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Hong Kong Team Prepares for IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2014

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The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2014 will be staged in Asia for the first time when it kicks off at Hong Kong Football Club next month, and the home side are determined to make a big impact.

Hong Kong’s under-20 side will line up with the future stars of world Rugby from eight international unions: Canada, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Tonga, United States and Uruguay, that will take place from 7-19 April, for the seventh playing of the event.

The home side will be looking to the likes of backrower Chris Maize of DeA, and Hong Kong Football Club flanker Raef Morrison for inspiration. The talented duo were involved with Hong Kong’s senior sevens squad that played at the Zimbabwe Sevens last weekend, and are in consideration for this year’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens team.

Maize and Morrison are also elite rugby athletes at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, while lock Mike Parfitt of Hong Kong Cricket Club was training with the Hong Kong 15s squad before the international series against Belgium last December, but had to withdraw through illness.

Others players with great potential are flanker Mike Coverdale of Hong Kong Football Club and centre Theo Rolston of Valley.

“Chris and Raef are obviously influential players for us. Chris is just coming back from injury. That’s the only real worry we have – that players get injured. But we are happy with how our preparations have gone for the tournament,” said team manager, Paul Renouf.

Despite this Hong Kong coach Pale Tauti is under no illusions as to the size of the task at hand.

“We’ll be going in as underdogs for every game but we we’ll be looking to be very competitive, if not get the win. I’ve a lot of confidence in the personnel that we have,” Tauti said.  “The pressure won’t get to them. Most of them have either been featuring in senior men’s domestic rugby here in Hong Kong or played at underage national level. It means they’re getting exposure to adult rugby, which only helps their development. It’s an amazing event and it’ll be a unique experience for the team.”

To rally the support of the Hong Kong community for the team, the under-20 Hong Kong squad will have the honour of leading the teams’ March Past during the final day of this year’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, which takes place from 28-30 March at Hong Kong Stadium.

North American teams USA and Canada are the top seeds in the tournament and head Pools A and B, respectively. Fourth seeds Tonga, fifth seeds Georgia and hosts Hong Kong (eighth seeds) round out Pool A. Pool B sees third seeds Japan, sixth seeds Uruguay and seventh seeds Namibia join the Canadians.

The under-20 tournament will see 16 matches played with the pool stages held on 7, 11 and 15 April. The finals will be held on 19 April.

The last playing of the tournament was in June, 2013 in Chile. Winners of this year's tournament will be promoted to the IRB Junior World Cup 2015.

Hong Kong Squad (Club): Ryan AYLSWORTH (HK Scottish), Sebastien BRIEN (Newcastle), James CHRISTIE (Newcastle), Zac CINNAMOND (HKCC), Patrick COOK (Valley), Michael COVERDALE (HKFC), Elliot CROFT (Uni. Of Nottingham), Joseph DIGNAN (HKCC), Fin FIELD (HKCC), Kevin FIELD (DeA), Calvin HUNTER (DeA), Jason JEYAM (DeA), Oscar KURTEN (DeA), Eric KWOK (City RFC), Chris MAIZE (DeA), John MARKLEY (Valley), Raef MORRISON (HKFC), Nicholas NGAN KEE (HK Scottish), Liam OWENS (VALLEY), Michael PARFITT (HKCC), Rupert PHILLIPS (DeA), Alexander POST (HKCC), Andrew PURTON (HKFC), Theo ROLSTON (Valley), Hugo STILES (Valley), Vincent YOUNG (Kowloon).

Hong Kong JWRT Match Schedule

Monday, 7 April, Hong Kong v USA, 7pm;
Friday, 11 April, Hong Kong v Tonga, 5pm;
Tuesday, 15 April, Hong Kong v Georgia, 1pm.

Saturday, 19 April, JWRT Finals Day (schedule TBC).

All matches will be held at Hong Kong Football Club, admission is free.

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, Rugby, Sevens, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Sevens

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