Hong Kong cemented their place in the World Junior Rugby Championship by outsmarting Sri Lanka in both legs to win the Asia U19 title over the weekend. The win over the junior tuskers also escorted them to their fifth consecutive title and fifth appearance in the world tournament.
After losing 37-8 in Colombo, Sri Lanka came up with a much better performance but the home team was up and well equipped for any challenge. Hong Kong beat Sri Lanka 40-7 in the second leg at the Hong Kong Football Club.
“Credit to Sri Lanka their intensity really was at another level today. They really went up a gear throughout the game, but for us, it shows that it is the details that really count. When we executed our game plan, and it wasn’t complicated – it is about guys knowing where they need to be and working hard off the ball – and when we did that we got our rewards,” said Hong Kong coach Stephen Dowse to the South China Morning Post.
Sri Lanka v Hong Kong – Colombo Leg
Marcus Ramage’s first try set the tone for Hong Kong in the first leg at the Racecourse Grounds in Colombo. Chathura Seneviratne’s kick got things going for the junior tuskers. At the break, Hong Kong led 22-03 with 4 tries and a conversion.
Theekshana Dassanayake’ scored Sri Lanka’s first try but that was it for the home team. Hong Kong went on to win the leg 37-8. Marcus Ramage was adjudged player of the match.
Sri Lanka v Hong Kong – Hong Kong Leg
Sri Lanka, with a mountain to climb, started the second leg pretty well to trail only by 7 points at halftime (14-7). However, the home team introduced their key players in the second half and four more tries to win 40-7.
Paul Altier was adjudged player of the match.
“In the first half we wanted to get guys opportunities and it was great that we were able to do that. We blooded six or seven 17-year olds out there today and we don’t get the opportunity to do that too often at this level,” added Dowse.
“Every year younger guys are coming in and playing Premiership rugby and that is certainly helping. I think it was a great experience for those guys who came on and a few of the older heads coming off the bench in the second half perhaps just steadied the ship a bit.”
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