Round two of the Dettol Hong Kong Premiership was full of exciting running rugby. Kowloon Rugby Club managed to secure two wins from three games, falling just short of another clean sweep. Get the full low down of each of the premiership matches from the head coaches.
Joe Barker - Premier Men's Head Coach
The game started physically with both teams creating big collisions on both sides of the ball. Tigers had a L/O on the Loon 5m which was defended well by a lighter loon pack, after two phases Harry Johnston managed to force and error which lewis warner kicked on and pushed the tigers into their own half. From there the Loon applied pressure through linseed and commitment in the tackle to force a kick which gave Mike Hanning (Magic) an opportunity to put a kick into space which he managed to gather back and offload to Tom Gadsby who carried on further. With rapid ball produced Mike passed to Jamie Tsang coming onto the ball at pace and offloading to Tom Concu. Another quick ruck saw Harry receive the ball and pass onto Lewis who through a fantastic miss pass to Fong Kit who showed his speed to beat his defender and have a one on one with the full back and leave the player on the floor to go over the line for the first try of the game.
From then both teams traded penalties and Tigers managed to get over the line with a successful maul drive. Tigers were showing the size and weight difference at the scrum and applying a lot of pressure but the Loon pack were holding their own and proving they can compete with the best in the league.
Once in the second half from a kick off Fong Kit leaped higher than anyone and took a great high ball catch and ran on to beat more defenders and get into the Tigers 22m. The Loon kept quick ball and the intensity high to test the Tigers defence. After multiple phases a gap appeared and James Sawyer dived over the line form a Dave Markham pass.
Tigers came back with more tries of their own through the pressure created up front but the Loon battled on, unfortunately we lot Sam Hobbins in the second row for 10 minutes, meaning a player down in the pack making the challenge even bigger. With this happening the players drove back up the pitch to kick a penalty to touch 22m out and drive tigers over with a forward on the bin and put Kowloon within 1 point of Tigers with the conversion to come. Harry Johnson stepped up and showed his class and put the ball through the sticks with 5 mins left.
To finish the game off the loon forced the pressure and received another penalty near the tigers line and kick another 3 points form the boot of Harry. The final whistle was blown and Kowloon showed once again they have the Grit to push through when things don’t go to plan. Lots of frustrations but good to get the win and big week ahead going to last years Champs home ground.
Ed Styles - Premier A Men's Head Coach
Following a good win and after a great week’s training the Prem A’s went into the Tigers game confident. However, after conceding two early tries, we knew we were in for a much tougher contest than the previous week. It took until the first half water break for the team to compose themselves, assess the game and implement the changes. With a focus on staying within our structure and playing more territory it was Max Murfitt who controlled the ball at the back of a driven lineout to open the Claymore’s scoring. A strong first appearance for the Loon from Struan Main around the park and at the set piece, led to him scoring the opening try in the second half from another driven lineout. Debutant Kelvin Cheung showed a clean pair of heels, finishing a great try in the corner to give the Prem A’s the lead which they held onto for the remainder of the game. Ever reliable Jacob Salonga opened his try scoring tally for the season following some good ball movement and it was replacement Kelvin Chau, who’s now two tries from two matches, who put the final nail in the coffin. A commanding bonus point win in the end but some valuable lessons learned to take us into game-week 3 and Football Club away. UP THE LOON!
Terry Sibanda - Women's Premier Head Coach
Week two of the women’s premiership provided an early test to the upcoming Kowloon ladies in the form of Tigers. Tigers were on an unbeaten run of four games last season before Covid-19 brought the season to a close making them the team to beat. Kowloon and Tigers had not played against each other in a league match since 2019 and Kowloon were relishing this match-up to test how far they had improved since then.
The match started with high intensity and physicality with both teams playing fast rugby. Kowloon defended a flurry of Tigers attack and held fast. Kowloon ladies hardly had possession in the first 10 minutes of the match and needlessly gave away what little possession they had back to Tigers. Tigers got the chance to put points early on the board from an uncharacteristic Kowloon error. After forcing Tigers to knock-on, Kowloon had a sturdy scrum in their own 22. In a high risk, high reward maneuverer Kowloon opted to run the ball out of their own 22 trying to release their lighting backs however a pass fell short, and Tiger’s Natasha Olsen-Thorne scooped up the loose ball and ran in an easy try and converted her own try leaving Kowloon trailing Tigers by 7 points. Without much time to reflect Tigers were back on that attack soon from kick-off following another Kowloon error. Kowloon were defending back in their own 22 and Tiger’s Chloe Baltazaar ran a hard line towards the Kowloon try line shaking off three defenders along the way. Tiger’s Natasha converted extending Tigers score to 14. Kowloon were momentarily shocked by the back-to-back tries and found themselves again pinned in their own 22. Tigers worked a traditional backline move from a scrum which had Nam Ka Man coming off her wing and slicing through the Kowloon defence to score once again under the posts. Another conversion from Natasha saw Tigers extend their lead to 21 points with no answer from Kowloon. Kowloon ladies found their resolve and defended well for the rest of the half. Montana Heslop probed the Tigers backfield with her boot looking for weaknesses in Tigers defence. Pressure from the kick chase brought a turn-over opportunity resulting in a penalty for Kowloon. Montana kicked the ball to touch, and Kowloon executed their lineout with precision setting up a driving maul to the try line. Tigers brought the maul down illegally, but the Kowloon forwards pressed on with a couple of pick and go’s util Braxton Walker seemed to have done enough to cross the line but the referee ruled it a knock-on. Kowloon had another chance of a lineout, but another knock-on resulted in the end of the half.
Kowloon recovered after the half and started the second half with intent. With Kowloon’s defence line solidified Tigers could not find a way through. Kowloon played through a few phases before Gabby Rivers broke through the Tigers back line gunning for the try-line, however the lack of support meant Kowloon were stopped in their tracks and Tigers managed to clear the ball to release some pressure. This was short-lived as Kowloon went on another attacking run with Montana finding Georgia Rivers breaking the defence line and linking up with her sister Gabby only yet for Tigers scramble defence to do just enough to halt Kowloon’s advances. Then came one of best defensive efforts from Kowloon who stood firm on their try-line to deny Tigers bonus point try. Tigers threw the kitchen sink at Kowloon, but Kowloon held firm and if that was not enough Montana Heslop then pounced on a loose pass from Tigers, chased her own kick beating the Tigers full back for a race to the ball and touching down for Kowloon in an impressive solo effort. Lots of positives to take way for Kowloon and with a long season ahead they will have their chance to get back Tigers as they showed they can certainly do that when they are on song.
Join us this weekend, Saturday 2nd October, as all the Kowloon Premier sides head across the harbour to HKFC to take on Hong Kong Football Club. It'll be another round of excellent matches that will be sure to entertain you. Kicking off at an earlier time of 1:30pm with the Premier Women taking to the field first, get down to HKFC to witness three great games of rugby.
If you're unable to make it in person, head over to the HKRU TV YouTube Channel to catch the live stream.