Home advantage counts as Hong Kong put South Korea to the sword
Joshua Lok
4th June 2017
South Korea were run ragged by a late offensive flurry by Hong Kong.
(Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union)

Hong Kong beat South Korea 39-3 at the Hong Kong Football Club to claim second spot in the 2017 Asia Rugby Championship (ARC) behind Japan, finishing their campaign with two wins and two losses.

In truth, the game was fraught with mistakes early on as both sides initially struggled to cope with the 34 degree humidity. With the scoreline reading 13-3 at half time, South Korea might have still fancied their chances of ending their 4-game losing streak to Hong Kong.

 

The first quarter saw both sides exchange penalties with Korean fly half Yu Jae-hyeok striking first in the 12th minute before fullback Jamie Hood levelled the scores for Hong Kong two minutes later.

Flanker Nick Hewson extended Hong Kong’s lead in the 26th minute, capitalising on an errant throw-in to the lineout by Korea deep in their own half by corralling the loose ball and lunging across the try-line.

Hood’s conversion brought the score to 10-3 and he later extended the lead to 13-3 with a second penalty in the 39th minute.

Following Saturday's result, the Hong Kong squad will take a short break ahead of the Asia Sevens Series and the Kenya tour in August.
(Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union)

However, Hong Kong emerged from the dressing room a far more purposeful side in the second half as the forwards gained their first dominance at the scrum, pushing Korea off the ball on numerous occasions.

 

That pressure told in the 45th minute when Hood’s masterful conversion following a penalty try brought the score to 20-3.

Ben Rimene then pushed the margin to 25-3 in the 68th minute when he capped off a skilful passage of handling by Hong Kong with a try in the corner.

Five minutes later, lock Kyle Sullivan, capped for the first time earlier in the series, broke the Korean gain-line and found himself in space behind the defence before being clawed down at the visitor’s 22-metre line.

A nice clearance from Hood at the ruck again set Hong Kong into space with No.8 Dan Falvey supporting well to cap off the try in the corner and Rimene slotted the difficult conversion to put Hong Kong ahead 32-3.

The hosts delighted the home crowd with some champagne rugby in the 79th minute when Hood bamboozled winger Chang Yong-heung with a pretty back-handed flick pass to an onrushing Hewson, who carried the ball for 20 metres before finding Lee streaking inside for a try beneath the posts.

Halvey then rounded off the scoring with a chip-shot conversion for a final score of 39-3.

“I’m generally pleased. I’m not too happy with today as we probably left four or five tries out there, but overall, you’ve got to be happy with the campaign," commented Leigh Jones.

“That’s the fourth game for us and we have grown as a group. Four reasonably consistent performances show that the professional era in Hong Kong is paying off and I’m delighted with that."

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