King’s College at the University of Queensland (10th seed) has boomed into contention for Pool C honours at the GFI Hong Kong 10s tournament with a ruthless 19-0 victory over UBB Gavekal (6th seed).
Boasting three National Rugby Championship forwards in the forward pack, King’s forwards were simply magnificent in laying the platform for a complete victory.
In perhaps the understatement of the tournament so far, a ground announcer commented after the match that “King’s College would be a tough team to face” as the tournament wore on.
Spearheaded by hooker Campbell Wakely and lock Phil Potgieter King's lineout was unstoppable, but it was a whole pack effort to achieve the level scrummaging dominance they did.
With the boot of University of Queensland Premier Grade flyhalf Ed Gibson pinning Gavekal deep in their own half Gavekal’s discipline melted away, leaving the game wide open for King’s to take.
Perhaps even more impressive than the King’s set piece play was the fortitude shown in defence; throughout a 23-minute match, King’s completed all but one tackle, in final play.
Gavekal were firm in defence themselves, but were forced to defend for the entirety of the match as superb game management wore them down.
A high tackle in the fifth minute gifted King’s a lineout five-metres out, which was taken in to a rolling maul.
As progress was halted, hooker Campbell Wakely peeled around the corner and split the gap to score.
King’s finely-tuned ‘umbrella’ defence kept Gavekal contained to a 15m zone in centre field, providing ample opportunity for our talented forwards to pressure their ball.
Gavekal’s frustration proved the catalyst for King’s next scoring play as a yellow card was shown for a third high tackle.
A second rolling maul took King’s to the line, but captain Matt McCormick pick and drove over it to seize the 12-point lead.
The story was much the same in the second half as King’s choked Gavekal out of the match.
Irish international Harry McNulty showcased his class in the sixth minute of the second-half, throwing an outrageous dummy pass before skipping inside his defender to push the game out of contention.
King’s College head coach Dave Jackman said that the side had no expectations coming in to the tournament, but had faith in the game plan to deliver the result.
“We pinned them deep in their half and we knew that if they didn’t have the ball the only thing they could do was try to weather our storm.
“Our forward pack were the ones that really won us the game, and I really think that their fitness was key. Even though Gavekal outweighed us we were just really intense in the lineout, scrums and the rucks. We really worked hard to get them blowing.
“I think Penguins are tough opposition, so we’ll need to be even better to produce the same result next match. As long as we stick to our plan and starve them of ball I think hopefully we can hold them out.
“We’re going to go in to it with a fresh mindset. This is a whole new game,” Jackman said.
King's play Penguins in the Pool-deciding clash at 6:50 local time, taking in to account the delayed kick-off.