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1st April 2019

More internationals added to Rugby Legends Tackle Cancer game

Left to right: Robbie McRobbie, CEO, Hong Kong Rugby Union; Ashley Walsh, Chief Operating Officer Asia Pacific, GFI; Gareth Wilde, Chairman, GFI HKFC 10s Organising Committee; Sally Lo, Founder and Chief Executive, Hong Kong Cancer Fund; Scott Waldrom, Rugby Legends Tackle Cancer & Co-coach, Grove Penguins

England’s most-capped player and a former Scotland prop bolster a star-studded line-up for Thursday’s exhibition charity game to raise money for Hong Kong Cancer Fund, official charity of this year’s GFI HKFC 10s

Jason Leonard, England’s most-capped test rugby player, and former Scotland prop Tom Smith are the latest high-profile additions to the first Rugby Legends Tackle Cancer exhibition game, which will be a highlight of this week’s 34th GFI HKFC 10s at Hong Kong Football Club.

The 10-a-side game of touch rugby will raise money for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, the tournament’s official charity, and kick-off on Thursday at 3.50pm, ahead of the Cup semi-finals on the event’s second and final day.

Leonard played 114 tests for England from 1990-2004, won the 2003 World Cup in his fourth appearance at rugby’s biggest event, and played in British and Irish Lions tours in New Zealand in 1993, South Africa in 1997 and Australia in 2001.

Smith, who won 61 caps for Scotland from 1997-2005, was Leonard’s Lions teammate in both 1997 – when the touring side won 2-1 – and 2001, and the only Scot to play all six matches in the two series.

England flyhalf Andy Goode and former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton will captain the Tackle Cancer teams, which now include 16 current and former sevens and 15s internationals, who will play with local amateurs. Money will be raised by sponsorship, participation and on-site donations. 

Goode’s provisional side includes English compatriots Jason Leonard, Simon Shaw, Rob Vickerman, Ben Gollings and Tom Varndell, as well as Scotland’s Smith and Hong Kong’s own Rowan Varty.

Hamilton’s team includes Australians David Campese, Justin Harrison (Australia), DJ Forbes, Scott Waldrom, Terry Wright (New Zealand), Alesana Tuilagi (Samoa) and Sam Viriviri (Fiji).

Gareth Wilde, Chairman of the tournament’s Organising Committee, said: “We were hopeful of the support of a few internationals when we had the idea of Rugby Legends Tackle Cancer, so we’ve been overwhelmed by how many top players from all over the world have committed to playing.

“The fact we’ve added Jason Leonard and Tom Smith to the line-up shows you what the global rugby family is prepared to do to help those in need. We’re all committed to making this a success for Hong Kong Cancer Fund, as the official charity of the GFI HKFC 10s and also as an amazing organisation that has made such a difference to so many people’s lives here in Hong Kong for over three decades.”

Wilde spoke at a press conference on Monday alongside New Zealand’s Waldrom, Ashley Walsh, GFI’s Chief Operating Officer Asia Pacific, Robbie McRobbie, CEO of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, and Sally Lo, founder and Chief Executive of Hong Kong Cancer Fund. 

Lo, who founded the organisation in 1987, said: “I would like to give a wholehearted thank you to the Organising Committee for making the Hong Kong Cancer Fund the official charity for this year’s GFI HKFC 10s. This world-class event will help us put the spotlight on cancer care and the free professional services we provide.

“We are thrilled the tournament is organising a charity game with so many famous rugby legends to help us tackle cancer. I’d like to thank all the players for giving up their time to play this match. I’m very much looking forward to the game and the two days of rugby.”

GFI’s Walsh, who will play on Goode’s team, added: “GFI is now in its 14th year as title sponsor of the GFI HKFC 10s and is delighted to continue our support of the ‘World’s Best 10s’, which continues to be a highlight of Hong Kong’s famous rugby week.

“The creation of the Rugby Legends Tackle Cancer game is a particularly admirable initiative and we’re fully supportive of the efforts by Gareth and his team to support the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. The 10s is a fantastic event that attracts local and international teams and spectators, and sets the scene for this special week for rugby in Hong Kong.”

34th GFI HKFC 10s: Teams by seeding/pool (with selected highlights)

1      (A) Biarritz Gavekal (Cup winners 2017, 2018)

2      (B) Tradition YCAC (Cup runners-up 2014, 2015, 2018)

3      (C) Grove Penguins (Cup winners 2013, 2016)

4      (D) Mourant Fiji Army (Debut 2019)

5      (D) Samurai International (Cup runners-up 2010, 2013, 2016)

6      (C) Asia Pacific Dragons (Cup winners 2012, 2014, 2015)

7      (B) A-Trade Overseas Old Boys (Plate winners 2016; Plate runners-up 2018)

8      (A) Kir Club Pyrenees (Cup semis 2009; Plate winners 2017)

9      (A) Projecx Waterboys (Plate semis 2016, 2017, 2018)

10   (B) Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles (Cup semis 2015; Bowl winners 2018)

11   (C) Classic Wallabies (Bowl semis 2017, 2018)

12   (D) Hunter and Boo East Africans (Bowl runners-up 2018)

13   (D) Tiger Rugby (Bowl semis 2018)

14   (C) Natixis HKFC (Shield Winners 2012, 2016, 2018)

15   (B) Irish Vikings (Bowl runners-up 2009, 2017; Shield winners 2010, 2013)

16   (A) Shanghai RFC Silver Dragons (Shield winners 2017)

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