Hong Kong will stage its first ever Super Rugby
match on 19 May 2018 at Mong Kok Stadium when Japan’s Hito-Communications
Sunwolves host South Africa’s DHL Stormers in Week 14 of the
19-week 2018 regular season.
Although the Sunwolves will be on
debut in the city, the side features some familiar faces for local
fans – including over 10,000 Japanese residents in the city,
with test captain and flanker Michael Leitch, scrumhalf Fumi
Tanaka, hooker Shota Horie, backs Yu Tamura, Kenki Fukuoka,
Akihito Yamada, Harumichi Tatekawa and sevens star Lomano
Lemeki all having represented Japan in the city previously.
very much delighted to hold our first ever Mistubishi Estate Super
Rugby home match in Hong Kong against the Stormers on May 19th
at Mong Kok Stadium,” said Mr Yuji Watase, Chief Executive
Officer of the Japan Super Rugby Association. “We are excited
to engage with the Sunwolves fans in Hong Kong, which is home to
one of the most populous rugby communities, and one of the biggest
Japanese communities, in Asia.”
Sunwolves enter the season under a new coach who is also familiar
to local audiences in former All Black and Japan international
Jamie Joseph, who coached the Highlanders in the first ever
appearance of a Super Rugby squad in Hong Kong against Racing
92 in 2016, the year after taking the Highlanders to the Super
The DHL Stormers Hong Kong debut will mark
the second visit of a South African Super Rugby franchise in
the city in 2018, after
Cell C Sharks beat Racing 92 in the
Natixis Cup earlier this month.
The DHL Stormers reached the
quarter-finals of last season’s competition, bowing out following
a 17-11 loss to The Chiefs at the DHL Newlands Stadium in Cape
A host of senior players have signed contract extensions
with Western Province Rugby, the provincial union behind the
DHL Stormers, including the Springbok trio of captain Siya Kolisi,
Damian de Allende and Steven Kitshoff. Springboks Bongi
Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du
Toit are also currently under contract.
The DHL Stormers draw
one of the strongest annual attendances in Super Rugby at
Newlands, and now South Africans in Hong Kong will have their
opportunity to support a home side at the 6,000-seat Mong Kok
DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his
team is looking forward to the experience of playing in front
of a Hong Kong crowd. “This is another first for the DHL
Stormers and something that all of the players and management are
really looking forward to. Our matches against the Sunwolves in
Singapore have been tough encounters, so we know that we are in
for a real test once again,” he said.
Western Province Rugby
Group CEO, Paul Zacks, said that it is particularly exciting to
take the DHL Stormers brand to yet another new territory.“In the last two seasons we have taken the DHL Stormers to both
Singapore and Argentina for the first time, so we are really
looking forward to connecting with our supporters in Hong Kong in
2018. The Faithful can be found all over the world and I am
sure we will get great support in Hong Kong as well,” he said.
It will be a meeting of familiar rivals, after
the two clubs were grouped in last season’s Africa 1
conference, with Stormers finishing top of the conference log.
They swept the series beating Sunwolves 44-31 in Tokyo in week
5 and inflicting a heavier loss, 52-15, on the visitors at
Newlands in week 16.
After a re-structuring of the competition
in the close season, the Stormers are playing in the South
African Conference alongside Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Jaguares,
while Sunwolves are in the Australian Conference with Brumbies,
Rebels, Reds and the Waratahs.
The Sunwolves will open their
campaign against the Brumbies in Tokyo on 24 February, while the
Stormers got their season off to a winning start with a 28-20
victory over the Jaguares on 17 February.
The match in Hong
Kong will shorten the travel distance for the Sunwolves and
becomes one of the three Mitsubishi Estate Super Rugby host
matches they play each year away from Tokyo’s famed Prince
Chichibu Memorial Stadium.
“SANZAAR is excited by the staging
of the Sunwolves versus Stormers match in Hong Kong in May as it
sees Super Rugby enter yet another new territory. The profile of
Rugby in Asia has been elevated with the introduction of the
Sunwolves into Super Rugby with matches already being played in
Tokyo and Singapore, and we welcome this opportunity to promote
the tournament and the game in China,” said Mr Andy Marinos,
Chief Executive Officer of SANZAAR, the body that operates Super
Rugby and The Rugby Championship competitions.
McRobbie, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Rugby Union welcomed
the debut Super Rugby tie in the city long known for its
world-famous Hong Kong Sevens tournament: “Super Rugby is one
of the world’s premier rugby competitions and the Hong Kong Rugby
Union is excited to welcome the Sunwolves and Stormers for the
first ever league fixture here in May. With a thriving rugby
community and a large expatriate population we are confident that
both sides will be well received. With a global television
audience for Super Rugby of nearly 50 million, we are delighted to
be bringing another world-class rugby encounter to the city,
especially one with such significant stakes, as both sides will
be in mid-season form with much to play for. We are confident that
fans will flock to the game and welcome the teams with the
rugby hospitality that Hong Kong has become famous for.”
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015,
Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013,
of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.
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