Hong Kong Rugby League (HKRL) has selected the 29 players who will represent Hong Kong Thunder at the upcoming Emerging Nations World Championship in Western Sydney this October.
More than half the squad is made up of the 17-man international team that recently returned from Tokyo celebrating an emphatic victory over Japan in the second leg of the East Asia Cup.
There are though new call-ups in the backs for Rhys Johnson and Hung Yip – who makes his debut as a dual-code International at just 19 years old – alongside Frankie Solomona and Evi Seumanutafa, who both shone for Pacific Toa in the HKRL Super League Grand Final.
Sydney-based Matthew Waugh adds further international experience to the backs, alongside Mike Tsang of New Zealand’s Richmond Rovers.
Another dual-code International is the experienced Seb Alfonsi. He impressed in trials and will add agile strength into the centres.
John Howarth, Gareth Janes, Dicky Wong, Komei Ogiyama and Ari Rogers, who have all made an impact in their respective domestic clubs this season, will bring much-needed size to Thunder’s forward pack.
“I’m genuinely excited about the squad we’re taking to Australia,” says Head Coach Jason Fairleigh. “We’ve got heaps of domestic talent here in Hong Kong and we’ve added strength to the side with some very interesting internationally-based players. The recent win in Japan has boosted the team’s confidence and the guys have been training really hard – there is everything to play for in Sydney and I can’t wait.”
The majority of the squad is based in Hong Kong, where rugby league continues to grow at a rapid pace. The HKRL Super League boasted some of the region’s most competitive rugby league yet and Pacific Toa topped off an unbeaten season with a convincing 44-24 win over Oreana Storm in the Grand Final.
Hong Kong Thunder Squad;
Seb Alfonsi – Oreana Storm
Ghislain Baleyte – Wanchai Warriors
Alvin Chan (陳兆墇) – Valley Broncos
Jason Fairleigh – Wanchai Warriors
Lee Griffiths – Oreana Storm
John Howarth – Valley Broncos
Gareth Janes – Oreana Storm
Rhys Johnson – Oreana Storm
Toby Lei (雷穎中) – Sydney University
Richard Lindsay (連冠英) – Oreana Storm
Ringo Lung (龍卓楠) [Captain] – Valley Broncos
Craig McMurrich – Forestville Ferrets
Ben Mouclier – Valley Broncos
Allan Newsome – Oreana Storm
Jack Nielsen – Wanchai Warriors
Komei Ogiyama (荻山浩明) – Wanchai Warriors
Ari Rogers – Wanchai Warriors
Ben Ryan – Barker Old Boys RUFC
Evi Seumanutafa – Pacific Toa
Alex Shvets (書羲賢) – Valley Broncos
Frankie Solomona – Pacific Toa
Gus Spence – HKFU Rugby
Hogan Toomalatai – Pacific Toa
Mike Tsang (曾仲禮) – Richmond Rovers
Matthew Waugh – Berkeley Eagles
Dicky Wong (黃迪奇) – Wanchai Warriors
Tommy Wong (黄樺) – Wanchai Warriors
Hung Yip (葉潤鴻) – Pacific Toa
Jason Yip (葉仲芹) – Wanchai Warriors