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SSC 7s and HSBC COBRA 10s
1st to 15th November 2011, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur

The HSBC Penguins and HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy set off on their second joint tour of grass roots coaching in Singapore and Malaysia, and also competing in the SCC 7s in Singapore and HSBC COBRA 10s in Kuala Lumpur, as well as being accompanied by the HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy who ran numerous grass roots coaching activities.

First stop was Singapore and a crack at the first leg of completing the double by defending the title we had won in 2010. The team arrived on Tuesday evening and settled into the training and recovery routine, which included black board sessions covering the style and tactics the coaches wished the team to follow.

Some of the team did know each other before arrival in Singapore and Frank Wagenstroom, the HSBC Penguin IRANZ award winner from South Africa, arrived to a completely new environment.

Coaches McKittrick and McIntosh planned for two training sessions per day plus we managed to arrange a practise match against the hosts, the SCC 7s team. A number of the squad did not have a lot of 7s experience but went about their work well and absorbed all that was put before them.

The HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy was also busy in Singapore with Ben Fisher from Scotland and Sailosi Nawavu from Fiji busy every day running a number of sessions at local schools and clubs.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ACADEMY TOUR REPORT.

As well as all the rugby preparation, the squad managed some time for some R&R and many had a look about the sites of Singapore. Kenny and Jamie Moyes, Vice Presidents of the club, also hosted a dinner at the Polo Club. The Moyes Brother Singapore Penguin Dinner, as it is known, is set to become a regular event when the HSBC Penguins are in Singapore.

Holly Moyes joined the team as the mascot and helped behind the scenes looking after the team flag, running water and carrying out other tasks.

John and Thea Grove also joined the fun in Singapore and it was great to have them support the team.

The Tsunami lads where busy at the 7s as well and it was great to see them.

The team was drawn in pool F as the top seed which meant a late start to matches. On the Friday night the team, although playing a bit individually, managed a respectable win over the Casurina Cougars, our Darwin based opponents, and retired happy with the first win, but plenty to think about for the next two days. The second match on Saturday morning against Indonesian Harimau was similar to the first and all knew we would face a much stiffer challenge against our close friends from COBRA in our final pool match. The COBRA match was a beauty. Both sides committed to defence but also looking to break the line when they could. The HSBC Penguins got out to a 12 - 0 lead with about 4 minutes remaining in the match. A yellow card against the Penguins brought COBRA right back into the match. With a minute to go COBRA were kicking a conversion to draw at 12 all and only the post stopped this happening. The Penguin team was caught asleep and from the restart, COBRA won uncontested ball and were 5m from the Penguin line with full time up. Some desperate defence from Frank and Karl retrieved the situation and enabled the ball to find its way to touch thus ending an enthralling contest 12 - 10 in favour of the HSBC Penguins.

Mat Luamanu and Josh Hohneck arrived late Saturday to complete the team line up for the HSBC COBRA 10s.

Sunday Games - First up was a last 16 contest against the French Pyrenees. The Penguins started well and by halftime had a commanding 21-7 lead. Three second half tries saw the Penguins progress through to the last eight.

Next was a quarter final match against the Japan Samurai. The physical style of the HSBC Penguins saw them turn at the break up 21-0. Changes in the second half saw Japan come back into the game but eventually the Penguins ran out winners 26-5.

It is rare that the Penguins do not play the Borneo Eagles at some stage during our November tour and 2011 was no different. Next up a semi-final against a Borneo Eagles team with plenty of Kiwi fire power in their ranks. From the kick off the Penguins scored out wide through Frank Wagenstroom, with a barn storming running (try converted) but lapses in concentration and urgency on defence saw Borneo take a 12-7 lead into the break. Borneo came out guns blazing in the second half and an early try saw them out to 17-7. The Penguins replied almost immediately with another try to Frank Wagenstroom to close to 17-12 but in the defining moment of the game, Phil Tuigamala chipped kick ahead for what could have been a decisive try only to be taken out late. The ball bounced into the hands of a Borneo player who ran 80 metres to score. A late try to Tua Saseve narrowed the gap to 24-17 but the time had run out and the Penguins were eliminated.

Captain Willie had the team up bright and early on Monday morning and we departed from Singapore for Johor mid-morning and after grabbing some lunch were on the road to Port Dickson on Malaysias West Coast by noon. On arrival the team had some down time to explore the local area, including a welcome swim in the pool and dip in the sea. The plan for the next two days was two training runs, a game against the local army team and to run a coaching session for local school children.

The entertainments committee were active, and each room had to present a skit at Tuesday nights dinner!

Tuesday was a busy day with two training runs and a session coaching the local rugby team. Coach McKittrick had to move the playing style from 7s to 10s and also the team concentrated on 1st phase ball (scrums and lineouts) as these would feature a bit more at the HSBC COBRA 10s.

The team ran a coaching session for the local rugby club. The locals asked us to concentrate on rucking, mauling and tackling. The team split up into 3 sessions and had each group for 15 minutes. The HSBC Penguin coaches concentrated on technical aspects and in particular introduced the double tackle where one man makes the tackle and the 2nd goes for the ball. The mauling drill worked on body position, forming the maul and how best to get maximum drive. The coaches at the rucking station concentrated on clearing out the defenders to ensure the attacking team retained the ball.

To conclude the session the 35 local players joined the Penguin squad in a game of touch.

Having a kiwi influence, the Penguin team performed the Haka for our hosts with South African Frank Wagenstroom popping up in the back row for his first ever!

The HSBC Penguin team played against the local side JLJ in a practise 10s match late morning on Wednesday. This gave the Penguins their first chance to play together and was very useful as it enabled the lads to play together for the first time and gave the team some experience of local conditions (hot and wet!).

Our thanks go to Captain Nasrul and Major Taha for their kind welcome, use of their playing field and general organising of our visit to Port Dickson.

The team transferred to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday afternoon. The remainder of the week was spent training for the HSBC COBRA 10s although there was a possibility the odd Penguin would be spotted in China town!

Jon Chivers from HSBC kindly hosted the team to a dinner at HSBCs HQ in central KL. This was a relaxing function and a great introduction to some of the banks staff for the team.

By Saturday morning the team was ready for more rugby and as the police escorted bus made its way to the ground, the players mood confirmed this. A new challenge awaited most; not many had played in the hot humid conditions awaiting us.

After a full day of pool play it became apparent that there was a distinct gap between the top 8 and the bottom 8 in the competition. The focus in the build-up was improving our defensive work rate especially in close and utilising the forward size we had at our disposal.

The first game was against the Shanghai Hairy Crabs. A good game to build into the tournament, with the HSBC Penguins up 38-0 at halftime coming away 58-0 in the end. This enabled all in the squad to get at least half a game and ease them into playing 10s in very warm and humid conditions.

The second game was against our friends from South Africa who are regulars at the HSBC COBRA 10s. Northlink have proved a troublesome opponent in the past but after a hard fought first spell where the HSBC Penguins lead 19-0 at the break, the team came away to a convincing 45-0 victory. Frank Wagenstroom playing against his countrymen dotted down for 4 tries.

The final pool game was against our close friends and hosts COBRA.

Prior to the last match of the day, as a mark of respect to our great friend Hang Kek Kang, who passed away on the 12th September 2011, both the HSBC Penguins and COBRA teams lined up at half way and joined with the crowd for a moments silence in Hangs honour.

As expected COBRA were always going to be our test match in pool play and how right we were. COBRA took a 7-0 lead into the break but a more direct pattern of play in the second half saw the HSBC Penguins stretch out to 19-12 before a last minute try out wide enabled COBRA to close to 19-17.

A good first day with the mission of achieving 3 wins successful.

The first game on Sunday was the quarter final against Ponsonby from New Zealand. The game kicked off in very hot and humid conditions. Both teams were striving for a place in the semi-finals so the pace and physicality from the onset was intense. The Penguins scored first after some good ball control, showing they had the ability to build pressure to stress the opposition defence. Not to be out done the Ponies from Auckland struck right back after putting the Penguins under pressure.

After half time both teams refocused and played some entertaining, attacking rugby. However, the bigger, more robust Penguin forwards laid the platform for an eventual solid win.

As per the previous week in Singapore the HSBC Penguins squared off against Borneo Eagles in the semi-final. At the end of a very physical opening 10 minutes the HSBC Penguins lead 5-0. Control was maintained throughout the second spell and again only a last minute try by Borneo made the margin close. Congratulations to both teams who exhibited strong defences as the rain bucketed down. Penguins advancing to the final 17-15.

Near the end of the Penguins semi a torrential downpour saw the playing surface become waterlogged and the COBRA v Canterbury semi was delayed by 60 minutes. When the delayed match did resume COBRA ran out winners by a narrow margin so the final was a repeat of the last game of day one. Injuries to Codey Rei and Mat Luamanu saw the Penguins draft in Nafi Tuitavake and Ash Parker from Tradition RFC. Vili Fihaki opened the scoring for the Penguins with a try from 40 metres after a lineout steal but continual COBRA pressure saw them take a 10-5 lead into the break after scoring twice. Midway into the second spell, after a sustained period of attack in the COBRA 22, Tua Saseve scored for the Penguins close to the posts, which Karl Bryson converted giving the HSBC Penguins a 12-10 lead. Back came COBRA with a continuous period of attack, camping on the Penguin line. After surviving over three minutes of goal line pressure the Penguins were awarded a drop out 22 which saw the referee blow fulltime and the Penguins had back to back titles for the second time (after 1993/94).

When one considers that 7 of the 14 players were affected by a stomach bug the win was even more monumental. The emphasis on defence certainly paid dividends with the opposition only managing to convert one out of the 11 tries they scored throughout the tournament as the HSBC Penguins scrambling defence pushed all tries conceded out wide.

Thanks must go to COBRA for putting on another splendid tournament and hosting all the teams in a first class manner. Most of the Penguins were new to the HSBC COBRA 10s and have gone away with awesome memories.

Thanks also to David Townsend, Vincent Bramhall and Bill Calcraft who provided assistance to the tour through hosting meals and other activities.

Players: Willie Walker (North Shore, Nth Harbour, Gloucester, Blues, NZ Maori - Captain), Joshua Hohneck* (Tauranga Sports, Waikato, BOP), Raymond Niuia (Massey, Nth Harbour U20, Blues U18, NZ U20 trials, NZ U17), Viliami Fihaki (Patumahoe, Counties-Manukau XVs & 7s), Carl Axtens (Tauranga Sports, Bay of Plenty, NZ U20), Andrew Ritchie (Mid Northern, Northland U20, Northland), Matt Vant Leven (Fraser Tech, Waikato, Chiefs), Mathew Luamanu* (North Shore, Nth Harbour, Blues, NZ U20), Karl Bryson (COB, Manawatu XVs & 7s), Phil Tuigamala (Western United, Nth Harbour Dev & 7s, NZ 7s trials), Codey Rei (East Coast Bays, Taranaki 7s, Nth Harbour, NZ U20), Tua Saseve (Napier Old Boys Marist, Nth Harbour 7s, Hawkes Bay, NZ 7s trail, NZ U19), Ben Paltridge (Auckland Uni, Blues U18), Frank Wagenstroom (Tygerburg, Sharks, Cheetahs, SA U18, U19 & U21)
* - HSBC COBRA 10s only

Coaches: John McKittrick (former USA, Nth Harbour and Cook is 7s coach) and Rodney McIntosh (former HK 7s coach)

Managers: Craig Brown and Dean Herewini

Academy Coaches: Ben Fisher, Sai Nawavu, Florent Rossigneux and Dean Herewini

Mascot: Holly Moyes

Singapore Liaison Officer: Andi

Kuala Lumpur Liaison Officer: Malik

Club Officials: David Townsend (Senior Vice President), Vincent Bramhall (Secretary) and Bill Calcraft (Senior Vice President - SCC 7s only)

The SCC 7s team with mascot Holly in the centre

From L to R standing: John McKittrick (Coach), Andi (Liaison officer), Codey Rei, Vili Fihaki, Ray Niuia, Matt Vant Leven, Willie Walker (Capt), Andy Ritchie, Frank Wagenstroom, Carl Axtens, Phil Tuigamala, Craig Brown (Manager), Hot Rod McIntosh (Coach)

From L to R kneeling: Tua Saseve, Karl Bryson, Holly Moyes (Mascot), Ben Paltridge

HSBC COBRA 10s team

Back row L to R: John McKittrick (Coach), Matt Vant Leven, Ben Paltridge, Vili Fihaki, Andy Ritchie, Carl Axtens, Mat Luamanu, Tua Saseve, Josh Hohneck, Craig Brown (Manager), HotRod McIntosh (Coach)

Front row L to R: Frank Wagenstroom, Karl Bryson, Willie Walker (Capt), Ray Niuia, Phil Tuigamala

Inset: Malik (Liaison Officer), Codey Rei

Pool E

Penguins 33 - 7 Casurina Cougars (AUS)

Penguins 57 - 0 Indonesian Harimau

Penguins 12 - 10 COBRA (MAS)

Last 16

Penguins 38 - 7 French Pyrenees

Quarter Final

Penguins 26 - 5 Japan Samurai

Semi Final

Penguins 17 - 24 Borneo Eagles

Points for 183, against 53 (9 tries and 4 conversions)

Tries: Phil Tuigamala - 5, Frank Wagenstroom - 4, Karl Bryson - 3, Willie Walker - 3, Ray Niuia - 3, Ben Paltridge - 3, Tua Saseve - 2, Vili Fihaki - 2, Codey Rei - 2, Carl Axtens - 1, Matt Vant Leven - 1

Kicks: Karl Bryson - 13 conversions, Willie Walker - 5 conversions, Phil Tuigamala - 1 conversion

Name Pool Game 1 Pool Game 2 Pool Game 3 Last 16 Quarter final Semi Final
Fihaki S S
Niuia S
Axtens S S S S
Ritchie S S S S S
Vant Leven S S S S
Bryson S
Walker
Saseve S
Rei S S S
Wagenstroom S S S
Tuigamala S
Paltridge S S S S S

- started, S - sub

Pool A

Penguins 58 0 Shanghai Hairy Crabs (CHN)

Penguins 45 0 Northlink (RSA)

Penguins 19 17 COBRA (MAS)

Quarter Final

Penguins 22 15 Ponsonby (NZL)

Semi Final

Penguins 17 15 Borneo Eagles (MAS)

Final

Penguins 12 10 COBRA (MAS)

Points for 173, against 57 (11 tries and 1 conversion)

Tries: Frank Wagenstroom - 6, Matt Vant Leven - 5, Willie Walker - 4, Josh Hohneck - 3, Ray Niuia - 2, Codey Rei - 2, Ben Paltridge - 2, Phil Tuigamala - 2, Tua Saseve - 1, Vili Fihaki - 1, Karl Bryson - 1

Kicks: Karl Bryson - 12 conversions, Willie Walker - 2 conversions

Name Pool Game 1 Pool Game 2 Pool Game 3 Quarter final Semi Final Final
Fihaki S S S S
Niuia
Hohneck
Axtens S S S S
Ritchie S
Luamanu S X
Vant Leven S
Bryson S
Walker
Saseve
Rei S X
Wagenstroom
Tuigamala S S S S
Paltridge S S S S S
Tuitavake * S
Parker * S

- started, S - sub, X - did not start (injured), * Substitute player from Tradition RFC

The team celebrating after winning the HSBC COBRA 10s
The Moyes Brothers Penguin Singapore Dinner - L to R: Kenny Moyes, Allan Dodd, Bill Calcraft, Alec Calcraft and Jamie Moyes
The HSBC Penguins (red and green) and the SCC 7s team after the warm up match on the Wednesday evening
The team and supporters base camp at the SCC 7s
Vili Fihaki representing the Penguins at the SCC 7s press conference
Willie Walker stretching for the line
A new tackling technique?
The Penguin and COBRA flags
A moments silence is observed for our friend Hang - the HSBC Penguins and COBRA line up at half way prior to kick off
Academy Coach Sai, mascot Holly and Captain Willie with the Hui Weng Choon trophy - winners of the HSBC COBRA 10s 2011
Hang and Malik at the 2010 COBRA 10s

Thanks to Afifi Arif - www.emagraphy.com - who provided some of the photos on this page.

Mauling practise from a lineout
Two man tackling - mission to steal that ball
Looking at the maul structure
Correct body position and technique for entering a ruck
The Penguin coaches join in the maul fun
Matt and Carl demonstrating key points for the ruck
The LJL team lines up to face the Penguin haka
Penguin haka, lead by Willie. Frank Wagenstroom is in the back row in his first ever haka!
Phil takes on all comers in some arm wrestling fun
Group photo at the end
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