The BGC Asia Pacific Dragons scored in sudden death in a dramatic Cup final at the GFI HKFC Tens, beating Tradition YCAC 12-7. In a finish that could not be scripted, the two best teams of the GFI HKFC Tens wrestled back and forth in the nerve-jangling final that was won in sudden-death extra-time by a sensational solo try from the tournament’s equal top try-scorer Waisea Nacuqu.
With Tradition YCAC and BGC APD tied on a converted try each after regulation time, the 10-minute extra time spell was just 40 seconds old when Nacuqu took the ball from a line-out, faked right and kept drifting right, running from just on the halfway to score in the corner. A “very happy” Nacuqu – with eight tries for the tournament – said immediately after the game that the try was something he had always thought about. “It was a dream, scoring a last-minute try,” he said. “It was sudden death and I just tried to lead my team.”
Sainivalati Ramuwai was the other try scorer for the Dragons and Sakiusa Gavidi, 22, was the sole try-scorer for Tradition, and was among the best on ground. Dragons coach Tana Umaga said it was “awesome to go back to back” with a team that grew together over the two-day tournament. The BGC APD becomes the first team since the Aliens in 2010 to go back to back.
“There’s a little more to this one. We couldn’t rely on some of the internationals and superstars from years gone by and we had to work hard for it,” Umaga said. “Some guys really stepped up, some guys that, you know, are playing alongside superstars and have just come from club rugby and have never left the country before. So we’re really happy. “We just showed heart. We were up against a side that had cut teams to ribbons and we backed our defence and we worked hard for each other. We talk highly about what we do and who we do it for, and, I think, you know, that showed that we left it out there tonight. You’ve got to give credit to tradition for making the final. It was clearly the best two teams in the competition.” The final was dominated by defence, with the two teams set to restrict the expansive play of the other.”
A disappointed Tradition YCAC halfback and scrumhalf Rocky Khan earned a yellow card for what the referee labelled cynical play. “I thought it was a penalty and I took it,” he said after the game. “I’m disappointed. You always want to try to win a tournament as a player. Full credit to the BGC Asia Pacific Dragons they came out and played and when their chance came they took it.”
Tradition halfback and scrumhalf Rocky Khan has played Sevens for New Zealand and was the first player of Asian ethnicity to play in the black jersey. He could also see the Dragons going back-to-back this year.
The Dragons boast a blend of rising talent from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, including five Fijian players with Sevens Rugby experience. The side also features big names such as Samoan World Cup playmaker Tusi Pisi, 32, who currently stars for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan (runners up in this year’s All-Japan Championship) and Tongan flanker Nili Latu, who captained his nation at the 2007 World Cup. The tournament’s equal top try-scorer was Louis Hazlehurst, 22, No 8 for the A Trade Overseas Old Boys. Hazlehurst added to his tally with a five-pointer in a Quarter Final against Allied World Forces Exiles.
“I had five tries in the game against Shandong. It would have been six but I gave one away to the prop because, you know, they do the hard work. Without them I wouldn’t be going over to finish,” says the product of the Sharks set-up in Durban. In the other finals last night, the French Development Team beat Samurai International 19-5 in a spiteful final. In the Shield Final, Allied World Forces Exiles beat Natixis HKFC 38-26, and UBB GaveKal beat A Trade Overseas Old Boys, 29-12, in the Bowl Final.
Full results are available at www.hongkongtens.com/teams-fixtures.php
Sixteen teams will compete in four round-robin pools on Day One of the GFI HKFC Tens before progressing into the Cup, Plate, Bowl, and Shield competitions on Day Two. As well as attracting past and present stars of rugby, fans will also be able to catch a glimpse of future greats with many young up-and-coming players now using the GFI HKFC Tens as a high-quality tournament to showcase their rugby skills.
The Nesbitt Centre was this year’s affiliated charity and receive the proceeds from today’s entrance fee and on-site donations. More than HK$130,000 was raised. GFI Group returned for their 10th year as title sponsor of the GFI HKFC Tens and will be joined by fellow sponsors, Allied World, DHL, Swire Properties, Q-Net, Natixis and Fosters. Since GFI came on board as title sponsor, the tournament has attracted rugby legends Joe Roff and Toutai Kefu (both 2006), Jonah Lomu (2007), Brian Lima (2008), Bobby Skinstad (2009), Waisale Serevi (2010), George Gregan and Christian Cullen (2011), Mils Muliaina (2012) Justin Marshall (2011 and 2012), and last year’s wining captain, George Smith.
Now in its 30th year, the GFI HKFC Tens is sanctioned by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) and is held on the Wednesdayand Thursday before the world-famous Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.