Valley Back-to-back Hong Kong Rugby Grand Final Winners
Valley became back-to-back winners of the domestic rugby competition Grand Final in Hong Kong on the weekend.
WhichWay Valley completed a clean sweep over Premiership League winners Leighton Asia HKCC by winning three times in the home-and-away season and taking the Grand Championship Final at King’s Park on Saturday Mar 8.
It was not the normal open rugby played by both teams, but a hard-fought middle of the park battle with good place kicking to put pressure on the opposition.
Both sides scored two tries, but it was the boot of Ben Rimine that tipped the scales in Valley’s favour with a drop goal and a penalty in the second half of the match to take the match 20-14.
“I think if you wind the clock back 12 months ago it was the same Final and the intensity was there and I think both teams were up for it,” said Valley co-coach Dean Herewini in a HKRFU press release. “It was fitting because both teams played good, attractive football right throughout the whole league.
“We like to run, but to be honest today it was more about punching it up in the mid-field and kicking it into the corner to force a team like Cricket Club into errors,” Herewini continued.
Valley’s rugby season has been impressive with the club finding success at several levels.
“It has been a very positive season for us,” said Herewini.
“We brought in quite a few of the U19 boys who are still in school and our rotations were good. From the club as a whole, our seconds made the Semi-finals, the Women made the finals, so our progression as a club as a whole has been very positive,” Herewini added.
Reece Hamon opened the scoring finishing off a back line move for Valley and was converted by Ben Rimine to put them in front 7-nil. But this was immediately countered with some quick thinking by Nick Wheatley grabbing the ball from the opposition to score for HKCC. Angus Cameron converted the try to equal the score at 7-all.
Man of the Match, Matthew Rosslee then pounced on a loose ball after a move started by Rimine was intercepted and slipped over the line to make the score 12-7, before Rimine added the extra points to take Valley into the break on 14-7.
Pale Tuti pushed through from a five yard scrum 10 minutes into the second half to add another 5-points for HKCC and allow Cameron to put the game back on equal terms with the conversion.
But it was Rimine’s drop goal and penalty kick that finished the game in favour of Valley.
“I think we lost the kicking battle tonight,” said HKCC head coach and rugby director Andy Hall.
“In the first 20 minutes we had a couple of chances, but we didn’t take them. Early on that was quite crucial. You need to take your chances when you have them.
“Good on Deano’s men. They know how to win these games and fair play they did it well,” said a gracious Hall.
It was a fitting end to the season with both of the leading clubs picking up silverware, Valley repeating their feat of last year and HKCC taking the league title for the first time since 2007.