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A-Trade Overseas Old Boys

Home: Hong Kong  Players: International  Founded: 2004

HKFC 10s: 15 (2004-2018) 

Highlights: Plate winners 2016, Bowl winners 2005

Manager: Rob Wright

Website: www.overseasoldboys.com

Facebook: OSOBOFFICIAL  Twitter: overseasoldboys  

A-Trade Overseas Old Boys secured a stunning Plate victory in 2016 when an international squad captained by former New Zealand Sevens star Zar Lawrence ended an 11-year wait for their second piece of silverware. The team’s excitement was amplified after suffering Bowl final losses in 2011, 2012 and 2015.

In 2017, the team played in tribute to Tony Pannell, who co-founded the team with Rob Wright in 2004 specifically for the GFI HKFC 10s. Kenzo Pannell, Tony’s son, played for the team for the first time since 2013.

Initially inspired by the regular Hong Kong v Overseas Schoolboys fixture at Hong Kong Football Club on New Year’s Day, Old Boys are making their 15th straight appearance at the GFI HKFC 10s, putting them behind only hosts Natixis HKFC (33) and Irish Vikings (18) among this year’s sides. Despite their local origins, Old Boys recruit from around the world.

CCIG Tigers

Home: USA  Players: USA  Founded: 2007

HKFC 10s: 1 (2018)  Highlights: Debut

Coaches: Paul Holmes, Adriaan Ferris, Frankie Horne, James Walker

Team Manager: Mark Price

Website: www.tigerrugby.com

Facebook: tiger.rugby  Twitter: tigerrugby  Instagram: tigerrugby_

CCIG Tigers bring an American flavour to the GFI HKFC 10s as a well-established development partner of USA Rugby. Founded in 2007, Tiger Rugby has trained and fielded many national-team players including USA speedster Perry Baker, the 2017 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, and five other Olympians.

Co-founders James Walker, who coached former US club champions Belmont Shore, and Paul Holmes will be among the management team in Hong Kong where the side will make their 10-a-side debut.

A well-travelled touring side, Tigers have played mainly sevens abroad and competed in invitational events in South Africa, Australia, Fiji, Argentina, Kenya, Scotland, Mexico and China. The team will head to Hong Kong after competing in the Las Vegas International Sevens Tournament in March and fly to Scotland later in April for the Melrose Sevens. 

Classic Wallabies

Home: Australia  Players: Australia

HKFC 10s: 2 (2017-18)  Highlights: Bowl semi-finals 2017

Head Coach: Tim Horan  Manager: Bill Young

Website: http://www.rugby.com.au/teams/classic-wallabies

Classic Wallabies will again field a star-studded team of former Australia internationals including Wendell ‘Big Dell’ Sailor as they return to Hong Kong Football Club for their second appearance at the GFI HKFC 10s.

Tim Horan, a Rugby World Cup winner in 1991 and 1999, and Bill Young, who played in the World Cup final against England in 2003, will be head coach and manager respectively as the crowd favourites follow up on last year’s tournament debut.

Sailor, centre Morgan Turinui – 2003 World Cup teammates – and flanker Stephen Hoiles return from last year’s squad, while newcomers include hooker Adam Freier, Hoiles' 2007 World Cup teammate.

Other Wallabies making their tournament debut include centre Mark Gerrard, Adam Freier, Julian Huxley and the 6ft 6in Peter Kimlin, currently playing in the Japan Top League.

The playing squad will again be boosted by a selection of rising stars following on from last year’s inclusion of Australia Sevens players including 2017-18 Series stars Dylan Pietsch, Tom Connor and Ben O’Donnell.

Classic Wallabies had an up-and-down tournament debut, threatening to upset two-time finalists Tradition YCAC in a 10-7 defeat in the pool stage before eventually losing in the semi-finals of the third-tier Bowl.

Devil's Own Shanghai RFC

Home: China  Players: International  Founded: 1881

HKFC 10s: 7 (2012-2018)  Highlights: Plate winners 2017

Team Manager: Mark Ralph

Website: www.rugbyshanghai.com  Facebook: rugbyshanghai

Twitter: rugbyshanghai  Instagram: shanghairugbyfootballclub

Devil's Own Shanghai RFC won the Plate in their sixth appearance at the GFI HKFC 10s, again fielding players from Shanghai Rugby Football Club (SRFC) and the Shanghai University of Sport (SUS). SRFC, based in northeast Shanghai, and SUS have an ongoing partnership and together run men’s and women’s teams in the city.

The touring squad is again managed by Mark Ralph, who played at the 10s for the best part of two decades (starting in 1996 as captain of Bosa Virgins) until hanging up his boots in 2015. The team again have the support of Devil's Advocate in Wanchai.

Hunter + Boo East Africans

Home: Rwanda  Players: Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya  Founded: 2015

HKFC 10s: 4 (2015-2018)  Highlights: Bowl semis 2015, 2016

Team Manager: David Hughes

Facebook: RwandaRugby  Twitter: RugbyRwanda 

Instagram: RugbyRwanda

Former USA Sevens boss John McKittrick was head coach of Hunter + Boo East Africans in their first three appearances at the GFI HKFC 10s, including Bowl semi-finals in their first two years when they were seeded 16th (2015) and 15th (2016).

Dave Hughes remains the team’s principal organiser. The Hong Kong-based Brit moved to Rwanda in 2008 and is currently Honorary Director of the FFR (Federation Rwandaise de Rugby), which became a full member of World Rugby in December 2015. 

The Rwandan Silverbacks competed in the Kowloon RugbyFest from 2010 to 2012 before Rwanda made their 10s debut in 2013, then returned with reinforcements from 2015 onwards. During their visits, the players train with elite coaches and teams including The Penguins, and also secure kit and sponsorship, which have helped grow rugby in Rwanda.

Irish Vikings

Home: UK  Players: International  Founded: 2001

HKFC 10s: 18 (2001-2018)  Highlights: Plate Winners 2003, 2007 

Team Manager: Andy Douglas

Irish Vikings are playing their 18th straight GFI HKFC 10s, which puts them behind only hosts Natixis HKFC in number of appearances among this year’s teams. And they usually sport the tournament’s most eye-catching kit, so look out for this year's version.

Long-time manager Andy Douglas – at the 10s for the 22nd year – will stick to watching from the sidelines after a career that included playing for Hong Kong and Singapore.

In 2013, England duo Dan Bibby – a 2016 Olympic silver medallist – and Ollie Marchon helped Vikings win the Shield, a victory dedicated to Vikings founder Mike ‘Raker’ McLean, the Ulster legend who passed away the previous year.

King’s College at UQ – sponsored by Strategic Equity Alliance

Home: Australia  Players: Australia  Founded: 1912

HKFC 10s: 3 (2016-18) 

Highlights: Plate runners-up 2017; Plate semis 2016 

Coaches: TBC  Managers: TBC

Website: www.kingscollegerugby.com.au

Facebook: kingscollegerugby

Twitter: kingsrugbyqld  Instagram: kingsrugby

King’s College at UQ – sponsored by Strategic Equity Alliance are likely to again be the youngest team in the GFI HKFC 10s, after fielding players with an average age of 22 in their first two years.

King’s College built on their strong top-half debut in 2016 by reaching the Plate final in 2017, losing to Kir Clyb Pyrenees to finish sixth overall.

The college is home to over 300 men at the University of Queensland and most of their squad in Hong Kong play for UQRFC.

Nicknamed the Red Heavies, UQRFC have won a record 30 titles in the Queensland Premier Rugby competition, most recently in 2014, and have a rich history of providing Australia internationals, among them 10 Wallaby captains including Stephen Moore, James Horwill, Nathan Sharpe and Michael Lynagh.

Kir Club Pyrenees

Home: France  Players: France  Founded: 2004 

HKFC 10s: 11 (2008-2018)

Highlights:  Cup semis 2009; Plate winners 2017; Bowl winners 2014, 2016; Shield winners 2008

Manager: Laurent Capdevielle

Website: pyrenees7s.unblog.fr Facebook: “Pyrènèes Rugby Sevens” 

Twitter: pyreneesrugby7s  Instagram: pyreneesrugby7s

With Kir Club as their sponsor, Pyrenees are back at the HKFC 10s for the 11th straight year, boosted by winning the second-tier Plate in 2017. Pyrenees typically bring young players representing clubs in the Top 14, Pro D2 and the amateur Federale 1, French rugby’s third tier.

More than 500 players have represented Pyrenees, which was founded in south-western France in 2004 and has been a long-time competitor at events around the world including the Dubai Sevens and SCC Sevens in Singapore 7s.

Natixis HKFC

Home: Hong Kong  Players: Hong Kong  Founded: 1886

HKFC 10s: 33 (1986-2018) 

Highlights: Plate Winners 1994, 2000; Bowl Winners 2007, 2011; Shield Winners 2012, 2016

Website: www.hkfcrugby.com  Facebook: HKFC-Rugby-Section

Twitter: HKFCrugby  Instagram: hkfcrugby

HKFC have competed in all 32 previous editions of the tournament and always enjoy strong support from the home crowd, especially on the Thursday when they traditionally make a strong run for one of the lower-tier trophies.

Historically one of Hong Kong’s top sides, HKFC finished fourth in the 2016-17 Premiership and beat HKCC in the Grand Championships quarter-finals before losing to eventual champions Valley in the semis. Club led the 2017-18 Premiership at the Christmas break.

Penguins

Home: UK  Players: International  Founded: 1959

HKFC 10s: 12 (2007-2018)

Highlights: Cup winners 2013, 2016; Cup runners-up 2007, 2008, 2017

Manager: Graeme Inglis (UK)  CEO: Craig Brown (NZL)

Website: www.penguinrugby.com  Facebook: penguinrugby 

Twitter: penguinrugby  Instagram: penguinrugby

Founded in England in 1959, Penguins are one of the world’s premier touring and coaching clubs, having played in or against teams from at least 72 countries, stating: “We are not only the most travelled rugby club in the world but the most travelled sports club in the world.”

While in Hong Kong for the GFI HKFC 10s, Penguins always hold clinics at a number of places including Sandy Bay and support the HKRU school rugby programme.

Projecx Waterboys

Home: Scotland  Players: Scotland  Founded: 2012

HKFC 10s: 3 (2016-18)  Highlights: Plate semis 2016, 2017

Manager: James 'Cakes' Robertson  Team Boss Alistair Munro

Facebook: ProjecxWaterboys  Twitter: WaterboysRugby 

Instagram: WaterboysRugby

Projecx Waterboys have reached the Cup quarter-finals in their first two years with squads packed with Scottish Premiership players.

In 2016, Waterboys wing Jordan Edmunds touched down six times to finish as the joint-top scorer with Penguins scrumhalf Kylem O'Donnell, who signed with Super Rugby side Hurricanes later that year.

Projecx Waterboys was founded in 2012 by Alistair Munro with the aim of  providing younger players with a link to Scotland - who were not within the SRU structure - the opportunity to compete in the world’s largest rugby sevens tournament in Dubai.

Since then they have returned to Dubai each December and competed at other tournaments around the world including the Amsterdam Sevens, Budapest 7s and Stockholm 10s.

Samurai International

Home: UK  Players: International  Founded: 1996

HKFC 10s: 12 (2005-07, 2010-18) 

Highlights: Cup runners-up 2010, 2013, 2016; Bowl winners 2017

Director of Rugby: Terry Sands

Website: samurai-rugby.com  Facebook: samurai7s

Twitter: samurai7s  Instagram: samurai7s

Samurai International have captured the hearts of many neutrals after losing in three Cup finals since 2010, especially considering the agonising nature of their two narrow defeats to Penguins in 2013 and 2016. In 2017, they were among those upset by eventual champions UBB Gavekal and ended up winning the Bowl.

Despite never winning in Hong Kong, Samurai have enjoyed success around the world and have won the Independence 7s (Lagos, Nigeria), Super Sevens Series (UK), Dublin 7s (Ireland), Greene King Premier 7s (UK), Amsterdam 7s (Netherlands), Safari 7s (Nairobi, Kenya) and Dubai 7s – International Invitation (UAE).

Samurai founder Terry Sands remains in charge, with his former roles as Team Manager for England Saxons then England Sevens frequently helping secure Sevens Series players.

Sedbergh School Old Boys

Home: UK  Players: UK  Founded: 1525 (Sedbergh School)

HKFC 10s: 1 (2018)  Highlights: Debut

Head Coach: Dan Harrison  Team Manager: Ben Collins

Website: http://osclub.sedberghschool.org

Facebook: OldSedberghianClub  Twitter: SedberghOS

Sedbergh School Old Boys team will be captained by former England rugby league international Ewan Dowes as they make their tournament debut. Dowes, 36, played the majority of his rugby league career for Hull (2003-11), helping the side win the Challenge Cup in 2005 and reaching the Super League grand final a year later.

The side will be coached by Yorkshireman Dan Harrison, who helped produce dozens of schoolboy internationals as coach of the school’s First XV for a decade. Sedbergh is renowned for producing over 30 rugby union internationals including long-time England captain Will Carling and 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood.

Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles

Home: Hong Kong  Players: International  Founded: 2012

HKFC 10s: 7 (2012-2018) 

Highlights: Cup semis 2015; Plate runners-up 2012, 2013, 2016

Team Managers: Bryan Rennie (SCO)

Website: www.hongkongscottish.com 

Facebook: Hong-Kong-Scottish-RFC 

Twitter: hkscottish  Instagram: hkscottish

Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles is made up mainly of players from Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish and is again managed by former Scotland A international Bryan Rennie, who has also played for and helped coach the team at the 10s.

In 2017, the Exiles competed at the GFI HKFC 10s without any current Scotland Sevens players for the first time. The team remain one of the event’s steadiest performers, having always finished second in their pool and progressed to the Cup quarters, reaching the Plate final three times.

Tradition YCAC

Home: Japan  Players: New Zealand  Founded: 1866 

HKFC 10s: 6 (2013-2018) 

Highlights: Cup runners-up 2014, 2015; Cup semis 2013, 2016, 2017

Team Manager: Simon Ryan

Website: www.ycacrugby.com  Facebook: 'YCAC Rugby'

Tradition YCAC have been among the 10s' leading teams since their debut in 2013, reaching back-to-back Cup finals in 2014 and 2015 and the semis three times, narrowly losing 7-5 to Penguins in 2017.

Japan-based Simon Ryan is managing YCAC for a sixth year, having led player recruitment for champions Tradition Valley in 2011.

UBB Gavekal

Home: Hong Kong / France  Players: International  Founded: 2015

HKFC 10s: 4 (2015-2018) 

Highlights: Cup winners 2017; Bowl winners 2015; Bowl runners-up 2016

Coaches: Matthew Clarkin (NZL)

Team Manager: Jean-Baptiste Aldige (FRA/HKG)

Website: www.ubbrugby.com  Facebook: ubbrugby, sportinsideasia

Twitter: UBBrugby, sportinsideasia  Instagram: ubbrugby

Representing Top 14 club Union Bordeaux-Begles, UBB Gavekal return to the GFI HKFC 10s as defending Cup winners, having competed in the Bowl final in their first two appearances.

Matt Clarkin will return as head coach as the team make their fourth appearance at the GFI HKFC 10s with the support of Hong Kong-based Louis-Vincent Gave, founder of financial services company Gavekal and a shareholder in UBB. 

UBB Gavekal are managed for a third year by Jean-Baptiste Aldige, Managing Director of Sport Inside Asia, a Hong Kong-based sports marketing agency that represents UBB.