HKRU Premiership

Scottish coach Craig Hammond expecting big things from Kane Boucaut and Conor Hartley after Hong Kong debuts

The two powerhouses stepped out in the recent Cup of Nations and will be key to their side’s chances as the Premiership resumes on Saturday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 November, 2017, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 November, 2017, 10:54pm

They made their national debuts in the recent Cup of Nations and Bloomberg HK Scottish coach Craig Hammond cannot wait to see Kane Boucaut and Conor Hartley return to domestic action this weekend.

Scottish take on Natixis HKFC as the Hong Kong Premiership resumes on Saturday and Hammond hopes the pair will be armed with added confidence.

“That exposure is invaluable for those guys,” he said. “When those guys are playing well and they’re confident, it only helps us.

“Kane’s been involved in the sevens for the last few months, I thought he put in a few good shifts against Kenya and Conor scored a couple of tries against Kenya and had a good first game against Russia. Whether it is sevens or 15s, it’s a big boost for our club.”

Both Boucaut and Hartley are near unstoppable when in full flight and Hammond has enjoyed watching them develop during their time in the elite rugby programme.

“Kane came over to us from Brisbane and he has just got better and better,” Hammond said. “He has put on some good size and he’s just dynamic, he sums up the modern player.

“He can play at the back and he wouldn’t look out of place or you can put him at No 8 or in the second row, he’s got good all-round skills. I think he’s still got a lot to give and he’s only getting better.”

Hartley joined Scottish from Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC ahead of last season and seems to have found his niche.

“He has been the life of our team, he’s a massive part of our squad,” Hammond said. “Whether he plays at centre or on the wing, he’s pretty versatile. There’s not many six-foot-five wingers running the way he runs.

“He’s only young and the more exposure he gets on that world stage is only going to benefit us.”

Conor Hartley looking to draw on finals experience as Scottish chase HK Premiership glory

Scottish had a number of players step out for Hong Kong during the November tests, including forwards Jack Parfitt and Kyle Sullivan and winger Marcus Ramage.

“It’s great to play well in November and have a good test series, hopefully they can take that form and help lead us to a few victories going into Christmas,” Hammond said.

The weekend’s other matches see Societe Generale Valley take on Kowloon and the Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers tackle HKCC.

It’s a big week in the KPMG Women’s Premiership, with the first round of matches taking place since the mid-season split.

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

Each team has now played each other once and the league has been split in half, with the top four teams competing in the Premiership and the bottom four the Premiership Development league.

All eight teams will then reconvene for the grand championship finals. This week’s matches see Valley tackle Gai Wu and Tigers play HKFC in the top tier, while Tai Po meets City Sparkle and Kowloon lock horns with CWB Phoenix in the bottom.