part of it on the Kenya trip, so I was a bit daunted to be fair because all of the boys are full-time,” he said. “But it was a walk in the park in terms of how friendly and supportive they were.”
From Brisbane, Purvis only became eligible to play for Hong Kong in July and was making his third test start against Chile.
Starting at inside centre in his first test on Hong Kong soil, he was strong with ball in hand and says he is benefiting from having experienced heads around him.
“With [fly half] Matt Rosslee and [outside centre] Tyler Spitz, he and I play club together and he does all the talking in the backline, so being in the middle of those two is easy,” Purvis said. “It’s always a bit nerve-racking playing at home, but it was a great experience.”
It was tough going throughout for Hong Kong, but they were never headed in a game Purvis said was always going to be a slog.
“We knew that it was going to be a grind and that their game play was always going to be forward based,” he said. “It was a struggle the whole game but we were happy to get the win.”
Hong Kong struggled to gain territory in a first half that was devoid of highlights until the final stages, however they defended well on the couple of occasions Chile got within inches of scoring.
It took a yellow card to Chile prop Claudio Zamorano after 35 minutes to open things up, with Hong Kong breaking the deadlock through a try to flanker Matt Lamming after a sustained push near the line in the shadows of the break.
Fly half Jack Neville added the extras to make it 7-0 at half-time and the second half started with a flurry that saw each side nail a penalty and Hong Kong’s Jack Parfitt receive a yellow card.
Russia full back Tomas Ianiszewski knocked over his second penalty to bring it back to 10-6, but Rosslee responded in the 70th minute with the final score of the match.
“Chile are a really good side, to be able to grind out a win like that was good for us to experience,” Hong Kong assistant Andy Hall said.
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“Credit the guys who came in, they worked damn hard but there is plenty to work on for Kenya [on Saturday]. They are a different threat to both of the teams we have played against but we know what to expect.”
Russia defeated Kenya 31-10 in the early game to all but secure their third straight Cup of Nations.