x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sunnier climes to Pale Tauti's taste as Hong Kong rack up big win

Hong Kong followed up their thrashing of the UAE with another polished display in their 44-17 win over Kenya in their second match of the Emirates Cup of Nations.

DUBAI // Hong Kong, the joint masterminds behind the formation of the Emirates Cup of Nations, are currently getting significantly more out of the competition than their hosts.

The UAE and Hong Kong, the two leading amateur nations in Asia, came up with the idea of this tournament as a means of raising standards and closing the gap on the continent's leading side, Japan.

The part-time players of the UAE, or the Arabian Gulf, the representative side's former guise until the start of this year, rarely played any international rugby other than the annual Asian Five Nations.

For Hong Kong, the tournament replaces their annual winter tour of Europe, and they are grateful both for the warmer playing conditions as well as the standard of competition.

"Due to snow over there, we have decided to can that idea and play in this tournament instead," Pale Tauti, the Hong Kong captain, said.

"It is way better than we expected, having four teams of different calibre, from different parts of the world and continents. It is a fantastic competition."

It is no surprise that Tauti holds the new competition, which it is hoped will become an annual feature of the UAE rugby calendar, in such high regard given the form his side have displayed on Pitch 2 of The Sevens ground.

Hong Kong followed up their thrashing of the Emirates with another polished display in their 44-17 win over Kenya yesterday evening.

Charles French, their towering second-row forward, scored two tries, while each of their back-three, Adam Raby, Rowan Varty and Mike McKee also crossed the whitewash.

The UAE can expect a forward-dominated battle from their final encounter against Kenya on Friday.

All three Kenyan tries arrived from close-range pushovers, but the Asian side were down to 14 men when each of them was scored.