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Germany cause World Cup upset

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Germany have caused the first major upset of the World Cup repechage

Germany belied their position as the lowest ranked team in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Repechage with an impressive 26-9 defeat of top seeds Hong Kong in the day’s second match at the Stade Delort in Marseille on Sunday.

A powerful second-half display saw Germany triumph over a side who were ranked eight places higher than them in the World Rugby Rankings going into the match.

Canada also made a winning start to the tournament as they bid to preserve their record of having appeared in every Rugby World Cup, scoring 10 tries in a 65-19 defeat of Kenya in which winger DTH van der Merwe scored the first hat-trick of his test career.

Debutant Kurt Haupt and replacement Matthias Schosser scored second-half tries as Germany shocked top seeds Hong Kong in Mike Ford’s first game in charge of the team.

Raynor Parkinson converted both tries, the first coming while their opponents were down to 14 men, and kicked three penalties in addition to one from Christopher Hilsenbeck, while all nine of Hong Kong’s points came from the boot of fly-half Matt Rosslee.

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Hong Kong possessed the most dangerous individual on the pitch in winger Salom Yiu Kam Shing, and it was the first of his four clean breaks in the first half that led to Hong Kong taking the lead against the run of play in the 11th minute.

Yiu Kam Shing took a pop pass from Rosslee at pace in midfield and raced 40 metres before being brought to ground. Hong Kong kept the ball through several phases and eventually forced a penalty which Rosslee slotted through the posts.

Soon after, Parkinson missed a straightforward attempt in front of goal, after Germany’s heavy pack had won a scrum penalty, but his next strike was much better, and the scores were level again with 23 minutes gone.

Another searing run from Yiu Kam Shing put Hong Kong into a good attacking position and Rosslee kicked the three points when the scrambling German defence was caught offside.

After a desperate last-ditch tackle by flanker Sebastian Ferreira had denied the lively Yiu Kam Shing, Germany kicked their second penalty in the 38th minute, Hilsenbeck stepping up in the temporary absence of Parkinson due to a facial injury.

Parkinson returned from the half-time break with tape wrapped around his nose, but the makeshift protection did not put him off as he kicked Germany into a 9-6 lead on 48 minutes.

Rosslee replied in kind shortly afterwards but, by now, Germany’s heavyweight forwards were starting to take an even firmer grip on the contest.

Parkinson’s third penalty put them 12-9 up with an hour gone and the match swung further in their favour when Hong Kong lost replacement forward Kane Boucaut to the sin-bin for illegally collapsing another impressive German maul.

Halfway through the sin-bin period, Germany struck the telling blow when Haupt, a powerful ball carrier throughout, handed off Thomas Lamboley and stormed over from 22 metres out, Parkinson converting to make it 19-9.

Hong Kong were unable to find a way back and Germany sealed victory in the closing stages when scrum-half Sean Armstrong gathered an overthrown Hong Kong lineout five metres out and Schosser crossed from a pick and go.

Germany captain Michael Poppmeier: “That was an extremely intense 80 minutes. The first 40 was a bit equal and then I think maybe our fitness got us towards the end, the last 20. Our subs came on and put in a massive effort. It was 100 per cent fight, as well as a little bit of belief and probably preparation.”

Hong Kong captain James Cunningham: “I am obviously really disappointed, we played some good rugby today but when it mattered we didn’t complete. We had a couple of knock-ons at crucial times in the game, we gave away too many penalties and that was all that Germany needed today to win the game. We can’t keep dwelling on this game, we have got to work hard for these next two games and see what happens with the other results. There were some really positive things that came out of the game and I’m really proud of the boys, but when push came to shove we just didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game.”

The action continues next Saturday, when Hong Kong will look to bounce back against Kenya

Source: World Rugby

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Germany have caused the first major upset of the World Cup repechage