Alesana Tuilagi to represent Natixis HKFC, Tackle Cancer at GFI HKFC 10s
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Also featuring in Pool C with the hosts, Stephen Larkham will coach a Classic Wallabies squad featuring Wendell ‘Big Dell’ Sailor and Australia Sevens stars, Penguins co-coach Scott Waldrom recruits his brother ‘Thomas the Tank’, while former All Blacks centre Antony Tuitavake is surrounded by internationals from Japan, Fiji and Tonga in an exciting Asia Pacific Dragons line-up
Hong Kong; March 27, 2019: Alesana Tuilagi will compete in next week’s GFI HKFC 10s at Hong Kong Football Club as a special guest for hosts Natixis HKFC, five years after helping Asia Pacific Dragons win the Cup for a second time under Tana Umaga.
On April 4, the ‘Samoan Bulldozer’ will also play in the star-studded Rugby Legends Tackle Cancer exhibition match, with long-time England lock Simon Shaw, former All Black Scott Waldrom and Hong Kong icon Rowan Varty also joining 10 other internationals – previously announced – helping to raise money for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund.
Originally billed as the ‘new Jonah Lomu’, Tuilagi competed in the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups, and is renowned for making the most of his 115-125kg frame.
The enormous winger helped Leicester Tigers reach eight straight English Premiership playoff finals from 2005 to 2012 – winning three times – and two European Cup finals, and was still playing top-flight rugby for French giants Toulon in 2017.
Samoa Sevens hotstepper Neria Fomai joins his compatriot in the HKFC squad as the home team look to build on last year’s victory in the fourth-tier Shield.
The 14th seeds start in Pool C with third seeds Grove Penguins, sixth seeds Asia Pacific Dragons and 11th seeds Classic Wallabies, who are also bringing in star names.
Stephen Larkham, who won 102 caps for Australia and the 1999 World Cup, will coach the Classic Wallabies, while Justin Harrison, the former Australia lock who coached the Classics in Hong Kong for the past two years, will be manager.
Larkham, who competed in three World Cups, played 12 seasons with the Brumbies and then in Japan before coaching the Brumbies and spending the past four years as Australia’s attack coach.
His squad includes Wendell ‘Big Dell’ Sailor, playing 10s for a third year, fellow former Wallabies Steve Kefu, Laurie Weeks, Albert Anae and Nathan Charles, as well as several current Australia Sevens players including Boyd Killingworth, Brandon Quinn and Tom Connor.
Asia Pacific Dragons return after a year’s absence with a strong squad featuring former All Blacks centre Anthony Tuitavake and Tonga legend Nili Latu, who captained the APDs to their third victory under Tana Umaga in 2015, following earlier wins in 2012 and 2014.
Takuro Miuchi is head coach and is assisted by fellow former Japan captain Takashi Kikutani and Atsushi Tanabe, while Japan national team players include talismanic prop Kensuke Hatakeyama, flyhalf Jumpei Ogura and wing Christian Loamanu.
Hooker Sefo Sakalia and flyhalf Kali Hala of Tonga, and Fijians Naulia Dawai, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Josua Kerevi and veteran Sireli Bobo are among other internationals.
Willie Walker and former All Black Scott Waldrom will co-coach Penguins for the third time in four years, with Thomas ‘The Tank’ Waldrom – Scott’s younger brother and a former England international – strengthening this year’s squad.
Englishman Jordan Simpson-Hefft returns from Penguins’ victorious 2016 team while other players back from recent years include newly capped Tonga prop Tolu Fahamokioa (2015), former Scotland Sevens scrumhalf Russell Weir (2017) and Kiwi centre James Little (2018). Hulking winger William Warbrick, 21, joins Little, 23, in the Penguins squad after the pair were recently included in the New Zealand Sevens development squad.
Pools A, B, C and D will be held on Wednesday before the knockout matches commence on Thursday, when the Rugby Legends Tackle Cancer exhibition match will kick-off at 3.50pm – ahead of the Cup semi-finals – to raise money for Hong Kong Cancer Fund, the tournament’s official charity.
The confirmed sevens and 15s internationals for Tackle Cancer comprise Alesana Tuilagi (Samoa), David Campese, Justin Harrison (Australia), DJ Forbes, Scott Waldrom, Terry Wright (New Zealand), Jim Hamilton (Scotland), Sam Viriviri (Fiji), Rowan Varty (Hong Kong), Simon Shaw, Tom Varndell, Andy Goode, Ben Gollings and Rob Vickerman (England).
The match will be a 10-a-side touch contest, with each team mixing the current and former rugby stars with amateurs. Money will be raised by sponsorship, participation and on-site donations.
34th GFI HKFC 10s: Teams by seeding/pool (with selected highlights)
- (A) Biarritz Gavekal (Cup winners 2017, 2018)
- (B) Tradition YCAC (Cup runners-up 2014, 2015, 2018)
- (C) Grove Penguins (Cup winners 2013, 2016)
- (D) Mourant Fiji Army (Debut 2019)
- (D) Samurai International (Cup runners-up 2010, 2013, 2016)
- (C) Asia Pacific Dragons (Cup winners 2012, 2014, 2015)
- (B) A-Trade Overseas Old Boys (Plate winners 2016; Plate runners-up 2018)
- (A) Kir Club Pyrenees (Cup semis 2009; Plate winners 2017)
- (A) Projecx Waterboys (Plate semis 2016, 2017, 2018)
- (B) Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles (Cup semis 2015; Bowl winners 2018)
- (C) Classic Wallabies (Bowl semis 2017, 2018)
- (D) Hunter and Boo East Africans (Bowl runners-up 2018)
- (D) Tiger Rugby (Bowl semis 2018)
- (C) Natixis HKFC (Shield Winners 2012, 2016, 2018)
- (B) Irish Vikings (Bowl runners-up 2009, 2017; Shield winners 2010, 2013)
- (A) Shanghai RFC Silver Dragons (Shield winners 2017)
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About GFI HKFC 10s
Hong Kong Football Club has hosted the 10s every year since it was first staged in 1986 to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary. The GFI HKFC 10s is annually held on the Wednesday and Thursday before the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens and is also sanctioned by the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU). GFI Group, a leading provider of brokerage services and trading support products, has title sponsored the event since 2006. The tournament traditionally attracts many stars of the game including seven of the New Zealand squad that won the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Since GFI started its title sponsorship, the tournament has featured Joe Roff and Toutai Kefu (both 2006), Jonah Lomu (2007), Brian Lima and Israel Dagg (2008), Bob Skinstad (2009), Waisale Serevi, Beauden Barrett and Sam Cane (2010), George Gregan and Christian Cullen (2011), Justin Marshall (2011, 2012), Mils Muliaina (2012), Marty Holah and Nehe Milner-Skudder (2013), George Smith, Alesana Tuilagi and Rupeni Caucaunibuca (2014), Todd Clever (2012, 2013, 2015), Rico Gear (2011, 2013, 2015), Jimmy Cowan, Carl Hayman and Nate Ebner (2016), Damien Traille (2017) and Wendell Sailor (2017-18).
About GFI Group Inc.
Founded in New York in 1987 and acquired by BGC Partners in 2015, GFI Group Inc (GFI) provides competitive wholesale market brokerage services in a multitude of global over-the-counter (OTC) and exchange listed cash and derivatives markets. Over more than 25 years, GFI has expanded both organically and through acquisitions into a broad range of markets, including fixed income derivatives, cash fixed income, emerging market financial products, energy and commodity derivatives, and equities. GFI employs more than 2,100 people with additional offices in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Cape Town, Santiago, Bogota, Lima, Dubai, Dublin, Tel Aviv, Calgary, Los Angeles and Sugar Land (TX). GFI provides services and products to over 2,600 institutional clients, including leading investment and commercial banks, corporations, insurance companies and hedge funds. Its brands include GFISM, GFInet®, CreditMatch®, GFI ForexMatch®, EnergyMatch®, FENICS®, Starsupply® and Amerex®.
About Hong Kong Cancer Fund
Our mission is to ensure that no one faces cancer alone. Hong Kong Cancer Fund is the city’s largest cancer support organisation, providing free information and professional support to anyone living with or affected by cancer. Established in 1987, our vision is to improve the quality of cancer support in Hong Kong and ensure that no one faces cancer alone. We began by offering free information and support, these activities have slowly expanded over time to address all aspects of care through our support centres in the community and hospital network. Our work now encompasses psychosocial services, public education, cancer research, home care, peer support, complementary therapies, funding of hospital equipment and much more. These services all help to address the gaps in cancer care and improve the lives of people touched by the condition. To facilitate our work, we have a network that comprises of five CancerLink support centres and Cancer Patient Resource Centres (CPRs) at seven major public hospitals.