The club accepted an invite to participate in the Hong Kong 10s for the third time. A competitive team was selected again to try to go one better than the previous year. As with previous years, all the northern hemisphere talent is tied up so the South Pacific was the main target for selection. A number of Air New Zealand Cup players were available and the team was completed with the inclusion of 2 Samoan internationals, Roger Warren and Alapasa Cordtz and 2 Fijian provincial players, one of who has represented Fiji at 7s.
As normal for a Penguin tour, the team ran a training session for local youngsters and this was enjoyed by all.
The team started day one with an impressive win over the Wanchai warriors but found stiffer opposition in the remaining two pool games. The team performed well on day one with lots of positives. Coach John McKittrick confirmed it was a good day one, with the team coning together for the first time to play, although there was room for improvement.
Day two produced an interesting draw against the Aliens from NZ who had a number of provincial players in their midst. The game was a titanic struggle and could have easily been the final. The margin was 2 tries to 1 and it could have gone either way. The Penguins were disappointed with the result but all worked hard to get up for the plate semi final against the Borneo Eagle team, who had a number of high profile Samoan and Fijians representing them. The Penguins started like they meant to finish and controlled the game through out and ran out convincing winners. That being said the opposition made the Penguins work hard for there points. Coach McKittrick singled out the defence as the key to the win.
In the plate final, the team was up against pool opposition, the Wild Titans from Germany, who had a number of South African and Australians in the team. The Penguins started well and ran in two early tries to lead 12-0. The Titans rallied, and coupled with some indifferent Penguin defence, drew level at 12 all at half time.
The half time talk was very positive and concentrated on the Penguins playing their game and not playing to the oppositions strengths. The team responded well and ran in 3 converted tries in the 2nd half to run out winners 33 – 12 and lift the plate.
All of the team played well and contributed including strong performances from Sam Christie, Roger Warren, Fritz Lee, Alapasa Corstz, Roy Kinikinilau, Toby Arnold and captain James Afoa.
A good week had by all but it was disappointing to lose the quarter final.
Penguins 61 – 5 Wanchai Warriors (HK)
Penguins 22 – 7 Wild Titans (GER)
Penguins 22 – 5 HK Barbarians (HK)
Penguins 7 – 12 Aliens (NZ)
Plate Semi final
Penguins 34 – 0 Borneo Eagles (MAS)
Penguins 33 – 12 Wild Titans (GER)
Squad: James Afoa (Northcote, North Harbour - Captain), Chris Eves (Massey, Nth Harbour Dev), John Jackson (Nadi, Fiji Barbarians), Josh Katene (Te Teko, Bay of Plenty), Turuva Lumelume (Nadi, Warriors), Joao Uva (Belenesse, Portugal 7s, Portugal), Alapasa Cordtz Marist (St Joes, Samoa 7s, Samoa), Fritz Lee (Manurewa, Auckland U18, Counties-Manukau), Ben Botica (Northcote, Nth Harbour Dev), Josh Sutherland (Marist, Waikato), Roger Warren (Marist St Joes, Samoa 7s, Samoa), Sam Christie (Fraser Tech, Waikato), Frank Halai (Marist, Waikato), Roy Kinikinilau (Wellington, Hurricanes, NZ 7s), Toby Arnold (Tauranga Sports, Bay of Plenty)
Coach: John McKittrick
Manager: Craig Brown
Assistant Manager: Jamie Baron
Academy Coaches: Peter Gallagher, Dean Herwini, Abby Wills, Fouina Sua, Jamie Baron