Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay will take on Kerry Hotel Kowloon in round two of the Challenge Trophy with several changes throughout the squad.
Following last week’s loss to Natixis HKFC, Head Coach Brett Wilkinson has started the juggling act early in the comp, with injuries to skipper Gair Currie, young hooker, Callum Tam, and flanker Jules Gallay.
This means that Frenchman, Simon Bienvenu, a natural midfielder, slots ino the midfield with Guy Spanton, following a strong try-scoring debut last weekend.
Ben Davey moves from No. 8 into the second row, replacing Tala Toma, where he teams up with Mark Prior, who’d led the way last week with 22 tackles, and young flanker Felix Bravi moves to the back of the scrum.
Dean Rossouw has just caught his breath from round 1 and stays at openside flanker while Web Vueti stays on the blindside, rounding out a very mobile back three.
A strong performance last weekend ensures that the front row remains unchanged but on the bench, Tam is replaced by the evergreen Fai Mika who can cover all front row positions. Sean Casey gets the debut call up from the Vikings, joining Damian Bailey, Jacob Rumball and Ben Featherstone on the forwards bench.
In the backs, George Humphreys, who came on to the flyhalf position early last Saturday with the injury to Currie, retains the 10 shirt while Nik Cumming slots back to fullback and Iwan Phillips slides out to the right wing. Jack Metters retains the scrumhalf position.
The backs bench consists of Stu Black and Johnny Cimmerbeck with another debutant, young Macanese sensation Rodrigo Castanheira, getting his first taste of premiership footy.
With eight debutants taking to the field last weekend and two more collecting their first caps tomorrow, Wilkinson and is coaching team are using these early Challenge Trophy games to provide much needed game time to fresh faces – allowing them to get a first feel for the Hong Kong top level rugby.
Remaining off limits are national reps Liam Slatem, Luke van der Smit, Alex Post, Alex McQueen, Tom McQueen and Sebastian Brien but the ranks will be bolstered next week with the arrival of the final two players that make up the Herbert Smith Freehills Sandy Bay Premiership squad.
Kowloon battled to a 19-12 win over HK Scottish in the previous weeks round, showing that they mean business and are much better than their wooden spoon season in 2018/19.
Get along and support the men from the Bay.
Kick-off is at 4:15pm at So Kon Po.
Up the Bay!