Aliens face stiff competition at HK 10s

Aliens face stiff competition at HK 10s

Hong Kong 10s defending champions, Aliens, are back and armed with two exciting young prospects - Gareth Anscombe and Simon Munro – who coach Willie Los’e says could play a pivotal role in ther side notching title number nine at the tournament, which gets underway tomorrow (Wednesday).

Hong Kong 10s defending champions, Aliens, are back and armed with two exciting young prospects - Gareth Anscombe and Simon Munro – who coach Willie Los’e says could play a pivotal role in ther side notching title number nine at the tournament, which gets underway tomorrow (Wednesday).

Los’e has picked 19-year-old fly half Anscombe and pacey winger Munro as two players to watch out for as the Aliens attempt to continue their reign at the Hong Kong Football Club as the Tens celebrates its 25th anniversary with a top-quality field in the 16-team tournament.

“Gareth is only 19 and is just out of school and is an exciting prospect while we brought Munro here a few years ago. He is more experienced and will be one to watch for he is a great finisher,” Los’e said.

Only four players have returned from last year’s winning squad – Adrian Donald, William Crispin, Phillip Tuigamala and Daniel Ramsey – and it will be a new beginning for the Alien class of 2010.

“It gets harder every year coming back to defend. It always is, for not only does the quality of the opposition get better and better every year, but because we also lose a lot of the players,” Los’e said.

“This month, the Blues were playing the Brumbies (Super 14s) and we had three players in the Blues who were with this Alien squad a couple of years ago. That’s the nature of this squad, they come here, get exposed to it, and then get selected and go on to play provincial, Super and hopefully international rugby,” Los’e said.

They might keep losing players, but make no mistake, Los’e promised the Aliens will get “better and better” as the tournament progressed. The Aliens are drawn with China Agricultural University, the Australian Country Invitational and the Hong Kong Chairman’s X with their first-up game being against the Beijing team.

“We don’t look too much past our first game. We are going to make mistakes the first time together as we haven’t had enough time together as a team. But at the end of the tournament we will be looking really good. That’s one of the challenges every team faces, but I like what we have got, there is something special and unique about the Aliens,” he added.

Losing Cup finalists last year, the Alternative New Zealand Legends will be making their 10th consecutive appearance. Last year they lost 24-7 to the Aliens and will be determined to put the record right this time.

Comprising a mix of proven New Zealand provincial players and some up-and-coming players, the Legends are coached by Kiwi ‘Jock’ Brendan Laney.

They are grouped with the Wild Titans, who include five German internationals as well as ex-Queensland Reds star Sean Armstrong who will lead the side, the Flying Kukris – a side of soldiers based in Brunei – and local team Hill and Associates Hong Kong Barbarians which will have Fijian sevens legend Waisale Serevi turning out for them.

“Hong Kong has provided me with some of the best moments in my life including lifting two Rugby World Cup Sevens trophies in 1997 and 2005 but one of the few disappointments in Hong Kong is that I have never played at the Tens. I look forward to keeping my winning streak alive in Hong Kong,” said Serevi, a three-time Player of the tournament at the Sevens.

The Penguins coached by former Scotland chief Frank Hadden return to Hong Kong for the fourth time having fallen short on three previous occasions. Their best results came in 2007 and 2008 when they finished runners-up to the New Zealand Metro on both occasions.

They are grouped with ULR Samurai International who will be taking to the field in memory of their long-standing coach Colin Hillman who passed away earlier this year after losing a battle with cancer. The Samurai will be boosted by the presence of Sydney Roosters rugby league star Iwi Hauraki. The other two teams in this group are Cardiff University and hosts CBRE Club.

The final pool comprises the Borneo Eagles, the reigning Malaysian national club 15s champions, the Overseas Old Boys – mostly Hong Kong players who work and study overseas – the Irish Vikings and KIR Club Pyrenees with former France no 8 Patrick Tabaco smoldering for his chance to take the pitch on the storied tournament’s quarter-century anniversary.

The GFI HKFC Tens will be played on March 24 and 25, 2010 at the Hong Kong Football Club. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the event the Hong Kong Tens will be free on Wednesday March 24. Admission is 100HKD