Home comforts: South China Tigers claim first GRR win

April 23, 2019

 Photo credit: May James Photography


The FWD South China Tigers have won their first ever Global Rapid Rugby home game, handing Singapore's Asia Pacific Dragons a 29-19 defeat.  


Despite humid conditions, the first half went exactly as planned for the Tigers as they blitzed the Dragons with three unanswered tries, ascending to a 21-0 lead after 15 minutes.  


Fullback Nathan De Thierry scored his first Rapid Rugby try in the opening minute as the Tigers maintained their attacking intensity throughout the first half, starving the Dragons of both possession and territory.



Centre Lewis Warner found space in the Dragons midfield on the next attacking possession to push the lead to 14-0 after fly half Glyn Hughes’ second conversion.  


Fijian gold medallist Samisoni Viriviri, then collected a well-weighted chip to the corner to snag a third try, with Hughes’ conversion putting Tigers up 21-0.


Dragons finally got on the board at the end of the half after a sustained patch of possession that saw them putting their bulky strike men into space in short carry positions, with a successful conversion cutting the Tigers’ lead to 21-7.


 Photo credit: May James Photography


The home side’s riposte was emphatic, with debutant Luke van der Smit embarking on a barn-storming run into the Dragon’s 22, playing a give-and-go and crashing over in the corner – an effort that saw his side into a comfortable 26-7 lead at half-time.


Hughes scored first for Tigers in the second half with a penalty shortly after kick-off to push the lead to 29-7, but the visitors scored two quickfire tries to close the gap to 29-19.  


The Dragons then had a nine-point POWER try disallowed by television match officials for a knock-on, as the Tigers ran out the clock to notch their first win of the inaugural GRR season. 


South China Tigers now have five points, four for the win and a single bonus point for scoring four or more tries, leaving them 7 points behind the Force.  


They will travel to Singapore for the return leg next Sunday, with the Force playing first in Singapore and then Hong Kong in May to conclude the Asian portion of the Showcase Series.


 Photo credit: May James Photography


“It was a really physical second half,” said back rower and Tigers co-captain James Cunningham,


“They came out firing, threw the ball around a bit more and got a bit of success with that, but at the end of the day we got the result we came for."


Coach Craig Hammond was equally pleased to get the win.


“I think both sides really did their homework. We needed this one to get on the ladder and keep up our chase on the Force, but we can’t look past next week. The Dragons will really be wanting to get that result at home, and I don’t expect there is going to be any let down in the physicality next week.”


“It will come down to who can work smarter, I think. We will have to analyse everything from today, but we are already looking forward to next Sunday in Singapore.”



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