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HKRU Premiership

Left disillusioned and unemployed by London Welsh debacle, Glyn Hughes is loving rugby again in Hong Kong

The 26-year-old is relishing a break from the professional environment as Football Club continue to impress in the Premiership

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 10:56am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 10:52pm

When one of England’s most historic clubs were kicked out of professional rugby in January, Natixis HKFC full back Glyn Hughes was left without a job and disillusioned by the sport he loved.

At only 25, Hughes saw his professional career pulled out from under him as English Championship club London Welsh fell into liquidation.

After earlier stints playing in the Aviva Premiership with the Northampton Saints and Wasps, Hughes was left wondering what was next.

“I looked into a couple of options to stay in professional sport back home but I got to the point in my life where I wanted to do something different. I got quite disillusioned with that way of life and wanted to go in a different direction,” he said.

“I decided I wanted to do something else so I looked into options in Hong Kong, it seemed like a perfect fit.

“I’m loving my rugby again now but there was a period of time for a couple of months where I wasn’t enjoying rugby. I felt let down by the sport itself and by how it had treated me.

“But that wasn’t the sport itself, that was the professional arm of the game that I just didn’t want any more.”

Hughes hasn’t looked back after making the move midyear and his booming boot has had tongues wagging around the Hong Kong Premiership.

“It’s amazing, I’m just over six months in but it’s a brilliant place and I’m very happy with the life decision I’ve made. It’s ticking all the boxes,” said Hughes, now 26.

“I didn’t know what to expect if I’m honest, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It’s a good level of rugby, I’d say maybe bottom end Championship, top end National One [the English third tier]. I’m loving it.”

Hughes crossed paths with many now-England stars during his time at the Saints and Wasps – Dylan Hartley, Elliot Daly and James Haskell to name a few – but took the opportunity to return home to Biggleswade to play while he gathered his thoughts after the London Welsh debacle.

He was even coached at Saints by Jim Mallinder, who was sacked this week after 10 years at the helm, and has already had his first taste of international rugby in Hong Kong after a week’s training with Leigh Jones’ side.

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“It was good to see their set-up and how they go about things full-time, it was a good experience,” he said.

Hughes has had a big impact at HKFC across the opening nine matches of the season, helping them to second on the ladder in what is shaping up as the club’s best season in recent years.

A bonus-point win against league leaders Societe Generale Valley this Saturday would see them draw level at the top of the table heading into the Christmas break and leave them well positioned to make a charge for both the league and grand championships.

“We feel in a very good place, we are playing some good rugby and we have been putting some teams away quite heavily recently,” Hughes said.

“The thing for us is consistency, particularly building towards the play-offs, where you need back-to-back performances.”

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This week’s other match sees Bloomberg HK Scottish host the Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers, while Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC have been forced to forfeit their match against Kowloon, with injuries leaving them unable to field a side.

In the KPMG Women’s Premiership, pacesetters Valley and Gai Wu lock horns and Tigers and HKFC meet, while in the development tier City Sparkle tackle Tai Po and CWB Phoenix take on Kowloon.