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  • HKFC Under 9 TRC Junior Cup tour, Johor

    HKFC Under 9 TRC Junior Cup tour, Johor

    10 Jul 2024

    Following on from the loss of their Turf City ground at the end of 2023 (thank you Singapore government!) it wasn’t clear whether the Tanglin Rugby Club would be able to hold any more international tournaments.  Luckily, TRC were able to secure the use of Marlborough College in neighboring Johor Bahru, and accordingly a plucky group of 15 Under 9 boys ventured forth to take part in the first ever Singapore tournament held “north of the Causeway.”

    This wasn’t the only first for the boys – due to peculiarities of Singapore rugby seasons and rules, this would be their first matches with lineouts and scrums as well (scrums being introduced in U10, and lineouts in U11, in Hong Kong).  It was also, for many of them, the first time playing on a (waterlogged!) grass pitch.  However, the boys coped with all the challenges with smiles on their faces at all times.  Saturday was dedicated to pool matches, with semis and finals on the Sunday.  Despite clear sunny weather upon our arrival at the ground, the heavens opened 15 minutes before the first matches leaving most of the pitches waterlogged for the duration.

    Our first match was against a strong Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) Lions team, who opened the scoring after a few minutes with a 7-point “super try”.  HKFC fought back to level the score with a super try of our own, courtesy of a nearly full pitch run down the right wing by prop Greg.  A last-minute break by SCC looked like it might have given them the win, but for a chase and powerful tackle by scrum-half Ryo whose momentum carried the SCC player over the dead ball line before they could ground the ball.  Final score 7-7.

    Our second match was against a Hong Kong Barbarians team formed from the top players from Sai Kung Stingrays, Valley Fort and Sandy Bay.  It was a hard-fought match and despite a line break try from winger Brennan, and an unlucky disallowed super try from Achilles, the final result was an unfortunate 5-17 loss.

    Not to be disheartened, the boys went into their final match against hosts TRC Thunder full pelt, opening with a super try from centre Jesse, followed by shortly after by a breakaway run from fly-half Max, who despite being brought down just shy of the try line managed to reach out and bring the ball down behind the line to score.  TRC fought back but were unable to penetrate the HKFC defense, and the final pool game ended as a 12-0 win.

    Following completion of the pool matches we found ourselves second in our pool, and 6th overall in the standings, putting us in the Plate competition on Sunday.  First up was a semi-final rematch against SCC Lions.  This time the boys had their eyes on the prize, and gave no quarter to the Lions.  The wingers were the stars of this match, with a pair of tries from Sam and one from Eashan to beat SCC 15-7. 

    After a rest, and a quick team chat with Pro Coach Matteo, the boys were ready for the Plate final against Dragons Fire.  As with the semi-final, the boys went all in at the start and overwhelmed the Dragons defence to score an early super try thanks to another line break by Jesse.  Not to be outdone, winger Eashan added another try to his tally to bring the score to 12-0.  The last few minutes of the match were nerve wracking as Dragons counterattacks pushed us back up against our own tryline, but our backs held the line and gave Dragons no way through.  A last-minute turnover from a Dragons lineout saw lock Japsher take off up the blindside and a third try looked set to seal the deal, but Dragons scrum-half was able to catch and drag him into touch, and the final whistle blew, but the boys knew the job had been done!

    What a result for these boys, especially considering they have only had a few weeks of scrums and lineouts prior to the tour!  I am immensely proud of their grit and determination, and their resilience.  Thanks to all the parents for their support, and to Coach Alex and our Pro Coach Matteo for all the hard work and support for the kids.  Next year, we target the Cup!!!