Asian Five Nations
Hong Kong open with shock win
April 24, 2010
Hong Kong's Colin Bisley vies with South Korea's Yoo Chul-Kyu for a high ball © Getty Images
Hong Kong recovered from a sluggish start to kick off their 2010 Asian Five Nations campaign with a ultimately comfortable 32-8 victory over South Korea on Saturday.
Hong Kong were beaten in Seongnam last year and they appeared in trouble when their visitors moved 8-0 up after an unconverted try from Choi Si-Won. However, Nigel Clarke replied for the home side and his score, allied with five points from the boot of Keith Robertson, saw Hong Kong go in two points to the good at the interval.
Hong Kong, who finished second from bottom 12 months ago, dominated the second half and racked up three further tries through Robertson, Clarke again and Tom McQueen.
"It was a shaky start for us but even in the first 10 minutes they only really had our scraps," Hong Kong captain Simon Leung said. "But we put ourselves under pressure. We spilt a couple of balls we shouldn't have."
Hong Kong coach Dai Rees, meanwhile, was thrilled with his side's display and is now hoping that the territory can either qualify for next year's World Cup by winning the Five Nations outright or at least secure a play-off against Uruguay by finishing as runners-up.
"The World Cup dream lives on. I dream of being there as a coach for Hong Kong and I know a lot of the guys do. I think it is a reality," he is quoted as saying by rugbyweek.com.
"I think it's a case of belief. We stood off them in the first 10-15 minutes. There's that aura around South Korea. We haven't beaten them many times (just two wins in 10 previous meetings). But it was a superb all-round performance in the end and we controlled the game."
Meanwhile, last year's runners-up Kazakhstan came from behind to claim a an exciting 43-28 victory over Arabian Gulf in Almaty in the day's other game.
The home side found themselves 13 points down early on but rallied well to lead by a point by the interval. They stretched their advantage to five points by the 65th minute before finally breaking Arabian Gulf's game resistance in the final quarter as they eventually ran out easy winners.
In front of a crowd of over 4,000 Kazakhstan ensured that their meeting with Hong Kong on May 8 would go a long way to deciding second position. Japan enter the fray in the next round, facing Korea in Gyeonsang on Saturday.