(04/01/23)  The Hong Kong rugby community was out in full force over the festive period, welcoming the new year and cheering on the future of Team Hong Kong in the 2023 New Year’s Day Youth Rugby Tournament.

Sponsored by Hysan Development and First Point USA, the event at Hong Kong Football Club attracted over 1,500 players, officials, friends, family and rugby fans.

The U16 girls started the showpiece strongly in the Naylor Cup match with Hong Kong Lions edging the Dragons 24-10, with prop Zanzi Falahati of HKU Sandy Bay RFC named Best & Fairest.

Camill Cheung, HK U19s Dragons Scrumhalf, passes the ball.. Click to enlarge.

Camill Cheung, HK U19s Dragons Scrumhalf, passes the ball.

Their age grade counterparts also entertained in the George White Trophy match for Boys U16. Dragons pulled away with two late tries to widen a 10-7 tussle into a final 24-7 victory with Oliver Sinclair of Valley Fort RFC winning the coveted Larry Abel Trophy for Best & Fairest player.

Hong Kong’s elite junior talent was on full display in the U19 Lassies Quaich match with a greater representation of overseas-based schools players taking part in 2023.

The two teams battled to a 10-all draw at the end of regulation time, but Dragons scored at the outset of the golden point extra time to run out 17-10 winners. Flying Kukris prop Jade Scrouther was named Best & Fairest.

After a hiatus due to overseas travel complications, the New Year’s Day Youth Tournament marked the return of a full overseas-based students team in the match that started it all, the Middlesex Cup for Boys U19, first played in 1967.

With a full overseas-based U19 schoolboys appearing for the first time in years – facing off against a local outfit of age grade counterparts on a high after providing a majority of the players in the Hong Kong U19s team that won the Asia Rugby junior championship in December – the action was expected to be close. And it was for the opening three-quarters of the game.

The Overseas Lions led 7-0 after an opening half of end to end action with both sides enjoying numerous scoring chances and exhibiting some steady defence to keep matters on a razor’s edge.

Down the stretch, the size and weight advantage of the overseas forwards came to the fore as the Lions pushed their lead to 12-0 inside the final 10 minutes of the game after a long developing try that started in their own half found the gaps in a tiring Dragons defence.

The Lions widened the gap six minutes later with their third try coming off set piece play from inside the Dragons 22-metres. The Dragons replied well to bring the play back into the Lions’ den at the end of the game, but the final passes failed to go to hand and they were unable to put any points on the board against their overseas compatriots in an eventual 19-0 defeat. Centre Trent Roussow was named Best & Fairest in the match.

The vibrant city, a leading promoter of the development of rugby in the region, will host the world-famous Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens from 31 March to 2 April 2023. It’s where the world goes to play!

Rugby pictures: Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
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Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens
, Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015, Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong Kong, Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,

Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong
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Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014
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Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013
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Pictures of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.

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