South Korea withstood a second-half fightback to defeat Hong Kong 33-26 and earn their first victory of the inaugural Asia Rugby Championship yesterday.
After a competitive showing against Japan last week, a match-hardened South Korea had the answers in a game that was one-sided early before developing into an enthralling contest.
Hong Kong pushed until the final whistle, storming back from a 21-point deficit through tries to John Aikman, Alex McQueen and Kam Shing-yiu, before controlling the play in a nerve-wracking final few minutes.
South Korea coach Chung Hyung-seok was pleased that his side were able to hold on, adding that the performance was slightly better than expected.
“We had to earn it,” Chung said.
“All 15 members of the side wanted it and that is how we won the game,” Chung added.
South Korea made all the running early on, forcing Hong Kong onto the back foot with their intensity and strength.
It did not take the visitors long to hit the scoreboard, with their attacking style of play netting tries to Seong Min-jang and Bin Jegal in the opening 10 minutes.
Hong Kong’s Thomas McQueen crossed before South Korea regained the momentum, with Jang scrambling his second try late in the first half to put his side 25-7 up at the halftime break.
Oh Youn-hyung kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 21 points before Aikman’s try put Hong Kong back in the hunt — only for Chang Yong-heung to reply for South Korea.
Alex McQueen and Kam went over for Hong Kong, setting up a frenetic finish.
However, there was no way back for the hosts, who now sit bottom of the three-team table behind joint leaders South Korea and Japan, Asia’s top-ranked side.
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