Nic Darveniza in Hong Kong
A late flurry of points from Hong Kong 10s powerhouse Penguins Rugby proved enough to sink the previously undefeated King’s College at the University of Queensland, 17-0.
King’s held the 2012 Cup Champions to 5-points for 18 of the match’s 20 minutes in a courageous defensive effort, but the class of the Penguins saw the result tipped their way late.
Two moments of almost indefensible magic sealed the game, likely sealing King’s into second place in Pool C with a Cup Quarter-Final berth with a similarly strong Samurai side.
Coach Jarrod Kiston said: “That game was a massive defensive effort. The boys really didn’t get their hands on much ball but still just kept getting up no matter how hard they got knocked down. I think they did that for each other, which is exactly how we’d want it to be.
“We did stick to our gameplan, but I think on a different day it might have gone better. I think we exited really well but those Penguins were just relentless.
“We have a system in place that we know can work, if a few things went our way it would be a different story. If anything maybe it would have been to chance our arm even earlier, but that’s experience gained for next time
“I think that if we played those guys first it definitely would have been a different result,” Kidston continued.
“But that’s how tournaments are and the challenge is to keep backing up.
“I think we did that well and I think we’ll continue to do that well against the Chinese national team next match,” Kidston said.
Penguins launched their first raid from kick-off, but were held out by committed defence in what would become a recurring theme through the match.
King’s stuck to the assigned game plan in the face of their toughest challenger yet, clearing the line to relieve pressure and in turn hope to apply their own.
Penguins proved a difficult opponent to pin down, capable of launching withering counter-attacks and pinpoint kicks in return with equal ease.
Penguins were able to cross through a set-piece move midway through the first half, beating King’s for pace on the outside to take a 5-0 lead.
Though the Penguins were a handful in attack, King’s defence drew just as many oohs and aahs from a crowd firmly in the underdogs favour.
Pressure in defence created multiple errors from the day’s most clinical attacking team, ranging from not-straight lineouts, knocking on in contact, to general inaccurate passing.
Jock Campbell, Kim Henderson and Campbell Wakely all recorded crunching try-saving tackles, the latter two forcing knock-ons in the process.
In the end a basketball pass on the left wing unlocked the space for an unstoppable race downhill to push the lead to 10-0.
Penguins soon struck again by capitalising on the lack of a backrow in the scrum.
A clever halfback scoot caught up the defending halfback in the legs of the second row, gifting the Penguins an untouched waltz through the goalposts as time drew to a close.
King’s play the Chinese National team at 9:30 pm AEST tonight.