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Valley and Tigers top table in Old Mutual Hong Kong Premiership

Societe Generale Valley proved too strong for Kowloon in the match of the round in the Old Mutual International Men’s Premiership on Saturday, leading throughout to win 27-12.The round’s other matches saw the Borelli Walsh USRC Tigers notch a come-from-behind 27-21 win over Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC, while Natixis HKFC blanked Bloomberg HK Scottish 35-0.

It was a trio of internationals that got Valley off to the perfect start, with fly half Ben Rimene slotting a penalty before inside centre Matt Rosslee and front rower Ben Higgins found the try line.Rimene converted the second of those efforts to give his side a 15-0 lead after 29 minutes at Happy Valley.

Ben Madgwick found the line just before half-time to give Kowloon a much-needed boost going into the break, with Jack Neville slotting the extras to make it 15-7.

But it was all one-way traffic after the break, with No 8 Thomas Lamboley and prop Taukiha’amea Koloamatangi piling on tries of their own as the score ballooned to 27-7 early in the second half.

Speedster Fong Kit-fung conjured a consolation try for Kowloon late in the match but that couldn’t stop Valley regaining a share of top spot with Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers.

“It was a tough old game, we were delighted to get the win,” Valley coach Andrew Kelly said. “We really only had one day preparation with the guys being away and then having a few days off after the internationals. It was great to have them back, Ben Rimene wasn’t selected so in a way it was good for us because he was fresh to play.

“I think we had dominance in the set piece area because they had a few of their front rowers out. We made that dominance tell and we managed to convert that pressure into points.

“They’re a good team and they move the ball around really well but we just squeezed them out in the end. I think when they have got all their team together they are a very dangerous side and we were just fortunate they had a few of their main guys out.”

Kelly praised the even effort of his side but did highlight a number of individual efforts.

“One of the good performances was Hugo Chui on the wing, he’s a young fella who has joined us this year and has been excellent,” Kelly said.

“Our forwards were great again in the scrum and the line-out. Ben Higgins, Dayne Jans, big Martin [Muller] our captain, they were great and our back row was getting around the pitch as well.”

Tigers were forced to dig deep into their bag of tricks to get out of jail against HKCC at King’s Park after trailing for the first hour of the match and only hitting the front with 10 minutes to go.

The Cricketers had their opponents on the hop early and forced a number of mistakes, with scrum half Jack Metters slotting the first nine points of the match from the tee.

Tigers’ fly half Michael Harman also slotted three penalties of his own in the opening half, but it was a try to HKCC winger Seb Brien that ensured his side had a 14-9 lead at the break.

HKCC extended their lead 12 minutes into the second half when opposite winger Owen Pescod also found the line and at 21-9 they were very much looking the winners.

It took skipper Josh Hrstich to ignite the Tigers, with the No 8’s 58th-minute try sparking a run of 18 unanswered points.

Outside centre Braam Gerber also got in on the act with a touch down of his own to level the scores, while Liam Gallaher was on target with two late penalties to seal the deal.

After thumping HKCC 68-17 in their last outing, the tables were turned on Bloomberg HK Scottish as HKFC ran amok at Football Club. Fullback Glyn Hughes notched 15 points and winger Josh Birch added a brace of tries as Club blanked Scottish 33-0 in the first whitewash of the Premiership season.

Club led 20-0 at the break after captain Mitch Andrews and winger Liam Herbert added tries to Hughes’ two penalties and two conversions in the opening stanza.The match devolved into a messy affair with Scottish losing captain Josh Dowsing to a red card mid-way through the second half, while Football Club fly-half Nate De Thierry was shown a yellow card moments later. Birch made short-handed Scottish suffer with two tries in the final six minutes to bring the total to 35-0 and keep HKFC within range of co-leaders Tigers and Valley at the top of the table.

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Valley and Tigers top table in Old Mutual Hong Kong Premiership