Mixing with Dan Carter, flying business class and trips to Lan Kwai Fong all part of Racing 92 life for Hong Kong’s Matt Worley
The 20-year-old is loving the chance to return home as part of his side’s clash with South Africa’s Sharks in Saturday’s Natixis Cup
Matt Worley has had a taste of life at the top of French rugby on his trip home for Saturday’s Natixis Cup, flying business class and showing his Racing 92 teammates the delights of Hong Kong.
The 20-year-old is part of the club’s academy and is relishing the chance to take part in a top-flight rugby tour.
“Being the youngest on tour and being local, it’s a good experience. It’s amazing to come back,” he said. “I’ve been on a few tours, we went to the World Trophy [for Hong Kong] but that’s with my own age group. To be on tour like this with all these players is something else.
“I’ve showed them a few bars in Lan Kwai Fong in the last couple of days but I think now getting closer to the game we’re starting to get a bit more serious and focussed on Saturday.”
So excited is Worley by the prospect of showing his wares in front of family and friends when Racing take on South Africa’s Sharks at Aberdeen that even the fact the team flies straight out on Sunday isn’t worrying him.
“I wasn’t complaining, being flown business wasn’t something you could worry about. It’s the first and last time I reckon,” he joked.
Worley’s parents still live in Hong Kong and will be at the game, with the full back unsure of how much time he will spend on the pitch.
“I couldn’t tell you to be honest, as long as I get on that’ll be great just to make my parents and myself proud and make Hong Kong proud I guess,” he said.
“I hope the stands are full and everyone is there for the game, it’d be great to have the home crowd supporting me and supporting the team as well and hopefully we can get the win.”
Worley featured in two preseason games for Racing but has been playing for the under-23s since, admitting a first-team spot is a little way away.
“I’m not as close as I’d like to be, the squads are so big so you have to wait for a few injuries for the opportunities to arise,” he said.
“In the first year being caught up with [the senior squad] I wasn’t expecting much at all, but to be brought here and training so much with them, I can still be pretty happy.
“Every day you learn more and more, especially when you get called up to train with these guys. You just be a sponge and soak it all up, there’s so much to learn and so many stars to get everything from.”
It was during preseason that Worley caught the eye of All Black great Dan Carter, who is also in Hong Kong preparing for Saturday’s match.
“I got to know him a bit better during pre-season and I was really impressed,” Carter said. “For a small fella he’s super quick and obviously he loves the sport and has made the most of his opportunity in France.
“Hopefully he can help inspire people in Hong Kong [and show] that if you work hard enough and make the most of opportunities you can give it a real go. I think he’s more excited than any of us to be back here and playing this weekend, it’s a great story.”