South China Tigers raring to make Hong Kong home debut

April 18, 2019

 Photo credit: South China Tigers 


The FWD South China Tigers have announced their line-up for their home debut at the Aberdeen Sports Ground against the Asia Pacific Dragons from Singapore, set to be held at 3.10pm on Easter Sunday. 


Anticipating a physical test, coach Craig Hammond intends to respond by bringing in their own heavyweights.

“They are big. The team, the subs, everyone; they are big fellas, which is a different challenge to what we normally play against," said Hammond.


"They have a lot international players with high-level footy experience, while we haven’t played against many Pacific Island teams, so that’s another challenge." 


 Photo credit: South China Tigers

The Tigers also dropped their opener to the Force, 45-22, leaving Sunday’s tie a must-win for Hammond’s side if they hope to stay in contention for the Asian Showcase Series crown and
the AUD 50,000 prize purse on offer for the champions.

“It is a must win. Next week we go to Singapore where it will be tough to play the Dragons, and after that we have the Force at home, which is another huge test. So Sunday is both a massive challenge and an opportunity for us."


"In this competition, you have to win at home and this is a great opportunity for the
Tigers brand and to get people behind us.”


The squad sees five changes from the team that played Western Force, including the addition of two-metre tall lock Craig Lodge and No 8 Luke van der Smit, a rangy back rower who spent time in the South Africa Sevens academy set-up.



The Tigers also welcome the return of Hong Kong prop Ben Higgins in his first action since the Rugby World Cup repechage in November.


Hammond noted that the inclusions are based on merit and not size, saying: “physically they will be good out on the pitch, but they have all taken their opportunities well in training and deserve this opportunity.”


The Hong Kong centre pairing of Matt Rosslee and Lewis Warner return for a second run in midfield with the club’s two marquee signings – Tom Varndell and Fiji gold medallist Samisoni Viriviri – posing plenty of threat on the wings; Nathan de Thierry earns his second start at fullback.



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