Rugby Rugby

Hong Kong Dragons eye Kenya Simbas revenge

The Hong Kong rugby 15s team arriving at JKIA.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18- Despite the desire to revenge last year’s defeat in Nairobi, Hong Kong intends to use the test match against Simbas slated for Sunday at the RFUEA Ground to scout and identify new talents.

Hong Kong comprises of a blend of youth and experience from a host of players drawn from overseas.

Hong Kong introduced a number of new faces to the team and retained some who can be identified as being the cornerstone of establishing Hong Kong’s enviable position in Asia at U20s.

“We’ve included a number of ERP players, both to give them another competitive opportunity and also to give us some spine and a base to work off of in Kenya. We’ve balanced that with a healthy number of new caps and returning junior players with a view to identify and develop some new talent,” Hong Kong head coach Leigh Jones said.

The Hong Kong Dragons are ranked 24th in the world and had a feeling of the pitch on Friday evening with aim to revenge last year’s 34-14 defeat they suffered in the hands of Kenya.

With the Asia Series starting early next month Players from the Hong Kong Sporting Institute were not selected for the Dragon’s trip to Kenya due to the commencement of the Asian Series early next month.

Kenya Simbas’ Kevin Masai in action against Hong Kong defence.Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Jones sees it as a blessing in disguise since he will miss some players but thinks the situation gives room for younger players

“It’s a critical phase for the sevens programme and their preparations have to take precedence, but that provides another opportunity for us to play some of the youngsters and further expand our base.”

The Dragons hope to sieve more players and retain talented players in Hong Kong with an impending ruling that concerns passport eligibility for rugby players.

The ruling in Asia will increase passport eligibility from three years to five years. This will give room for students in universities polish their talents while at the same time improve the quality of rugby in Hong Kong.

“This suggests that with the impending five year eligibility, we are potentially losing a crucial layer of feeder players into our national team. Moving forward, this will place an even greater emphasis on our development structures in finding and retaining more home-grown talent,” the Hong Kong head coach added.