Sheung Sze Wan star rugby player Xavier Cranwell has won the best and fairest award at the Prudential New Year’s Day Youth Tournament, Sai Kung Stingrays report on their website.
The award named after Larry Abel goes to the best player in the competition pitting teams from all over Hong Kong against each other. Hong Kong students studying abroad join in as well. Teams range from under 12s to under 19s with more than 200 boys and girls taking part. Xavier, who is 13, plays in the under 14s.
Asked why he is such a good rugby player, Xavier said, “I let out all the anger on the field after a week in school.” Xavier studies at KGV. He has represented Hong Kong three times. “We are training four or five times a week. The special squad (RHKFU’s under 14s) has the best players from other teams. It’s good having that mix.” “Xavier was a big baby and has developed unusually fast for his age,” his mother Simone said. “He has always been passionate about sport.”
Sai Kung Stingrays is now one of the biggest rugby clubs in Hong Kong, especially for minis, Fiona Saunders, who is chairman of the minis section, said. The club is aiming to develop a seniors team that will play at national level. “We hope to see the Stingrays play for Hong Kong at next year’s Olympics,” Fiona said.
Girls are encouraged to join. “Many of our stars are girls.” Some of the coaching staff, led by Fergus Oliver, have played for Hong Kong. The club strives for high standards, teaching a code of conduct to enhance safety and fair play.