‘Everyone is in with a shout,’ says Valley boss Andrew Kelly as Hong Kong Premiership nears halfway mark
Reigning grand champions prove too strong for Kowloon, Tigers edge HKCC and Football Club thump Scottish
The Old Mutual International Men’s Premiership has nearly reached the halfway point and Societe Generale Valley coach Andrew Kelly says “everyone is in with a shout” to take league championship honours.
His side are currently locked in a fierce battle with the Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers at the top of the table, with both sides having won five of their seven matches.
The Tigers proved too strong for Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC on Saturday, winning 27-21, while Valley took down Kowloon 27-12.
“It’s very, very close, I don’t think you can put your finger on one or two teams, I think everyone is in with a shout,” Kelly said after his side drew level with Tigers with a bonus-point win.
“But certainly Tigers are looking very dangerous, they gave us a good hiding [28-10] when we played them so they are certainly looking good.”
Natixis HKFC are only a point behind the top two after their 35-0 thumping of the inconsistent Bloomberg HK Scottish.
It was a host of returning internationals who kept the scoreboard ticking over for Valley, with inside centre Matt Rosslee, front rower Ben Higgins and No 8 Thomas Lamboley all scoring tries fresh off representing Hong Kong in the Cup of Nations.
“It was a tough old game, we were delighted to get the win,” Kelly said. “We really only had one day’s preparation with the guys being away and then having a few days off after the internationals.
“It was great to have them back, Ben Rimene wasn’t selected [for Hong Kong] so in a way it was good for us because he was fresh to play.”
But it was young winger Hugo Chui who Kelly reserved special mention for, as well as a number of his forwards.
“One of the good performances was Hugo Chui on the wing, he’s a young fellah who has joined us this year and has been excellent,” Kelly said.
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“Our forwards were great again in the scrum and the line-out. Ben Higgins, Dayne Jans, big Martin [Muller] our captain, they were great and our back row was getting around the pitch as well.
“It was a tough old game, generally we controlled the game quite well and we were delighted to get the win.”