With the sun bearing down and the after taste of the previous nights’ post- party celebrations still emanating, the New Zealand Society Hong Kong Silverbacks embarked on their title defense of the Macau Rugby 10s tournament for the third consecutive year.
First hurdle, ensuring 18 lads, decked out in full gear with boat tickets, gear bags and presence accounted for….fail. 3 lads down and down to 15.
Second hurdle, ensuring lads are fit a ready for the tournament in tip-top shape…...fail. Two lads fall under the waves of the sea and are hurling at back of the ferry pier.
After minimal incident, it was onto the field and time for some actual rugby. The day was off to good start with a news of 6 minute halves. Guangzhou Rams were the first to suffer the wrath of the Silvers going down 31-0. Perhaps it had something to do with their Playboy inspired shirts, surely it couldn’t have been the pure skill that the Silverbacks are renowned for in 10s rugby…could it?
Third hurdle, our arch nemesis Macau were next up. Training from the start with a 40 man squad, it seemed we were outclassed. Further to add to our woes, we played as if the rugby ball had turned into an oil-covered bowling ball, we were a mess. Somehow a 14-14 scrap was obtained.
Moving onto burgers and energy drinks and a minor kip, the Silverbacks then had the Potbelly Pigs to attend to with the help of some of their Kowloon recruits, this to mentioned later on. The group was rounded off with 26-5 win to top the pool.
Knockout rugby time. A lot was to be said of the Silverback team at this stage and whispers of a three-peat was definitely in the air but Shenzhen in a striking neon pink with has bid cheerleaders stood as a minor obstruction, and a minor obstruction it was. 22-0 romp over and onto the finals.
Finals rugby, this was it! Not much had been said about the Kowloon specials. Recounts of the round-robin loss to them the previous year only to be downed on the final loomed in the memory of the few veteran players of this already well-decorated Silverback side. Then stepped on what seemed to be behemoths. Big was an understatement with three members of the opposition to be current Hong Kong national team members. The battle was fought hard, bodies put on the line and effort pushed beyond limits. In the end, a brilliant final to be had. Some say the referee had plenty to play in the matter, but in the end, one try separated the teams and the almighty Silverbacks had fallen. This is the game of rugby and we bow our heads to the victors. We live to fight another day and will come back and bigger and stronger than before.
As a final note, the Silverbacks would like to thank our sponsors. RS Fashions who we will be getting our tailored shirt and suits from in the coming weeks. Bar 109 where our refreshments and post-party are to be had this Friday 3rd, July but most importantly, the New Zealand Society of Hong Kong whose generous donation made all this possible. Kia ora!