HONG KONG—On the final day of the Rugby Premiership regular season last Saturday Feb 20, Societe Generale Valley collected the League Champion’s trophy after completing a resounding season of 14 wins with only one loss giving them 64 points, 22 points ahead of their nearest rivals. The head to head battle for 2nd place between Leighton Asia HKCC and Natixis HKFC ended with both teams on 42 points but HKCC retain 2nd place on match points difference. Valley as winners and HKCC as runners up in the league will get a bye into the Grand Championship Semi-finals to take place on Saturday March 5.
The lower-placed Clubs, HKFC, Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers (28 points), Bloomberg HK Scottish (24 points) and Sabre Kowloon (20 points) will play for Semi-final places this coming Saturday. In the Quarter Finals HKFC will play Sabre Kowloon and Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers will meet Bloomberg HK Scottish.
In the battle for 2nd place at Sports Road last week between Natixis HKFC and Leighton Asia HKCC, HKFC won the match 24-20 notching up 4-trys for a bonus point but they could not pull far enough in front of HKCC to stop HK Cricket Club getting a close losers’ bonus point, sufficient for them to retain 2nd place.
It was a spirted performance by both teams. HKCC moved into an 11-0 lead by the 30th minute of the game. The first score was a middle of the park, 30metre penalty by Jason Kjestrup after 15minutes of play and was followed by a Rowan Varty score near the corner after 22minutes converted by Kjestrup. Late in the half, HKFC hit back with two trys and two conversions for the match to lie 14-11 to HKFC at half time. The first of these was a score by Jamie Lauder between the posts following strong forwards pressure close to the HKCC line. The second was a run by Mitch Andrews (again under the posts) after breaking clear some 10metres out. Both were converted by Jamie Hood.
For the first 20 minutes of the second half HKFC were mainly pinned in their own half and they rarely gained good possession to move upfield. After 48minutes Kjestrup scored a penalty to bring HKCC equal at 14-14. The score was still on 14-14 with 8 minutes of play remaining when Jamie Hood collected a high ball, moved play close to the HKCC line and after several attempts reserve forward Clint Borle went in at the corner for 19-14. The conversion was missed, but further strong forwards play again took HKFC close to the line with Kenzo Panell scoring left of the posts (24-17). Again the conversion was missed. Kjestrup kicked a penalty close to time to make the final score 24-20 to HKFC.
The other matches Valley overcame Kowloon at Happy Valley 31-24 and HK Scottish beat USRC Tigers 24-19 at Shek Kip Mei.