Week 2 of Asia’s premier 15-a-side national team rugby competition, the Asian 5 Nations (A5N) returns to Hong Kong this weekend.
Hong Kong hosts defending champions Japan this Saturday on the stone-hard Hong Kong Football Club’s synthetic pitch in Happy Valley.
The match kicks off at 4.00pm and entry is free.
Elsewhere in the tournament the UAE host Kazakhstan in Abu Dhabi on Friday in this week’s other fixture, while Top Five first-timers Sri Lanka have a bye.
The HSBC Asian 5 Nations comprises the Top Five and a further five four-team divisions, with promotion and relegation for the top and bottom sides in each. The Top 5 this year comprises: Japan, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, UAE and Sri Lanka.
Hong Kong have the toughest task as they face Japan, who last week had a bye and instead travelled to the SAR early as they begin their quest for a fourth successive HSBC Asian 5 Nations, while also preparing for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Hong Kong began their campaign last week with a trip to Almaty, where they won 23-10 against Kazakhstan, runners-up to Japan in last year’s HSBC Asian 5 Nations.
Japan coach John Kirwan has stated that his Japan side will be fully motivated as they seek to continue their 100 per cent record in the competition since it began in 2008.
A5N defending champions Japan with the very impressive trophy in 2010
Giving back: The HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour
Kirwan, a star for New Zealand as they won the World Cup in 1987, will also be active this Thursday with the HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour, which will stage clinics for youngsters from local schools and mini rugby clubs during the week and the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children on match day.
Former Scotland coach Frank Hadden, the HSBC Penguin International Coaching Academy and players from Hong Kong and Japan will all be involved in the sessions.
Mark McCombe, CEO of HSBC Hong Kong, said: “HSBC is looking forward to Hong Kong’s first home match in the 2011 HSBC Asian 5 Nations and we know there will be a big, enthusiastic crowd cheering them on.
“It’s part of our investment in the game as we seek to introduce more and more people in the SAR to the game of rugby.
“As such, we’re excited about the ongoing grassroots work being done by the HSBC ARFU Rugby Coaching Tour including the ongoing relationship with the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children. We’re also delighted that Japan coach John Kirwan, who’s also an HSBC rugby ambassador, is so actively involved in the programme,” McCombe added.
(Source: our sister-site Howzit-HongKong.com)
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