It was another Valley Black onslaught at Happy Valley as the defending Grand Champions put USRC Tigers away early with three tries in the opening 20 minutes, before lapses in concentration saw them drift for the remainder of the half.
James Elliot, Valley’s coach, credited a tough Tigers pack and injuries to several key players – Hong Kong internationals Adrienne Garvey, Colleen Tjosvold and Stephanie Cuvelier were all missing from the backline – as partial reasons for the drift. “Tigers were really strong at the scrums and dominated us on a few occasions,” said Elliot.
“We also had a lot of unforced errors due to a lack of cohesion in the backs as there were quite a few replacements today, some of whom hadn’t trained together or even played yet this season. But we still have four weeks remaining to work on that cohesion before the Grand Championships” added Elliot.
Valley scored seven tries with flanker Olivia Coady and No.8 Amelie Seure both collecting braces, while Nadia Cuvelier, Zoe Smith and Caitlin Spencer added tries of their own. Smith added four conversions.
With four of those tries coming from the forwards, Elliot gave due credit to his back row trio of flankers Coady and Toto Cheng and No.8 Seure for holding up to the Tigers challenge.
“Amelie and Olivia combined really well and Toto was everywhere causing problems for the Tigers, she was a real livewire.”
Adrienne Davis, promoted from the club’s NL1, performed well as did Spencer, who scored Valley’s opening try on her first match for the club in five years after recently returning to Hong Kong.
Extra tackling practice is likely this week after two Valley players were sin-binned in the final ten minutes for high tackles, allowing Tigers to put their only points on the board in the 76th minute. Valley Black have now conceded just 21 points over eight games this season.
In the days other Premiership action current table toppers Gai Wu Falcons comfortably beat HKFC Ice 73-3, Valley have two games in hand on the league leaders. Kowloon were left frustrated after a narrow loss to Causeway Bay Phoenix in a match where it enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but saw the result slip from their hands through unforced errors.
Additional reporting and photos: HKrugby