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8th March 2016

BGC Asia Pacific Dragons target third straight GFI HKFC 10s success

The APDs won their second straight Cup title last year - can they make it three on the bounce?

APDs bidding for third straight Cup title and fourth overall at Hong Kong Football Club

March 8, 2016: BGC Asia Pacific Dragons (APDs) will bid for a third successive Cup title and a fourth overall at the GFI HKFC 10s when the defending champions return to Hong Kong Football Club for the tournament’s 31st edition from April 6-7.

Penguins, the 2013 champions and twice runners-up, and two-time finalists Samurai are among other high-profile teams in the field. 

Australia legend George Smith and long-time Tonga captain Nili Latu captained the APDs to victory in 2014 and 2015 respectively, each time beating Tradition YCAC in the final.

The APDs will now attempt to become only the fourth team to win the Cup for three straight years and match New Zealand Metro (2006-08), Fijian side Magicians (1998-2000) and New Zealand Forces Southeast Asia (1987-1989).

The feat even eluded Aliens, the star-studded New Zealand side who lifted the Cup a record seven times, but never three times in a row.

Mark Webster, Executive Managing Director of BGC Asia, title sponsor of the APDs since 2011, said: “BGC Asia Pacific Dragons has quickly made a name for itself in the GFI HKFC 10s for bringing some of the best-known names in rugby to Hong Kong, and also as a team that provides a platform for rising stars to shine.

They have always brought a team to win and having won the Cup three times in the past four years, we know it has now become a team that everyone wants to beat. Only a few teams have won the Cup three times in a row, so this will be the target, but there will be a lot of good teams to beat in order to achieve this.

“As a sponsor, we’re also very proud the team has become one of the most entertaining to watch for rugby and that is very important, along with the amount of kids coaching and school visits the team has done to help promote rugby.”

The side have won the Cup for three of the past four years under the guidance of Tana Umaga, but the former All Blacks captain won’t be in charge this year following his appointment as head coach of the Blues, the three-time Super Rugby champions.

The APDs first won the Cup in 2012 when All Blacks legend Justin Marshall – New Zealand’s most-capped scrumhalf – captained the side to victory with a 10-7 win over New Zealand Legends. The following year, eventual champions Penguins knocked out Umaga’s men in the quarter-finals.

The APDs have been the tournament’s most high-profile side since their debut in 2011, when Wallaby legend David Campese led a squad featuring Marshall, George Gregan, Christian Cullen and Rico Gear to the final, where they lost to a Tradition Valley side dominated by top-class New Zealanders.

Long renowned as the world’s best 10s, the GFI HKFC 10s has long attracted the game’s top players including seven of the New Zealand team who won the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino, Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Sam Cane and Charlie Faumuina.

Since GFI began its title sponsorship in 2006, the 10s has featured Joe Roff and Toutai Kefu (both 2006), Jonah Lomu (2007), Brian Lima and Israel Dagg (2008), Bob Skinstad (2009), Waisale Serevi (2010), George Gregan and Christian Cullen (2011), Justin Marshall (2011, 2012), Mils Muliaina (2012), Marty Holah (2013), George Smith, Alesana Tuilagi and Rupeni Caucaunibuca (2014), Todd Clever (2012, 2013, 2015) and Rico Gear (2011, 2013, 2015).

Along with GFI, other sponsors in 2016 include Allied World, Natixis and Rugby Pass (gold sponsors), DHL, Q-Net, Swire Properties and Withers (silver), Cashmaster, CBRE, CPA Global, EY, Markel and Structure Tone (bronze), Pure Blonde (official beer), Tsunami (official apparel). Make-A-Wish Hong Kong is this year’s official charity.

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