The BGC Asia Pacific Dragons return to the GFI HKFC Tens as defending champions with the clear objective of becoming the first team to defend the Tens crown since Aliens in 2010. This year’s tournament will be held at the Hong Kong Football Club from 25-26 March 2015.
The BGC APD’s squad draws on some of the best talent from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Coached by All Black legend, Tana Umaga, the team is quietly confident of the team’s chances this year.
“Obviously there is a lot of expectation on us this year; we have a lot of the same side that was here last year but this is also a great opportunity for the lads who will be coming here for the first time,” said Umaga
With the standards and quality of players improving each year, Umaga expects even an even tougher competition than the 2014 tournament, where his team recovered from an early 14-0 deficit to beat Tradition YCAC 29-14 in a sensational Cup final:
“Obviously the Penguins have some quality players, such as Rico Gear and Todd Clever and Tradition YCAC will also be up there as a team to watch. Our first game is against the Allied World Forces Exiles, who are a youthful squad and will be very exuberant and will be a tough first match for us on Wednesday,” said the 74-times capped former All Black.
Umaga added, “Every year they call the Hong Kong Tens a festival; but it’s not a festival anymore. There are some quality sides, quality players, which goes to show that this 10-a-side tournament is held in such high regard.”
Umaga will be looking to those returning players, including former Kiwi Sevens star Roy Kinkinilau and current Samoa fly-half, Tusi Pisi, to lead the powerful squad which includes Tongan flanker Nili Latu, who captained his nation at the 2007 World Cup.
Northland player Paul Tuaimalo will be making his BGC APD’s debut at Sports Road. One of the younger members of the squad Tuaimalo, 22, will be looking for a successful first outing in Hong Kong;
“This is my first time to Hong Kong for both the 10s and 7s, so I am really looking forward to the experience, the fitness and the whole week. The standards are pretty high within the squad but it’s cool to be playing with some of the legends of the game and being coached by a rugby legend like Tana.”
A stalwart for the BGC APD side, Pisi, 32 will be hoping that his experience with the squad in previous years will help them lift the Bill Burgess Cup for the third time.
“There are a few young boys in the squad who are looking to make a name for themselves here in Hong Kong,” commented Pisi. “There are a lot of expectations on in the squad but we are a good group of lads and we are looking to get that win.”
For the first time, every match of the GFI HKFC Tens will be streamed live on the internet. Fans from across the world can long onto YouTube to watch the world’s best tens tournament: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHmgm5s8Jow.
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.
GFI Group return 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 Wednesday andThursday before the world-famous Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.