Watch Hong Kong vs Russia Live Streaming 2014 End Of Year Rugby November Test Live Online.This Rugby Union match will be kick off at Kings Park Sports Ground, Hong Kong,Saturday 08 November 2014 online, Time 18:05 HKT and its broadcast on Online Channels,Sky Sports.
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) announced its 33-man training squad to prepare for the upcoming tests against Russia, ranked 20th in the world, in November. Hong Kong will play Russia in a two-test series on November 8th at King’s Park and November 15th at Hong Kong Football Club. Both matches will kick off at 18.00.
The November 15th match will be the showpiece of a festival of rugby at Football Club. The Hong Kong versus Russia tie will be preceded by the NATIXIS Cup between French Top 14 club Racing Metro and the Hong Kong Football Club’s President’s Select at 15.00 with an HKFC-Shanghai interport game at 12.30. Leading French financial institution Natixis sponsors both Racing Metro and Hong Kong Football Club’s Rugby section. Attendance to all matches on both dates is free.
The Hong Kong management team, headed by senior coach Andy Hall and manager Dai Rees, have selected a squad of 31 players to train for the Russia tests while seven other players have also been invited to train or placed on standby to add strength in depth for the campaign.
Rees, also the HKRFU head of technical development and performance, commented on the opposition saying, “We have been working with the IRB on bringing a team ranked near us in world rugby to push us out of our comfort zone. We had some negotiations, and Russia on the back of fighting to qualify for the world cup, was the ideal opponent.”
Russia is currently ranked 20th in the International Rugby Board world rankings while Hong Kong is ranked 24th.
“From a performance perspective, the main reason behind these tests is to vary our opposition and to play other teams rather than the usual suspects in Asia. We need this to push ourselves to the next level with qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2019 in mind,” said Rees.
“We played Belgium here last December in two tests and were lucky enough to push our world rankings up by beating them twice. Hopefully we can repeat the feat against Russia,” Rees added.
The training squad includes many veterans of Hong Kong’s recent international campaigns, including the sweep of Belgium last December and the ARFU Asian 5 Nations and RWC 2015 qualification campaigns earlier this year.
But the selectors will need to plug a few key gaps after the retirements of front row forwards Stephen Nolan and Tom Bolland and No. 8 Pale Tauti. This will become even more important as Russia is expected to bring a physical, forward-orientated side to Hong Kong.
“We expect Russia to provide a stern test up front,” said HKRFU senior coach Andy Hall, “But from the footage we have seen they also have a balanced attack and skill sets that allow them to play a physical but quick tempo game.”
“The retirements of Tom, Steve and Pale leave considerable holes in our pack as will the unavailability of James Cooper for the test series, but it has been great to see [Societe Generale Valley props] Leon Wei and Alex Ng wreaking havoc for opposition front rowers in the league and we are excited to have [USRC Tigers’ hooker] Alvin Chik return to the training squad to give us more strength up front,” said senior coach Andy Hall.
Hall will also be able to evaluate the Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish duo of Jack Parfitt and John Aikman as additional front row support. Both are in contention to make their senior debuts for Hong Kong after being included in the training squad.
Elsewhere, Hall will be comforted by the fact that the remainder of the training squad is highly experienced with 23 players in the training squad having been capped at full representative level over the past two seasons. That experience is reinforced by the inclusion of eight members of Hong Kong’s sevens team that clinched the Asian sevens title last weekend in Beijing, sweeping all three events on the series in 2014.
The sevens squad members are all professional athletes at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, while four additional HKSI rugby sevens athletes have also been called upon in Charles Cheung, Andrew Bridle, Adam Rolston and Calvin Hunter.
Outside of the front row, the remainder of the forward pack in the training squad has a settled feel to it, with Nick Hewson, Matt Lamming, Paul Dwyer, Jack Delaforce, Bill Brant, Alex Harris, Lachlan Chubb and Ng and Wei all having proved their mettle on previous encounters.
Five players in the training squad are in contention to make their Hong Kong senior debut after having satisfied eligibility requirements. Those players are Hong Kong Football Club fullback Jimmy Richards, Kowloon back Duncan Pollock, the Hong Kong Scottish duo of Parfitt and Aikman and Tigers’ lock Calvin Hunter.
Societe Generale Valley, Natixis HKFC and Leighton Asia HKCC each have seven players in the training squad. Premiership league leaders Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish have five players in the training squad while Abacus Kowloon have had three players called up and Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers two.