The Tigers have packed their bags and jetted off to Western Australia to show their stripes in Round One of Global Rapid Rugby 2020.

Head Coach Craig Hammond’s selected squad promises a new strain of rugby, mixing a wealth of rugby calibre from the Hong Kong National XV’s and VII’s squad, combined with the best-of-the-best from the Saxo Markets Men’s Premiership.

Hammond is pumped to get the competition started, and believes the Tigers are ready to ROAR in the season opener.

We’re all excited about our first game vs Manuma Samoa on Saturday in Perth. The boys have worked hard to prepare for the high demands of Rapid Rugby over the past three weeks.

We know we’re in for a physical battle on Saturday. Our boys will need to make sure they put in a top performance to get the results we want. We don’t know a lot about Manuma Samoa so we have to make sure we focus on our game and sort our detail out first.” Hammond said.

To tackle this physical Samoan team and to introduce the Tigers to the global stage with a bang, Hammond has chosen a team with strength, depth and physicality.

Tigers front row comprises of Hong Kong stalwarts Koloamatangi and Post, plus new addition carrying experience from the likes of Wasps, Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers and London Welsh, Tom Bristow.

Second row re-introduces ERP maverick Kyle Sullivan to the pitch, supported by HKU Sandy Bay’s front runner Mark Prior. Dowsing and Sawyer add some energy at Flanker whilst HKRU Player of the Year Luke Van Der Smit earns his stripes at No.8.

Hong Kong star and Tigers co-captain Liam Slatem take his usual position at Scrum-Half, supported by Tigers Fly-Half legend Glyn Hughes straight off the back of an epic Premiership Grand Championship win with his team Hong Kong Football Club.

The strength and power of ERP athlete Axten-Burrett and former Canterbury Crusader Mike Green will be breaking through the defensive line at Centre, with newbies North Harbour Sevens specialist Whiria Meltzer and Bristolian George Watkins injecting some speed on the Wing. Hong Kong staunch Nate De Theirry takes Full Back.

South China Tigers replacements include HK boys Callum Mcfeat Smith, Jack Parfitt, James Cunningham, Sam Tsoi and Bryn Phillips, plus new appointments Hong Kong Scottish recruit Gregor McNeish, University of Queenslands Campbell Wakely and former England counties fullback Sean Taylor.

This year Josh Dowsing supports Slatem as the Tigers co-captain and is excited to get the tournament started.

The boys are excited for the opportunity to travel early in the competition and spend some time gelling as a team off the field.

We are expecting a big physical challenge from this new look Samoan team and are excited to see how both teams adapt to the rule variations. We are keen to rip in and make our mark on this competition.”

The Tigers kick off their campaign this Saturday at HBF Park, Perth, where they are taking part in a double-header season opener. First up, South China Tigers v Manuma Samoa at HKT16.10pm, followed by Western Force v Malaysia Valke at 18.15pm. In Suva, Fijian Latui will also take on the China Lions at HKT14.15pm. All games will be broadcast live via Rugby Pass YouTube channel, which can be found on www.rapidrugby.com

Next week the Tigers travel to Fiji to take on Fijian Latui on March 21st, followed by a battle against the newly formed China Lions, March 29th in NZ. Round 4 takes the Tigers back to Perth to battle against the mighty Western Force April 10th, finishing with a trip across the pond to Kuala Lumpur, where they take on Malaysia Valke, April 19th.

Then it’s back to Hong Kong home soil, with 5 home games, the first two under the lights on consecutive Friday nights at the iconic Hong Kong Stadium;

24th April, South China Tigers v Fijian Latui, Hong Kong Stadium

1st May, South China Tigers v Manuma Samoa, Hong Kong Stadium

9th May, South China Tigers v China Lions, Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground

17th May, South China Tigers v Western Force, Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground

23rd May, South China Tigers v Malaysia Valke, Aberdeen Sports Ground

Tickets for all home matches are now available at www.ticketflap.com
To view the full squad and for more information, head to www.southchinatigers.com

Manuma Samoa v FWD South China Tigers 14 March, HBF Park, Perth

1. Thomas BRISTOW, 2. Alex POST, 3. Tau KOLOMATANGI, 4. Mark PRIOR, 5. Kyle SULLIVAN, 6. Josh DOWSING (co-captain), 7. James SAWYER, 8. Luke VAN DER SMIT, 9. Liam SLATEM (co-captain), 10. Glyn HUGHES, 11. Whiria MELTZER, 12. Ben AXTEN-BURRETT, 13. Michael GREEN, 14. George WATKINS, 15. Nathan DE THIERRY.

RESERVES: 16. Callum MCFEAT SMITH, 17. Campbell WAKELY, 18. Jack PARFITT, 19. James CUNNINGHAM, 20. Sam TSOI, 21. Bryn PHILLIPS, 22. Gregor MCNEISH, 23. Sean TAYLOR.

About the FWD South China Tigers

The FWD South China Tigers are the Greater Bay Area’s first professional rugby club, competing in the new Global Rapid Rugby league alongside pro teams from across Asia Pacific. Drawn primarily from the Hong Kong national team and players from the HKRU Premiership, the FWD South China Tigers are set to revolutionize rugby in the region.

About FWD Group

FWD Group spans Hong Kong & Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia offering life and medical insurance, general insurance, employee benefits, Shariah and Family Takaful products across a number of its markets.

FWD is focused on creating fresh customer experiences, with easy-to-understand products, supported by digital technology. Through this customer-led approach, FWD aims to become a leading pan-Asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance.

Established in Asia in 2013, FWD is the insurance business of investment group, Pacific Century Group. For more information please visit www.fwd.com

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