On a scorching hot day at King’s Park Sports Ground, Hong Kong’s ambitious Under-20 teams battled it out with the toughest opponents from across Asia in the hopes of demonstrating that they are a force to be reckoned with.
The 3rd seeded Men’s team didn’t seem nervous at all last Friday, comfortably triumphing 52-0, 31-0 and 38-0 in victories over Uzbekistan, Thailand and Korea, and 24-0 over Singapore in preliminary group play.
Their flawless group stage performance took them through to the knockout round on Saturday, where they would face the likes of higher seeded teams Sri Lanka and Chinese Taipei.
The boys were not fazed by this, however, as they continued their momentum from the previous matches and coasted through Chinese Taipei, 41-5.
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This victory brought them into the highly anticipated final, where they would face off against first seed Sri Lanka, who had similarly been asserting their dominance throughout the first two days of preliminary matches.
Despite being seeded third, the Men’s team didn’t let the powerful Sri Lankan team intimidate them, and convincingly demolished their opponents in a 36-0 win - scoring 6 tries and refusing to let Sri Lanka break through their solid defensive line even once.
Four early first half tries from Max Denmark, Paul Altier (x2) and Cameron Smith seemed to shock their opponents, bringing the score up to 26-0 before the whistle.
“It all came down to our preparation, we’ve been training for this for more than 2 months, and all the boys just came together.” former Renaissance College student Daniel Archer told Young Post, who led with two tries in their semi-finals matchup versus Chinese Taipei to spur them towards the final.
Two more second half tries from, another from fly-half Paul Altier and a smart pick-up from Oliver Duffy brought the tally to 36-0, making sure there would be no chance of a late comeback for their foes.
The Hong Kong Women’s side also put in a convincing performance during the contest, matching the Men’s unbeaten first day performance – defeating Singapore (31-0), Malaysia (46-0) and India (39-0).
The Women’s team was unable to match this success on the second day of the contest, despite looking to continue their dominant performance from the first day.
After an early 55-0 sweep of Uzbekistan early on day 2, the team were unable to rival China (who went on to win the tournament), losing 0-41.
This loss appeared to faze the normally calm demeanour of the team, as a second-half red card in their final match against Thailand resulted in a 12-36 defeat.
“I think we can play better than that. Being down to 6 players in the last match, and the weather, posed a big challenge for us”, explained Cathy Chan Tsz-ying, co-captain of the team.
The final results left Hong Kong’s Women’s team in third place, respectable but lower than they had hoped.
Impressive performances from both the Men and Women’s teams proved that there is a bright future for the upcoming generation of Hong Kong rugby stars.