He’s taken a different path to old pal Joe Launchbury, but Jack Metters is lifting off in Hong Kong Premiership
The 26-year-old hopes a struggling HKCC can turn a corner against Football Club on Saturday
He once played with England second rower Joe Launchbury and, while he admits their careers have taken different paths, Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC scrum half Jack Metters is impressing in the Hong Kong Premiership.
From Worthing in England, it is with a chuckle the 26-year-old recalls making his senior debut for his home club on the same day as Launchbury.
“I played for Worthing since I was five, went all through the juniors there and then made my debut when I was about 18,” Metters said.
“It was the same day as Joe Launchbury actually, who plays for England. He came to us for a season and we both made our first team debuts – our careers have gone slightly differently since.”
It’s been a hectic first few months in Hong Kong for Metters as he juggles work in recruitment with finding his feet on the field.
Like so many new players, Hong Kong is far from Metters’ first stop on his overseas rugby journey and he joined HKCC after stints in New Zealand and Australia.
“It’s pretty fast-paced, for the first couple of weeks I was like, ‘How do I keep up?’” he said. “I pretty well came straight into work, arrived on the Thursday and started on the Monday so there was no time to relax.”
Metters has impressed coach Brett Wilkinson with his versatility and ability to get the job done when required, with the crafty nine taking on kicking duties for the Cricketers.
“He’s been massive for us, he can also play a bit of 10,” Wilkinson said. “In terms of kicking, he’s been training really hard and when the big moments have come he’s stepped up and done a fantastic job for us.”
It’s been a tough first half of the season for HKCC, with only one win from eight matches and some heavy losses along the way.
Former Connacht prop Brett Wilkinson looking to impart knowledge gained from Irish rugby legends in HKCC role
Metters says he gets the feeling things are slowly turning a corner and the grand championship structure – which sees all six teams make the play-offs – ensures there is still plenty of motivation for a team that only a couple of years ago were a powerhouse of the competition.
“We’ve got a few injuries in key positions but I think once we get our full team back we can beat anyone, we just haven’t got the depth at the moment,” Metters said.
“Over the international break we trained well and we beat Football Club last time so we should be in for a good fight again.”
While HKCC welcome their old rivals Natixis HKFC to Aberdeen, Saturday’s other matches see Bloomberg HK Scottish take on Societe Generale Valley, while Kowloon and the Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers lock horns in the unfamiliar surrounds of So Kon Po.
In the KPMG Women’s Premiership, Valley play Tigers and Gai Wu meet HKFC in the top tier, while CWB Phoenix take on City Sparkle. Tai Po and Kowloon do battle in the development bracket.