Western Force vs Hong Kong Dragons: World Series Rugby

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    The Western Force come up against one of their toughest oppositions yet, as they host the Hong Kong Dragons. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the game from 8:30pm AEST.

    It’s quite easy to overestimate the Force’s achievements on the field. While three from five sounds pretty good, you have to be sceptical with regards to their opposition.

    These next two games are a great opportunity for them to hit the NRC on the front foot, with a pair of wins.

    While the Westerners began the series on the right note against “B” sides from Fiji and Tonga, when playing the Rebels and Crusaders, the first real opposition they had, the shine was quickly taken off as they were outscored 28-12 and 44-8 to the team who they lost their Super Rugby licence to, and last year’s premiers.

    Three weeks later, the men in blue put on a show in the wet against a XV from Apia, Samoa, winning 33 points to five.

    Hong Kong won’t be any blowover. Only recently, their national team, the Dragons, won their way to the RWC repechage, after winning the Asia Rugby Championship and crushing the Cook Islands 77-3 over a home-and-away series.

    The squad looks very different to the one which secured the country’s place alongside Canada, Germany and another opponent, at the RWC repechage, but there’s still no doubt they could cause some trouble.

    One of the key men for the Western Force, Andrew Deegan, will sit out this game after a good performance in the Super Rugby XV last friday, one of a raft of changes to the West Australians.

    Harry Scoble, Markus Vanzati, Kieran Longbottom, Fergus Lee-Warner, Rodney Iona and George Pisi are the beneficiaries of a string of injuries and restings, which mean Andrew Deegan, Harrison Lloyd, Feleti Kaitu’u, Tom Sheminant, Chris Alcock and Masivesi Dakuwaqa will all watch from the sidelines.

    If the Dragons want to win, they have to be responsible for most of the early points in this one, while the Force will want to win and win well.

    Prediction: Expect the Westerners to be too strong in a fast paced game, with possibly a few power tries, king hits and sublime offloads.

    Force by 7.

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    The Crowd Says (101)

    The Roar Live Blog: Latest comments displayed at the top of the page | Click here to jump to leave a comment

    • 5:48pm
      Rugby101 said | 5:48pm | ! Report

      I expect we will see a Hong Kong based team in World Series Rugby. Showed enough in this game to warrant inclusion.

    • 12:56pm
      Blue said | 12:56pm | ! Report

      “toughest oppositions yet”

      The Mighty Hong Kong Dragons!

      Having a laugh, surely.

      • 2:33pm
        Sheikh said | 2:33pm | ! Report

        To be fair to Mr English, he actually said: “one of their toughest opponents yet”.

        The Dragons were a well-drilled side who had obviously played together before (unlike some of the PI sides, unfortunately) and were fit enough to go for the full 80 (also unlike some of the PI sides).

        I think the public view of them was that they would be an easy-beat, and that might have reduced the crowd numbers a bit, but they weren’t that and gave a slightly underdone Force a hard time.

        Now that the Force start playing week-in and week-out (Panasonic, the Country Stockmen and into the NRC) we should see a more cohesive side than one who have usually had a week or two off between matches.

        • Roar Guru

          Train Without A Station said | 2:56pm | ! Report

          Shiek interestingly there was only one player from their RWC qualifier tests that played vs the Force. Cris Pierrepont.

          • 3:41pm
            Sheikh said | 3:41pm | ! Report

            Maybe, but a number of the fringe players and players playing for consideration for the RWC repecharge matches (well, according to the announcers on Friday anyway – how accurate their information was I’ll leave you to imagine).

            Their defensive organization suggested a side who trained together regularly, rather than one who met one another a couple of days before the match.

    • Roar Pro

      robel said | 12:59pm | ! Report

      Good open game and well reffed. Both teams having a go and getting the ball wide.

      • Roar Rookie

        ForceFan said | 2:45pm | ! Report

        It was good to see Graham Cooper and the assistants getting into the intent of the rule changes for WSR in an effort to get more ball-in-play time.

    • Roar Rookie

      ForceFan said | 10:00am | ! Report

      Full HD replay of the game available on YouTube.

    • Roar Rookie

      ForceFan said | 9:52am | ! Report

      Good to see a HD full-match replay on YouTube up so quickly.

    • 1:24pm
      Bob said | 1:24pm | ! Report

      121k views on Twitter is not a bad effort either

      I reckon next week should be a good Crowd.

      Berrik Barnes , Rugby Ione, Sam Sykes plus a strong wild knights team. Interesting to see the Twitter viewership numbers whith Japan in the mix fans as Twitter is more popular than FB in Japan too.

    • 10:00am
      ScottD said | 10:00am | ! Report

      Very cold night and whilst the crowd numbers were over 10k I personally was a bit disappointed with the turnout given it was a 6:30pm start.

      Overall the motto was to throw the ball around and have a go so a good game to watch. A couple of young players stood up. Uyen particularly showed something and looking forward to seeing him in the NRC.

      • 11:00am
        mothy said | 11:00am | ! Report

        Yeh agree Scott. I’ve been to every game and was pleased the weather was kind although a little chilly. I was hoping more people would be spectating. I took my niece and nephew to their first game. They loved it the whole package the pre-game entertainment, the match and even the events held at half time. They’re keen to go again next Friday and want to bring others. As juniors I paid 38.50 dollars a seat with RAC discount.

        Well worth the price to see them both fully entertained.

        To those who are mean spirited enough to knock this – what is your agenda? You’ve had your win we are out of SR and rather than mope about it Twiggy has now offered us an alternative to enjoy the sport in the west. It seems that all of you who continue to criticise would prefer WA be in a continual state of disappointment and misery.

        Still if that is what gives you jollies continue as I for one have been happy with resurrection of the Force and the hope a competition will be in place for 2019 and beyond.

        • Roar Rookie

          ForceFan said | 11:06am | ! Report

          Well said Mothy.

        • 1:21pm
          Bob said | 1:21pm | ! Report

          121k views on Twitter is not a bad effort either

          I reckon next week should be a good Crowd.

          Berrik Barnes , Rugby Ione, Sam Sykes plus a strong wild knights team. Interesting to see the Twitter viewership numbers whith Japan in the mix fans as Twitter is more popular than FB in Japan too.

          • Roar Guru

            Train Without A Station said | 2:46pm | ! Report

            It wasn’t 121k people.

            TV viewing is based on the average across the program.

            Despite spending most of the game with 800 people the end total was 121k. If I watched, closed twitter and opened again, I was counted as 2 viewers.

            Based on the times I saw the stream, their number based on the same calculation as tv ratings was around 800. Not 121,000.

      • 1:17pm
        Bob said | 1:17pm | ! Report

        121k views on Twitter is not a bad effort either

    • 9:50am
      What the said | 9:50am | ! Report

      You call these blokes from force pro rugby players!
      They get to train all day sip lattes and they provide a skill level that is a joke!
      These players couldn’t get a contract with super rugby or anywhere else with the majority plus 30 yrs!
      The captain and coach are matey matey buddy buddy,Prior isn’t even the best halfback in the club competition in Perth.
      Embarrassment this whole concept!

      • 11:06am
        mothy said | 11:06am | ! Report

        If your so disgruntled don’t watch it!

        • 11:52am
          Dave_S said | 11:52am | ! Report

          Its a tr0ll, mate. Don’t give it any oxygen and it goes away soon enough.

      • Roar Rookie

        ForceFan said | 9:59am | ! Report

        For information, the average age of the squad is 26yo. (Younger than some of the Aussie SR franchises).

        9 player 30yo or older.

        13 players 23yo or younger.

        The best game of International Rugby played in OZ this weekend.

    • 9:01am
      hog said | 9:01am | ! Report

      Yep, caught some of the game on Fox, quite good, entertaining and quite willing.

    • 10:45pm
      Daveski said | 10:45pm | ! Report

      Enjoyable match to watch. Plenty of action. No time-wasting, minimal stoppages. HK put up a decent fight.

      Clay Uyen or Andrew Deegan? Who’ll be first in a Walkabies jersey direct from WSR?

      • 6:12am
        Rugger said | 6:12am | ! Report

        The Force vs Hong Kong.

        Sounds more like a bucks party than a professional rugby match. This is really getting beyond the joke now,

        If Twiggy genuinely cared about the game he would be funding coaching in the heartland (where players actually come from)

        • 6:26am
          GrahamE said | 6:26am | ! Report

          Why would he do that ? The so called heartland abandoned the West and the opportunity when Twiggy offered $70m to the then FUARU to save the Force.

          He is now using that money – and more to ensure that WSR is a hit in the West.

          Wait until the $1m prize money and no salary cap comes into force in 2019. You’ll see RA squirm then.

          • Roar Guru

            Train Without A Station said | 9:33am | ! Report

            Really? $1M prize money and no salary cap will make them squirm?

            WSR teams are going to surely cost north of $5M to run – that’s a conservative estimate based on the 2018 Force which is probably under-spec compared to when they’ll be playing in an actual competition.

            Who is going to gamble millions in player contracts to win $1M?

            It’s good there’s a financial incentive. But it’s hardly going to be a game changer. While Super Rugby doesn’t have an official purse, lucrative home finals are a huge financial incentive for the teams already.

            • 11:35am
              mothy said | 11:35am | ! Report

              Whilst I agree with TWAS on some of those points, until I know the full lay out of next years competition how can I judge what will work when there are no details yet.

              Rugger really has a beef with Western Australia. He wants for all intensive purposes the sport dead in WA. It appears he is not into the growth of the game at all. Those players who are from the east don’t have SR contracts as yet. If they are good enough then they may lure the interest of the other SR teams. If they go I’ll be a little disappointed sure, but they are going to be either close to family, better their career from their point of view, or expand on their experiences in the sport in general. I’d never begrudge them that! What they are doing here is acting as people who junior players can look up to and aspire to play for a team like the Western Force in their home town. It adds as something to give children choice in this state besides, AFL, soccer and Cricket. If the Force were not here I’d seriously doubt participation levels at grassroots would improve when there is such a strong hold here from the other sports.

              This being said these juniors who do make it to Force in years to come if it is a success in preceding years will then be showcased to the rugby world and be given the same choices the eastern state players who are in the force have at the moment. It is about opportunity Rugger and without the force there is less opportunity for rugby players in Australia to show case their skills. When I say this I’m not saying at all the WSR is at the moment comparable with SR I’m saying it’s another game through media and the sport itself to display skills of players who are not in SR which are still part of Australia.

              How is WSR costing SR at all? Backed by Twiggy and drawing in crowds of 10000 plus keepin west Aussies interested. It’s no longer a competition between SR and WSR it’s just survival of the sport in the west with a hope of growing it into something else.

            • Roar Guru

              Bakkies said | 11:35pm | ! Report

              ‘lucrative home finals are a huge financial incentive for the teams already.’

              Really… The Brumbies actually lost money by hosting on a final against the Cheetahs due to having to fork out for the Cheetahs travelling costs.

        • 11:14am
          In Brief said | 11:14am | ! Report

          As opposed to what? The Sunwolves (howl, howl) vs the Rebels without a cause?

    • 10:45pm
      Tom English said | 10:45pm | ! Report

      Full Match Report

      The Force struck first in just the third minute of the game, after the Hong Kong Dragons had barely touched the ball, with Jack McGregor bursting through following Taefu’s break.

      Hong Kong were more than happy to kick the ball back to the Force, who took full advantage more than once, with Taefu making a burst once Hong Kong missed the touchline from a penalty kick, before McGregor capitalised out wide in the 21st minute.

      Peter Grant nailed the kick, while at the same time Ian Prior laid into his troops for “too much commentating and not enough playing.”

      HK showed plenty of patience, and were never going to be denied, scoring in the 28th minute after a multi phase buildup, as Hrstich went over from close range.

      Following a raft of scrums, Hong Kong cleared their 22, which allowed Lacey to burst right through and get some phase play happening on the line, but, before the big men could really get going, the men in blue spread it to Clay Uyen, who sold a dummy and scored out wide.
      The Force led at the break: 19-7

      Heiberg showed us a powerful run in the HK 22, opening it up for Lacey to almost cut through, before the Westerners then showed the patience Hong Kong were showing us in the first half with their try, setting it up for Harrison Orr to crash over!

      Turning off for a second cost the Westerners, as a poor disciplined late tackle cost them a penalty kick to the line, and then a try off a maul, to Mitch Andrews, which put the foreigners back in the contest in the 54th minute.

      In the 63rd minute, Clay Uyen was put through a gap, stepped past his man, and despite Higson-Smith nailing him at the last moment, got there in the end.

      The Force once again employed the maul as a scoring weapon, Graham Cooper awarding a penalty try, after a collapse of the maul.

      Blink and you missed it, as Johnnie McCormick-Houston fell over the line for the visitors, again directly after another attacking maul, with 7 minutes left in the match.

      The Force went side to side, looking for space in the Hong Kong defence, but a loose pass allowed Lewis Warner to sprint away, however the kick was missed, making any hope of winning a bridge too far for the visitors.

      The Dragons showed the long range attacking intent we hadn’t seen yet from them after the siren, with a power try being briefly on the cards.

      The Force were never letting that happen, however, with an intercept and a long set of phases leading to a penalty and driving over from the ensuing maul, to put the icing on the cake with a converted try.

    • 10:43pm
      Rugby101 said | 10:43pm | ! Report

      Thank you for doing this Tom, much appreciated. Despite the score it seemed to be an exciting match.

      • 10:46pm
        Tom English said | 10:46pm | ! Report

        Thanks 101, plenty of knock-ons, no doubt, but when the ball was in play, it was pretty exciting, yeah

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