Wounded Samurai continue Cup quest at GFI HKFC 10s

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December 19, 2016:

Samurai again try to win the one Cup missing from their trophy cabinet, while three-time champions Asia Pacific Dragons and two-time finalists Tradition YCAC are also among 13 teams returning in 2017

Hong Kong; Despite losing three finals in the past seven years, Samurai International have pledged to again try to win the GFI HKFC 10s when they compete at the tournament’s 32nd edition from April 5-6, 2017.

The UK-based invitational side will make an eighth successive appearance – and 11th in total – at Hong Kong Football Club, where The Penguins will defend the Cup after beating Samurai 5-0 in this year’s final following a try in the second period of sudden-death extra-time.

Three-time champions Asia Pacific Dragons and two-time finalists Tradition YCAC lost in the semi-finals this year and are also among the leading 13 teams from the 2016 competition who will compete in 2017.

BCG Asia Pacific Dragons (in red) defeat Devils Own Shanghai Rugby (in grey) 48 to 0 during day 1 of GFI HKFC Rugby Tens 2016 on 06 April 2016 at Hong Kong Football Club in Hong Kong, China. Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano / Power Sport Images

A-Trade Overseas Old Boys, Scottish Exiles, Projecx Waterboys, King’s College at UQ, Kir Club Pyrenees, UBB Gavekal, Irish Vikings, GFI East Africans and hosts Natixis HKFC also return. Overseas Old Boys, Pyrenees and HKFC won the Plate, Bowl and Shield respectively in 2016.

Samurai could be the sentimental favourites in April as the GFI HKFC 10s is the only tournament the well travelled touring side have participated in that they haven’t won at least once.

After appearances in 2003, 2004 and 2007, Samurai first reached the final in 2010, losing 10-0 to seven-time champions Aliens. In 2013, Samurai were denied a late try by the touch judge before The Penguins counter-attacked to score and win 21-14.

Samurai International RFC vs Penguins during the Cup final at GFI HKFC Rugby Tens 2016 on 07 April 2016 at Hong Kong Football Club in Hong Kong, China. Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano / Power Sport Images

Samurai manager Terry Sands still believes his side should have been awarded what would have been a winning try, but said the extra-time defeat in 2016 was even more painful following an exhausting half-hour final described as “the hardest game I’ve ever played” by Penguins co-captain Antonio Kiri Kiri, an All Blacks Sevens forward.

The star-studded Samurai squad featured 2015 Super Bowl winner Nate Ebner, four England Sevens players, the Canada 15s captain and six New Zealanders, but injuries and call-ups to the Hong Kong Sevens took their toll and Sands was heartbroken to see the trophy remain out of reach yet again.

Both 2013 and 2016 losses hurt. In 2013 we had a try disallowed that was later shown as being a good try and not in touch. That hurt us bad, but 2016 hurt us hardest,” said Sands, who founded Samurai International RFC in 1996 and is a former England Sevens team manager.

We lost John Brake before the semi-final as he was called up by England Sevens and then just before the kick-off for the Cup final we also lost our MVP Cameron Cowell to England Sevens.

We only had a squad of 13 players for two 12-minute halves and gave everything we had, but then had to endure extra time. Maybe we’re destined never to win the HK10s. The GFI HKFC 10s is the only trophy missing in our cabinet and it’s getting harder to win every year.”

Tradition YCAC (in flowered shirts) defeat XBlades Rowzy Pegasi 63 to 0 during GFI HKFC Rugby Tens 2016 on 06 April 2016 at Hong Kong Football Club in Hong Kong, China. Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano / Power Sport Images

This year Sands’ side won the Super Sevens Series UK, the Bury 7s and Chester 7s in England, the Independence 7s in Nigeria and the Dublin 7s in Ireland.

We have won several tournaments this year, but all are sevens, which is our speciality,” Sands said.

The only 10s we play is in Hong Kong. We are not 10s specialists and it is a very different game, but we have been close! We will be back in 2017 and of course we would love to add the GFI HKFC 10s trophy to our list of successes.

Immediately after this year’s GFI HKFC 10s, Ebner was called up for USA for the Hong Kong Sevens and later played in the Olympics, while New Zealand-born Dan Temm went on to make his England debut on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai this month.

Renowned as the world’s best annual 10-a-side tournament, the GFI HKFC 10s has long attracted the game’s top players including seven of the New Zealand team who won the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino, Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Sam Cane and Charlie Faumuina.

Along with GFI, other sponsors in 2017 include Natixis (gold sponsor), DHL, Q-Net and Withers (silver), CBRE, CPA Global (bronze) and Pure Blonde (official beer).

For more information, visit:
Website: www.hongkongtens.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HKFC10s
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GFIHKFC10s
Instagram: www.instagram.com/gfihkfc10s
YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/hkfc10s
#HK10s #WorldsBest10s


Press release distributed by i3 Sports on behalf of GFI HKFC 10s

Photo credit: Power Sport Images for HKFC.

PR & Media: i3 Sports
Contact: John Higginson, Director of Communications, i3 Sports
Tel: +852 2459-1655; Mob: +852 6626-1443; Email: john@ii-int.com
Website: www.ii-int.com

Tournament Director: Will Thomas
Will Thomas, Director of Rugby, Hong Kong Football Club
Mob: +852 6383-3970; Email: william_thomas@hkfc.com
Website: www.hkfcrugby.com

Tournament Organiser: Laxton Events
Contact: Andrew Brown, Director of Operations, Laxton Events
Tel: +852 2866-6077; Mob: +852 9821-4020; Email: andrew@laxtonevents.com
Website: www.laxtonevents.com

About GFI HKFC 10s
Hong Kong Football Club has hosted the 10s every year since it was first staged in 1986 to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary. The GFI HKFC 10s is annually held on the Wednesday and Thursday before the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens and is also sanctioned by the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU). GFI Group, a leading provider of brokerage services and trading support products, has title sponsored the event since 2006. The tournament traditionally attracts many stars of the game, including seven of the New Zealand squad that won the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In the past decade, the tournament has featured Joe Roff and Toutai Kefu (both 2006), Jonah Lomu (2007), Brian Lima and Israel Dagg (2008), Bob Skinstad (2009), Waisale Serevi, Beauden Barrett and Sam Cane (2010), George Gregan and Christian Cullen (2011), Justin Marshall (2011, 2012), Mils Muliaina (2012), Marty Holah and Nehe Milner-Skudder (2013), George Smith, Alesana Tuilagi and Rupeni Caucaunibuca (2014), Todd Clever (2012, 2013, 2015) and Rico Gear (2011, 2013, 2015), Jimmy Cowan, Carl Hayman and Nate Ebner (2016). Website: www.hongkongtens.com

About GFI Group Inc.
Founded in New York in 1987 and acquired by BGC Partners in 2015, GFI Group Inc (GFI) provides competitive wholesale market brokerage services in a multitude of global over-the-counter (OTC) and exchange listed cash and derivatives markets. Over more than 25 years, GFI has expanded both organically and through acquisitions into a broad range of markets, including fixed income derivatives, cash fixed income, emerging market financial products, energy and commodity derivatives, and equities. GFI employs more than 2,100 people with additional offices in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Cape Town, Santiago, Bogota, Lima, Dubai, Dublin, Tel Aviv, Calgary, Los Angeles and Sugar Land (TX). GFI provides services and products to over 2,600 institutional clients, including leading investment and commercial banks, corporations, insurance companies and hedge funds. Its brands include GFISM, GFInet®, CreditMatch®, GFI ForexMatch®, EnergyMatch®, FENICS®, Starsupply® and Amerex®. Website: www.gfigroup.com

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Matt McCarthy comes to RugbyWrapUp.com from their partner in the USA, MeetTheMatts.com. RWU and MTM feature a stable of diverse contributors, with coverage that is both serious and with a wink. Find him on twitter: @Matt_McCarthy00