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21th March 2016

China national team among four debutants at GFI HKFC 10s

The China national team will compete at the 31st GFI HKFC 10s as CRFA Gladiators.

China, two Australian sides and UAE-based Projecx Waterboys freshen up the world-famous 10-a-side invitational, which will kick off its fourth decade at Hong Kong Football Club next month

March 21, 2016: The China national team, competing as CRFA Gladiators, will compete in the GFI HKFC 10s for the first time from April 6-7. Jiang Liwei, one of several members of the squad who played at the 2014 Asian Games, will captain the side.

China Agricultural University, who competed from 1996 through 2012, and Shandong province, who competed last year, were among previous Chinese teams at the annual 10-a-side event at Hong Kong Football Club.

The King’s College at The University of Queensland and Melbourne-based XBlades Rowzy Pegasi are also among debutants at the tournament’s 31st edition along with Projecx Waterboys, a Dubai-based side with British management.

CRFA Gladiators, the 14th seeds, and King’s College at UQ (10th) will both compete in Pool C, which also features third seeds Penguins, the 2013 champions, and sixth seeds UBB Gavekal, who represent Top 14 club Union Bordeaux Begles but whose squad this year is dominated by players from South Africa and New Zealand.

Tournament Director Craig Wootten said: “The GFI HKFC 10s has a strong line-up this year with the return of the ‘big four’ of BGC Asia Pacific Dragons, Tradition YCAC, Penguins and Samurai, plus some interesting new teams to freshen up the tournament.

“CRFA Gladiators are a very exciting addition. We had CAU compete for 17 straight years and then we had Shandong last year, but this is the first time we’ve had the China national team. We’re also very happy to welcome King’s College of The University of Queensland, who will be young and fit, and fellow newcomers XBlades Rowzy Pegasi and Projecx Waterboys.”

Top seeds BGC Asia Pacific Dragons – champions in 2012, 2014 and 2015 – start their sixth GFI HKFC 10s campaign in Pool A against tournament stalwarts Irish Vikings, A-Trade Overseas Old Boys and Devils Own Shanghai Rugby.

Second seeds Tradition YCAC, runners-up for the past two years, head Pool B featuring Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles, last year’s semi-finalists, first-timers XBlades Rowzy Pegasi and GFI East Africans, who are competing for the second year.

Fourth seeds Samurai, finalists in 2010 and 2013, compete in Pool D with KIR Club Pyrenees, Projecx Waterboys and hosts Natixis HKFC, who have played in every edition from the inaugural 10s in 1986.

Renowned as the world’s best annual 10-a-side tournament, 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, Structure Tone and Tricor (bronze), Pure Blonde (official beer) and Tsunami (official apparel). Make-A-Wish Hong Kong is this year’s official charity.


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