Hong Kong Rugby Union

Dan Carter and Hong Kong’s Matt Worley set for Racing 92 clash against Sharks in Natixis Cup

The former All Blacks star is expected to be in the line-up for the fourth edition of the match at Aberdeen Sports Ground

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 December, 2017, 6:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 December, 2017, 11:02pm

All Blacks legend Dan Carter and Hong Kong’s Matt Worley are slated to turn out for French team Racing 92 against the first South African Super Rugby side to play in the city – the Cell C Sharks – in February’s Natixis Cup.

The 35-year-old Carter retired from the New Zealand set-up after winning a second World Cup title in 2015 and is in the final season of his three-year contract with the French Top 14 side. His appearance in Hong Kong at the Aberdeen Sports Ground on February 3 will be among his last for the club.

Worley played for Hong Kong at the Under-20 World Trophy in Uruguay in September, having previously represented the city at various age group competitions. He went to France two years ago initially for a four-week stint but is now knocking on the door of a regular first-team place.

“Natixis is delighted to once again welcome Racing 92 to Hong Kong, and particularly excited at the

prospect of the team including one of Hong Kong’s native sons, Matt Worley,” said Alain Gallois,

chief executive officer of French corporate and investment bank Natixis, Asia Pacific, which is sponsoring the match.

In the fourth edition of the Natixis Cup, the Sharks are the second Super Rugby team from the southern hemisphere to feature in the match after the Highlanders, from New Zealand, in 2016.

The first match in 2013 pitted Racing 92 against fellow French side Stade Toulousain, with Racing taking on a Hong Kong Football Club President’s XV in 2015.

Racing 92 are third in the French Top 14 and won the title in 2016.

Philippe Spanghero, chief executive officer of event promoters, TeamOne Groupe, said: “[This] is a formidable opportunity for the large rugby playing and following population in Hong Kong to engage with the world stars of rugby and to attend a world-class sports event just a few weeks before the kick-off of the renowned Hong Kong Sevens.”

Hong Kong Rugby Union chief executive, Robbie McRobbie, said Hong Kong is ideally situated as a neutral venue for southern and northern hemisphere clashes.

“This innovative series has made Hong Kong a home for northern versus southern hemisphere rugby

matches and helped us deepen our engagement with Hong Kong’s growing French community,” McRobbie said.

“We are particularly excited to be welcoming the first-ever South African Super Rugby side to play in

Hong Kong, the Cell C Sharks, this February. They will join the likes of the Highlanders, the Chiefs, the

British & Irish Lions, the Home Nations, France, the All Blacks and Wallabies among the ranks of

international sides that have delighted rugby fans in Hong Kong over the decades.”

The Hong Kong tie will present an important preseason opportunity for the Sharks to fine-tune

their squad for the 2018 Super Rugby campaign. The Sharks have reached the Super

Rugby final on four occasions (1996, 2001, 2007 and 2012) and the semi-final on four further

occasions, with the most recent coming in 2014.

Sharks’ new head coach Robert de Preez said: “Racing 92 is an impressive team with quality players. A match against them will be the ideal test that we require at the start of the 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament, in terms of preparation and the fine-tuning of our game plan.

“Through the Hong Kong Sevens, we have seen how popular the game is in that part of the world, and

look forward to playing in front of a great crowd and making new memories.”

Tickets for the Natixis Rugby Cup 2018 will go on sale from noon today via Ticketflap. Special early bird ticketing discounts are available through January 8 with general admission tickets offered at HK$299 for adults and from HK$50 for those aged 12 and under.

After the early bird discount expires, tickets will be HK$399 for uncovered general admission seating and $438 for covered general admission seating. VIP tickets with included food and beverage and reserved covered seating are HK$738.