13 Jan 2022

Islanders shine at New Year’s Day youth rugby tournament

Outstanding performances from three Year 13 students: Odhran Neville (13W), Matthew Frank (13E) and Hassan Lin (13R) at the Rugby Union’s New Year’s Day Youth Tournament, help the ESF team to victory.

Their efforts were rewarded with an impressive win in the U19 boys national grade match, held annually for the last 51 years. A final kick won the game 27-26.

Odhran, Matthew and Hassan were three of the 23 strong ESF squad who took part in this annual sporting fixture, a highlight of the local youth rugby calendar. The event was held at Hong Kong Football Club and attracted over 2 thousand supporters over the day, including Islanders’ families, and friends and teachers.

Tony Karton, Director of Youth Rugby at HKRU, was delighted by the standard of play. Speaking after the tournament, he said: “After two challenging years it is tremendous to see the future stars of Hong Kong rugby back on the pitch. I’d like to congratulate all those who have provided such an entertaining afternoon of first-class rugby.”

The students were coached by an expert group of teachers including P.E teacher, Gavin Boak whilst English Teacher, Mr Tom Peel lead the girls ESF U19 fixture, also collecting a victory.

Mr. Boak said: “The game was played in a fantastic manner with both sides giving 100%. I have been involved in the game for nearly 30 years in varying different forms and have never been involved in such a nail-biting experience. To win with the very last kick of the ball examples the exact traits that we look for in our students, tenacity, resilience and a never say die attitude. Both Odhran and Hassan played an integral roles in defence, exampling physicality and game understanding. Matthew Frank’s mazey runs, coupled with his uncompromising defence earned him the accolade of ESFs best back.

All three boys did the school and their family proud and I was privileged to have worked with three great Islanders on what was a fantastic day of rugby.”