FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HONG KONG: Penguins captain Antonio Kiri Kiri described Scotland’s Projecx Waterboys as a “dark horse” after the two teams played out a thrilling 12-12 draw in the Pool B finale at the 33rd GFI HKFC 10s, which concludes at Hong Kong Football Club on Thursday.
Both teams won their first two matches, but the second-seeded Penguins, champions in 2013 and 2016, topped the group on most tries scored.
Pyrenees of France also emerge as potential Cup contenders at GFI HKFC 10s after drawing with three-time finalists Samurai in final Pool D match
Fourth seeds Samurai International also only topped their group on tries scored after playing out a thrilling 17-17 draw with fifth seeds Kir Club Pyrenees, while top seeds UBB Gavekal – who won the Cup for the first time last year – and third seeds Tradition YCAC topped the other pools.
Kiri Kiri, 26, was co-captain of the Penguins side that beat Samurai in the 2016 final and said the team might benefit from their last pool match, which followed wins over Irish Vikings (52-0) and Natixis HKFC (34-14).
“We got ahead early against the Waterboys, but we couldn’t hold them off. They’re a pretty good side and capitalised on a couple of opportunities and gave us a bit of a fight there. We’re pretty happy to take the draw in the end – we looked like losing for a second,” said the former All Blacks Sevens forward who made his Super Rugby debut this year for the Blues.
“We can take some positives from it. We saw a few things we haven’t seen yet as a team, on attack and defence. We have an opportunity to work on those, so when they come again tomorrow, we’ll be ready for them.
“I think Waterboys could be a real dark horse here, while there’s also Samurai’s Fijians and the defending champs, UBB. It’s going to be a big final day. I’m looking forward to it.”
Kylem O’Donnell, Kiri Kiri’s co-captain in 2016, is playing for YCAC with his brother Declan O’Donnell, much to the Penguins leader’s surprise.
“I had no idea until I saw Kylem in our hotel walking around with his brother in his YCAC gear! I’m pretty disappointed not to have him here with me,” said Kiri Kiri. “He’s a bloody great player and the Player of the Tournament last time, so we’ve got a bit of work ahead of us if we come across him.”
YCAC had to work hard to beat US debutants CCIG Tigers 12-0 following a 45-0 romp over Devils Own Shanghai Silver Devils and finished with a 17-0 win over sixth seeds King’s College sponsored by Strategic Equity Alliance.
Declan was one of the first day’s standouts and the 27-year-old said he enjoyed his debut at the 10s, having watched the tournament previously while with New Zealand for the Hong Kong Sevens.
“I only got a couple of tries today, but I gave a few assists for the boys as well,” smiled O’Donnell, who moved from the Blues to the Chiefs this year.
“We’re playing all right, but in dribs and drabs. I think when we get it all together, we’ll be one of the top contenders, but all the other sides are the same. They’ve all had scares. Penguins drew their last game when they should have won, so it just shows.”
UBB struggled to beat 16th seeds Hunter + Boo East Africans 10-7 in their Pool A opener, found their rhythm in a 47-0 win over 12th seeds A-Trade Overseas Old Boys and had to come from behind to beat Classic Wallabies 29-5.
Head coach Matt Clarkin is looking to lead the top seeds to back-to-back Cup titles, but the former UBB captain played down his team’s chances as well as the shock of almost losing to the bottom seeds.
“We weren’t exactly happy with our first hit out, but I think we were just finding our feet. There’s a lot of new guys so we’re trying to make combinations and luckily we managed to scrape a win and learned a hell of a lot from it. That shows the boys are intelligent enough to learn from their mistakes and we were happy with the second win,” said Clarkin.
“Against the Wallabies, we wanted to start well, so conceding an early try wasn’t ideal, but the boys showed character to come back and take control of the game. I think we’ll compete with the big boys again, but we’re not thinking about the Cup yet. You look too far ahead, you end up falling over your feet.”
Samurai – fielding an all-Fijian squad coached by Nasoni Roko – beat Sedbergh School Old Boys 42-0, came from behind to beat Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles 34-19 and had to hold on for a draw with a highly motivated Pyrenees side, who will face YCAC in the quarter-finals.
GFI has title sponsored the event since 2006. Other sponsors and suppliers for 2018 include Natixis (Gold Sponsor), AIA, Allied World, BT, DHL, Q-Net and Taikoo Place (Silver Sponsors), CBRE, EY and Markel (Bronze Sponsors), Last Word Media, Volvo (Official Car), Grolsch (Official Beer) and Samurai Sportswear (Official Apparel).
The Official Charity is the My Name’s Doddie Foundation, created in support of former Scotland and Lions lock Doddie Weir who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Inaugurated in 1986 to celebrate Hong Kong Football Club’s centenary, the GFI HKFC 10s has long attracted the game’s top players including seven All Blacks who won the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino (both 2003), Ben Smith, Charlie Faumuina (both 2008), Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane (both 2010) and Nehe Milner-Skudder (2013).
09:00 Classic Wallabies (8) v Natixis HKFC (15)
09:30 Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles (9) v Devil’s Own Shanghai Silver Dragons (14)
09:55 CCIG Tigers (10) v Sedbergh School Old Boys (13)
10:25 Irish Vikings (11) v Hunter + Boo East Africans (16)
11:15 UBB Gavekal (1) v Projecx Waterboys (7)
11:45 Samurai International (4) v King’s College sponsored by Strategic Equity Alliance (6)
12:10 Tradition YCAC (3) v Kir Club Pyrenees (5)
12:40 Turkish Airlines Penguins (2) v A-Trade Overseas Old Boys (12)
Note: Seeding in brackets
Times: Wed, April 4: 9.30am-8.30pm; Thu, April 5: 9.00am-7.30pm
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For more information, visit:
Website: www.hongkongtens.com (Match Schedule, Live Streaming)
YouTube: www.youtube.com/hkfc10s (Live Streaming)
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GFIHKFC10s (Facebook Live)
App (Google Play): GFI HKFC 10s
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. Since GFI started its title sponsorship, 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), Rico Gear (2011, 2013, 2015), Jimmy Cowan, Carl Hayman and Nate Ebner (2016), and Damien Traille, Wendell Sailor, Luke Burgess, Stephen Hoiles and Morgan Turinui (2017). 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
About My Name’5 Doddie Foundation
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was established in October 2017 by Doddie Weir, with the support of his family and friends, in response to the former Scotland and Lions lock being diagnosed as suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. Weir shared the news in June 2017. The foundation raises funds to research and investigate the causes and help in the search for potential cures for MND. Trustees Gary Armstrong, Finlay Calder, Scott Hastings, John Jeffrey, Kathy Weir and Stewart Weir believe the Trust can serve as a way of giving the Weir family the practical help they need, while raising the profile of this degenerative condition. Funds will be used to support research by the likes of MND Scotland and the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research, as well as for other sufferers of MND and their families. Twitter: @MNDoddie5; Website:www.myname5doddie.co.uk