Asia Rugby Championship: Malaysia 6-70 Hong Kong China – Dragon’s ease to 10 try Victory - Ruck

Asia Rugby Championship: Malaysia 6-70 Hong Kong China – Dragon’s ease to 10 try Victory

By Etienne Turpin

Hong Kong China keep their unbeaten run going as they ran in 10 tries to defeat Malaysia on Saturday afternoon. A second win in the ARC sees them set up a potential ‘final’ against South Korea next weekend to decide the champion.

Their last meeting ending in a comprehensive victory for Hong Kong China at the iconic HKFC stadium where the home side won 88-9 with Seb Brien scoring five tries.

Malaysia almost scored straight from kick off when Harith Iqbal Ahnar broke out from a couple of tacklers before showing incredible speed before finding an excellent 50-22 but they failed to capitalise on the opportunity and Hong Kong China turned the ball over.

But Hong Kong China eventually got into gears and got the first try of the game through Alex Post after their driving maul was too much to handle for the Malaysian defence. Altier converted the try to make it a full seven pointer.

Malaysia responded positively and got on the board after 10 minutes through as Chapman penalty after winning the ball back from kick off. The fans turned up in numbers and showed their excitement as the Bunga Rayas got their first points of the game.

Unfortunately for Malaysia, Amizan was deemed to have intentionally knocked on when Hong Kong China looked set on scoring and were awarded a penalty try.

With the extra man, Hong Kong China made Malayisa pay and soon went over for their third try through Paul Altier after a powerful charge from Kyle Sullivan. The ball was shifted wide, and the talented winger raced over to silence the home fans.

And try number four came straight from kick off when Hong Kong China made a mess of the restart, but Hrsitch gathered the ball and found space down field before Ben Axten-Burrett and Glyn Hughes combined before finding the former U20s captain McNutt who raced over for the bonus point try.

Kyle Sullivan who was fortunate to get away with a shoulder charge earlier on in the game was penalised again when he used his fist to strike Amizan three times. Due to the lack of force, the second row only saw yellow but a fifth try scored by Axten-Burrett was disallowed.

Paul Altier showed great feet to go over for Hong Kong China’s fifth try after they managed quick ball from a ruck. Altier converted the try as he took his tally to 20 points for the game.

The sixth try soon followed as captain Josh Hrstich powered over from close range. Avitabile’s kick down field put immense pressure on Raihan who was forced to take the ball out of play and Hong Kong China needed just three pick and go’s to get over the line.

It took Hong Kong China less than five minutes to score in the second half after they demolished the Malaysian scrum. Hrstich came close to getting over the line but Solomon Penesa barged over for the try.

Malaysia won a rare scrum penalty and despite the 46-points difference, they chose to take the three and Chapman nailed his kick from 40 metres to give Malaysia their first points of the second half.

But Hong Kong China responded immediately through their captain Hrstich after Malaysia knocked the ball on after kick-off. Seb Brien showed great strength to evade a few tackles before Hrstich ran in for his second.

Malayisa managed to stop Hong Kong China from scoring for almost 10 minutes but they were under constant pressure and eventually they cracked as Calum Scott went over for another try for Hong Kong China.

Hong Kong China scored a lovely tenth try which was finished off by Jamie Pincott after a beautiful offload from Calum Scott. A try straight from kick off as Hong Kong hit 70 for the afternoon.

Malaysia: 6



PENALTIES: 1 (Chapman 10’, 56’)


YELLOW CARDS: 1 (Amizan 16’)


15. Anwarul Hafiz Bin Ahmad, 14. Harith Iqbal Ahnar, 13. Azwan Zuwairi Mat Zizi, 12. Hakim Bin Abu Hassan, 11. Kamal Hamidi Raihan, 10. Lee James Chapman, 9. Mohamad Nasharuddin Isamil, 1. Azri Mohd Kamal, 2. Amirul Mukminin Amizan, 3. Syahmi Afiq Edan, 4. Shobrey Amok, 5. Sameer Sani Surinder, 6. Syarif Nurhidayat, 7. Suhalkal Suhaimi, 8. Amirul Aiman Ihsan.

16. Mohd Nurazman Ramli, 17. Azam Fakhrullah, 18. Abrar Zanuddin, 19. Harith El Iskander Shah, 20. Amin Jamaluddin, 21. Razali Ramlan, 22. Nzareen Fitri Nasrudin, 23. Zulkiflee Azmi.

Hong Kong China: 70

TRIES: 9 (Post 7’, Penalty Try 16’, Altier 19’, 33’, McNutt 21’, Hrstich 37’, 57’, Solomona Penesa 44’, Scott 67’, Pincott 68’)

CONVERSIONS: 9 (Altier 8’, 20’, 22’, 34’, 38’. 46’, 58’, Penalty Try 16’, Avitabile 68’, 70’)



YELLOW CARDS: 1 (Sullivan 28’)


15. Matteo Avitabile, 14. Paul Altier, 13. Jack Neville, 12. Ben Axten-Burrett, 11. Seb Brien, 10. Glyn Hughes, 9. Harry Laidler, 1. Rory Cinnamond, 2. Alex Post, 3. Faizal Solomona Penesa, 4. Kyle Sullivan, 5. Callum McCullough, 6. Tyler McNutt, 7. Pierce Mackinlay-West, 8. Josh Hrstich.

16. Callum Scott, 17. Chukwudi Edison, 18. Zacceus Cinnamond, 19. Jamie Pincott, 20. James Sawyer, 21. Camill Cheung, 22. Murray Brechin, 23. Tom Hill.

Five Talking Points: Malaysia 6-70 Hong Kong China

  1. Hong Kong China ease to victory.

The Malaysians showed great fight today, but Hong Kong China were too clinical and professional as they scored 10 tries. Winger Paul Altier and captain Josh Hrstich both crossed for two tries each.

2. Hong Kong China’s Unbeaten run continues.

Hong Kong China last tasted defeat in an official match during the 2023 RWC repechage against the USA (49-7), since then, they have won seven on the bounce and will look to extend that run to eight next week.

3. Malaysia heading to relegation play off

Back-to-back defeats for Malaysia means that they sit bottom of the ARC table with their next game against the UAE being crucial as they look to keep their RWC qualifications hopes alive.

4. Weather warnings delay start

Stormy weathers threatened the game and caused the kick off to be delayed by half an hour. Hrstich said that the delay caused the early stages of the game to be ‘chaotic’.

5. Hong Kong China ready for South America tour

The Dragons have a busy summer schedule with three test matches in South America against Chile, Brazil, and Paraguay. The rise of South American rugby in recent years should prove to be a great challenge for Hong Kong China who seem to be the favourites to qualify as Asia’s team for the 2027 RWC.