Hong Kong completed a clean sweep of victories at the Asia Rugby U19s championship in emphatic style with a comprehensive 61-10 win over hosts Singapore in Saturday’s final round of matches.
By successfully defending the title they won in both 2013 and 2014, Hong Kong have earned the right to represent Asia at next year’s World Rugby U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe.
Hong Kong join Samoa, who were relegated from the World Rugby U20 Championship 2015, hosts Zimbabwe, Namibia, Spain, Uruguay and Fiji in the eight-team tournament. The winner of the North American qualifier is not yet determined.
After earlier wins against Chinese Taipei (78-12) and Sri Lanka (24-13), Hong Kong knew the destiny of the title was in their own hands going into the final weekend.
Singapore mounted a brave defence in the early stages, restricting Hong Kong to one converted try inside the first quarter. Having won a scrum against the head, Hong Kong spread the ball out wide to centre Matt Worley, who evaded four defenders on a 40-metre run to the line.
Fly-half Hugo Stiles converted from the corner after missing his only penalty attempt of the day earlier in the match. Stiles finished seven for nine with the boot for an overall goal-kicking success rate in the tournament of 89 per cent.
With the threshold broken Singapore shipped three tries in the last 12 minutes of the half, two coming from number 8 Cris Calanza and the other from burly centre Ron Siew, giving Hong Kong a 28-3 buffer at the break.
Pressure from the Hong Kong front row of Ben Schats, Thomas Gibb and Callum McFeat-Smith set the tone for a renewed second half assault from the defending champions, who went on to score five more tries.
Three came in the first 15 minutes as Siew completed his brace, scrum-half James Christie got on the board and flanker Pierce Mackinlay-West touched down, putting Hong Kong 42-10 ahead. A fourth try from winger Mark Coebergh and MacKinlay-West’s second closed out the match.
Sri Lanka beat Chinese Taipei 47-12 earlier in the day, to take second overall ahead of Taipei, with hosts and newly-promoted Singapore bringing up the rear.
Asia Rugby U19 Championship
13/12/15 Chinese Taipei12-78 Hong Kong
13/12/15 Singapore 12-27 Sri Lanka
16/12/15 Sri Lanka 13-24 Hong Kong
16/12/15 Singapore 16-21 Chinese Taipei
19/12/15 Chinese Taipei12-47 Sri Lanka
19/12/15 Singapore 10-61 Hong Kong
1. Hong Kong
2. Sri Lanka
3. Chinese Taipei
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