Penguins | Thursday 21st March 2013 0:00am
Australian winger Richard Hooper scores a last-minute try, set up by England Sevens star James Lightfoot-Brown, to secure dramatic 21-14 Cup final win over Samurai. Thus giving the HSBC Penguins a first win at the GFI HKFC Tens.
Australian winger Richard Hooper outsprinted the Samurai defence to touch down a last-minute grubber kick by England Sevens scrumhalf James Lightfoot-Brown, who had sprinted over 50 metres along the right touchline after making a break from a scrum near his own 22.
The two teams had been locked at 14-14 at half-time after Penguins scored through Australian flanker Dylan Sigg and former Hong Kong scrumhalf Johnny Gbenda-Charles, set up by Sigg.
“I’m buggered … I’m absolutely blowing … I can’t stop smiling. James is a classy player, so I knew he’d get the ball to me somehow and it couldn’t have worked out better. It was a last-ditch effort, but we got there in the end,” said the 22-year-old Hooper, who just before his winning try had made a last-ditch tackle to prevent Samurai scoring by the corner flag at the other end of the field. “Everyone’s put in so much, so to be part of this victory means a lot. We’ve bonded quickly and the team has gone from strength to strength. It’s a great club to be a part of. It means a lot to me, but I know it means a lot to them.”
Lightfoot-Brown, who kicked 10 conversions over the two days, had a standout tournament along with England Sevens teammate Chris Brightwell, who scored five tries.
“I just saw a bit of space on the blind side, but I ended up having to pull out of the sprint as he was catching me. I saw Rich on the inside, thought I’d give it a go and he got there in the end. He’s pretty quick. To go that quick at that time of the game is pretty impressive,” said the slightly built 19-year-old.
“We’ve had a lot of dinners with the club talking about how they really want to win it, so it’s amazing for Chris and I to win it on our first trip. Now, we just hope England can go well at the weekend and win the Sevens.”
Team manager Craig Brown immediately phoned Penguins co-founder Alan Wright to inform him of the victory, which followed two final losses in 2007 and 2008, a Plate win in 2009 and three straight semi-final defeats. “I think Alan will be doing cartwheels down the streets of St James, which is not bad for an 83-year-old,” said Brown, who included Lightfoot-Brown, Brightwell, Sigg and captain Reece Robinson among the team’s outstanding performers. “The Samurai scored two breakaway tries, but I thought we made two well constructed team tries. When they almost scored at the end, we thought, what can we do from here. Then James, cheeky little bugger that he is, made a break and Richard followed up to just beat the Fijian to the ball.”
Our friends at Tsunami have created a video showcasing the tournament which also shows the Penguins' winning try and celebrations.