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Tradition Valley Wins Hong Kong Tens

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Hong Kongs Tradition Valley held off a second half fight back from the all-star BGC Asia Pacific Barbarians to win the Cup Final at the GFI HKFC Tens 28-24 at Hong Kong Football Club on Thursday.

After disposing of top seeds Samurai in the quarter-finals, recently crowned 2010/11 G4S Domestic League Grand Champions Tradition Valley led 21-7 at half-time thanks to a brace from tournament leading try scorer Pita Ahki, with Dustin Coopers late score handing the David Campese led Barbarians hope after being outshone in the opening period.

Rocky Kahn extended the lead early in the second half, but the Barbarians, who were without the injured Christian Cullen but were still able to call on recently retired Australia legend George Gregan, showed their class to fight back with three unanswered tries only for Tradition Valley to hold on to claim victory.

It was fantastic. We came into the tournament not expecting much and with so many teams able to win it, said Japan-based Tradition Valley coach, Simon Ryan. We wanted to take it one game at a time and first get past the Samurai and we did that which was a shock and to go on and do it against such a great Barbarians team is such a thrill. We were just thrilled to be on the same field as such great players and to have such a competitive game in the final.

After needing extra-time to edge past second seeds HSBC Penguins in the semi-finals, the Barbarians fell just short of a fairy-tale debut, with the GFI HKFC Tens representing their first tournament as an invitational team drawn from across the Asia Pacific region.

It was a great game, we were down 28-7 and to get back to 28-24 was great, said Campese, who scored 64 tries in 101 caps for Australia. We have got so much talent available from all parts of the region and it gives an opportunity for these guys to play alongside Christian Cullen and George Gregan. This is the whole idea of the Asia Pacific Barbarians and hopefully they will go back and spread the word after they reached the final of the Hong Kong Tens.

Australia Country Invitational went one better than last year after beating the all aboriginal Glen Ella coached Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team to win the Plate with hard-fought 10-7 victory.

Tries from Michael Woodward and Dan Kelly handed the Australia Country Invitational a 10-0 lead at half-time.

The Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team capitalised on two second half yellow cards with James Beaufils late score setting up a tense finish only for Australia Country Invitational to hold on.

It has been great. The standard of the tournament improves every year and it is good to get a lot of the amateur blokes together and see and play against some of the top international players, so it has been a great experience, said Australia Country Invitational coach Cameron Ireland. The boys performed a lot better than I expected them to in a couple of the games and we got a tough game at the end which we expected. It was great to have an all-Aussie final at the end and the better guys got out on top.

Newedge Club ended Hong Kong Football Clubs barren run at the GFI HKFC Tens by beating Champion Systems Overseas Old Boys 49-19 in the Bowl final.

With the tournament hosts last tasting success with a Plate victory in 2000, Mike McKee scored four tries in the final to mark Hong Kong Football Clubs 125th anniversary in style.

We knew the first day was going to be hard, you have got some tough opposition, but I just said to the guys lets re-gather on Thursday morning and lets win some silverware and I cant ask for anything more, said Newedge Club coach Rob Naylor. Mike McKee is an outstanding player, he is usually a full-back but I put him in at scrum-half and he shone through, four tries in a final is great.

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