The HSBC Penguins geared up for their 6th consecutive crack at the coveted Hong Kong Tens title. Appointed Tour Manager Craig Brown set about selecting a strong squad and started with the selection of top coaches. The club was delighted Liam Barry, the current North Harbour ITM coach (former Auckland Blues assistant coach and former All Black), accepted the invitation. The coaching team was complete when Roddy McIntosh also accepted the invitation to join the squad.
The player selection philosophy was simple, let’s see if we can get as many of the players back from the winning HSBC COBRA 10s team from 2011. Fortunately 8 players made it back and these were joined by a mixture of new players to the Penguins and some others making a welcome return. The mix of the team included players from New Zealand and South Africa.
The team had a busy week planned with 3 distinct phases. The first phase was the get to know each other, including training for the Tens and running the coaching session for the youth at Sandy Bay RFC. This was followed by the Tens tournament and then onto the more social end of the tour with our support at the charity event the Ladies Long Lunch, a visit to the HSBC Hexagon Suite at the 7s (thank you to HSBC for the invitation), a visit to Mid Levels to the infamous John and Thea Grove function (thank you John and Thea for the invitation), some R&R and of course the world famous Hong Kong 7s.
The team started very well and had the best record of any team after day one and continued this good form into the quarter final. Perhaps the lack of a hard game was not ideal but the team went into the semi-final confident and looking to raise the level another notch. Credit to the New Zealand Legend team who control possession and ultimately the game. In the end the NZ Legends deserved their win and moved on to the final.
It was disappointing to exit at the semi final phase again but thanks to the players, coaches, management, our physio and the supporters for an honest effort, great team spirit and a great week.
The club was delighted to present the first ever John Grove Award for the Best and Fairest player on the tour. This award has been formed to recognise the continued significant input John is making to the club. The award was presented to the player who contributed most to the tour based on his playing efforts and off field involvement. Many of the clubs supporters were involved in evaluating each of the HSBC Penguin games at the Tens to provide input to the scoring system.
Fittingly, John Grove presented the trophy to winner Chad Tuoro at the Grove function on the Friday evening.
Back Row: Craig Wootten (HKFC Tens Tournament Director), Liam Barry (Coach - North Harbour, Blues, NZ All Blacks), Timo Tutavaha (Inglewood, Taranaki), Shahn Eru (Wainuiomata, Wellington 7s & XVs, Hurricanes Dev, NZ U20), Vili Fihaki (Mahurangi, Counties-Manukau XVs & 7s, Chiefs and Blues Dev), Leka Tupuola (Hutt Old Boys Marist, Wellington Dev, Hurricanes Dev, NZ 7s), Nafi Tuitavake (Massey, North Harbour, Blues, NZ U20s, NZ 7s), Mat Luamanu (North Shore, North Harbour, Blues, NZ U20), Chad Tuoro (Te Puna, Bay of Plenty, Counties-Manukau, NZ 7s), Matt Vant Leven (Fraser Tech, Waikato, Chiefs), Craig Brown (Manager), Rod McIntosh (Asst Coach - Waikato, NZ U17, Hong Kong XVs & 7s)
Front Row: Marc Daniels (Physio), Frank Wagenstroom (Tygerberg, Sharks, Cheetahs, SA U18,U19,U21), Ben Suisala (Grammer-Carlton, Auckland U16,U18,U20, Blues U18), Adam Siddall (Auckland University, Auckland B), Kurt Davies (Canterbury University, Canterbury B, Crusaders Dev), Willie Walker (Captain – North Shore, North Harbour, Worcester, Highlanders, NZ Maori), Ray Niuia (Massey, North Harbour U20, Blues U18, NZ U17), Tua Saseve (Napier Old Boys Marist, North Harbour 7s, Hawkes Bay, NZ U17), Mitchell Crosswell (Fielding Yellow, Manawatu, Hurricanes U18)
HSBC Penguins 57 v 0 Chinese Agricultural University
HSBC Penguins 57 v 0 Hong Kong Chairman’s X
HSBC Penguins 69 v 0 International Panthers
HSBC Penguins 45 v 5 Hill & Associates Scottish Barbarians
HSBC Penguins 0 v 19 NZ Legends