Hong Kong fight off Kenya to secure second-place in Cup of Nations

November 20, 2017

Photo credit: HKRU


It perhaps spoke a great deal of their self-belief that the official line within the Hong Kong ranks, following their opening-day defeat to defending champions Russia in the Cup of Nations, was that the result was "a disappointment".


It spoke even more of their resilience that they beat Chile 13-6 and triumphed 40-30 against a determined Kenyan side on Saturday, bouncing back from an early setback to secure a second-placed finish in the competition.


The hosts emerged on the Hong Kong Football Club pitch all-guns blazing, pinning Kenya deep within their own territory and seizing an early advantage as Conor Hartley and Toby Fenn battered their way past the Kenyan defence, with fly-half Matt Rosslee's trusty right peg adding a conversion and penalty. 


Hong Kong's onslaught certainly showed no signs of diminishing, with Lex Kaleca capping off a series of relentless incursions into Kenya's half and seeing to a 22-6 first-half lead.


However, the visitors looked to reciprocate and found success on the back of a well-executed lineout, with prop Philip Ikambili going over the try line and making for a more favourable scoreline from Kenya's perspective.


As Kenya grew into the game, what followed was best described as end-to-end action as momentum swung in favour of Paarwater's charges as scrum half Samson Onsomu's try reduced the deficit to 22-20, sending alarm bells pounding in the Hong Kong camp.



Video highlights of Hong Kong's thrilling 40-30 win over Kenya:


With his team's lead in jeopardy, Valley Fort's Salom Yiu Kam-shing rose to the occasion by registering his name on the scoresheet, supplemented by Rosslee's pinpoint conversion to extend Hong Kong's lead to 27-20.


Responding in kind, Vincent Mose left his mark on both the game and Hong Kong's defence with a sensational 50-yard individual try, although the unsuccessful conversion left Kenya trailing by a mere 2 points.


Hartley contrived to score once again to bolster Hong Kong's lead after a jinking run from Yiu, only for Kenya's Oliver Man'geni to peg one back straight after the kick-off from Hartley's try.


At 34-30 and 10 minutes left on the clock, Hong Kong made a concerted effort to see the game through with a series of clattering tackles and cautious defending.


Buoyed by the voracious home support, Jones' side cushioned their ailing lead through Rosslee's successful conversion of two penalties, ultimately coming away with a hard-fought 40-30 victory.


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