Hong Kong Tens confirm teams and pools

Hong Kong Tens confirm teams and pools

The teams taking part in the GFI Hong Kong Football Club Tens 2010 were announced today in Hong Kong. Sixteen teams comprising of former and future stars will come from every corner of the globe to celebrate 25 years of the Tens alongside the best that local rugby can offer.

The teams taking part in the GFI Hong Kong Football Club Tens 2010 were announced today in Hong Kong. Sixteen teams comprising of former and future stars will come from every corner of the globe to celebrate 25 years of the Tens alongside the best that local rugby can offer.

The tournament precedes the world famous Hong Kong Sevens (26-28 March) the sixth leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, that follows the Tens across the weekend. Defending Cup champions Aliens, runners-up Alternative New Zealand Legends and Plate champions Penguin International RFC are all returning for another tilt at the Tens title in Hong Kong.

Samurai International, Scatterlings of Africa, Borneo Eagles, Australian Country Invitational, Germany’s Wild Titans and the KIR Club Pyrenees are just a few of the international complement appearing at the Hong Kong Football Club at the end of the month.

Befitting their status as returning champions, the Aliens are the tournament top seeds and head Pool A where they will be joined by last year’s debut side and eventual Bowl winners, Scatterlings of Africa, which will again be led by former Springbok flanker Bob Skinstad. Australian Country Invitational and mainland side China Agricultural University, China’s first established rugby club and a nursery for Team China, round out the pool.

Pool B sees 2009 Cup runners-up Alternative New Zealand Legends in the top slot alongside the Wild Titans from Germany, the Hill & Associates Hong Kong Barbarians and British Forces side Flying Kukris. It was also announced today that rugby legend Waisale Serevi will be lining up with the Hong Kong Barbarians.

Serevi looks for Tens glory

Serevi should be a useful addition to the Barbarians, a team drawn from players that play locally in the domestic league but who fall outside of the various eligibility requirements required to represent Hong Kong.

Speaking about his “new” team from Papua New Guinea where he is coaching the Men’s Sevens side, Serevi said “I am excited to try my hand at Tens, especially back in Hong Kong. I understand that the Baa baas won the Plate in 2008 and I want to go one better in 2010.”

Pool C is headed by the world-famous Penguin International RFC under ex-Scotland coach Frank Hadden and Steve Hill. The Penguins will be out for revenge after reaching the final in 2007 and 2008 and being the ranked as the tournament’s top seed in 2009 only to bow out in the Cup quarter final against Aliens.

Last year’s Plate win will not be enough to satisfy this brood of hungry Penguins. Another UK-based team features in Pool C, Samurai International, who have announced that this year they will be dedicating their performance in memory of their former manager Colin Hillman, who was also the former Technical Coach for the Wales Sevens team before passing away last summer. 2009 Shield Champions Cardiff University and hosts Hong Kong Football Club complete the Pool.

Pool D is topped by tournament fourth seeds Borneo Eagles, who walked away with the recent Darwin Sevens. Also in Pool D is the KIF French Pyrenees team featuring towering forward Patrick Tabacco who was capped 25 times for France including at Rugby World Cup 2003.

The Irish Vikings and Old Boys complete Pool D. The Tens features 16 teams competing for four honours: the Cup, the Plate, the Bowl and the Shield. On Day 1, the 16 teams will play a round robin competition within their pool. The top two teams in each pool advance to the Cup, while the third and fourth teams in each pool advance to the Bowl. On Day 2, the losers of the Cup quarterfinals enter the Plate, while the losers in the Bowl quarterfinals enter the Shield.