South Korea sealed second spot in the Asian Five Nations rugby tournament, scoring six tries in a thumping 50-24 win over Hong Kong yesterday.
Both teams were battling for second place in the inaugural competition after Japan romped to four wins out of four, but the South Koreans were much stronger than the home side, racing into an early 24-0 lead.
Disappointed Hong Kong coach John Walters said his side’s slow start had cost them dearly.
“We took a long time to get going and we didn’t rip into it with the tempo we wanted,” Walters said.
But he was confident of his side’s chances for next season.
“It was our aim to be the most physical team in Asia and it’s pretty close,” he said, adding that Hong Kong had a solid base on which to build for their next campaign.
Early pressure from South Korea led to a drop goal in the second minute scored by the impressive No. 10 Hong Jun-ki.
The powerful South Koreans raced into a 24-0 lead within 15 minutes, a combination of strong running and Hong Kong missed tackles leading to tries for Kim Tae-hyung, Kim Hyun-woo and Kim Sung-soo, all converted by Hong Jun-ki.
Midway through the first half Hong Kong got on the scoreboard with a converted try to Simon Hempel, but another try from Kim Sung-soo and two penalties for South Korea dented any Hong Kong hopes of a comeback in the first period, giving the visitors a 35-7 lead at the break.
In the second half Korea put the game beyond the home side, stretching their lead to 50-7 with the help of tries for Heo Woong and Chae Jae-young.
Three late tries from Hong Kong narrowed the gap, but it was a comprehensive win for South Korea.