Hong Kong made it three wins from three in the Asia Rugby Championship 2018 as they beat Malaysia 91-10 in the presence of the Webb Ellis Cup at the Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday.
The impressive win puts them back on top of the Top 3 standings and in the driving seat to reach the next stage of Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification.
Hong Kong now know if they avoid defeat next weekend in the title decider with Korea they win the Top 3 and progress to a home-and-away play-off against the Cook Islands, the winner of which will enter the global repechage tournament later in the year.
Conor Hartley scored a hat-trick in the win with Leigh Jones’ side scoring no fewer than 13 tries, seven of which came in the opening 40 minutes with fly-half Ben Rimene kicking all 11 of his attempts at goal.
Jamie Pincott was the beneficiary of some good work by the forwards off the back of a lineout before powering over to grab their first, while Max Denmark doubled the host's lead as he flew down the wing and dotted down under the posts.
Icing on the cake
The opposite wing Hartley then added a quick brace showing great power and pace, before Jamie Lauder, a penalty try and captain Jamie Tsang saw them take a 49-0 lead.
Malaysia made sure they had something to celebrate in the opening half as Etonia Saukuru scored his second try of the championship before flanker Saiful Aazwan scored the extras.
In the second half, both sides tired as the heat took its toll but there was still enough for Hartley to add his third before Jack Delaforce, Jack Neville, Rob Keith, Lauder and Adam Fullgrabe added icing on the cake.
“I think in terms of what we tried to get out of the game it is job done, five points and some points difference which is good to take into the Korea game," said captain Jamie Tsang.
“In terms of Korea our set piece needs to be strong, we have to keep our structures, and we hope it’ll be like this as they have some big players. We will be structured but also look to bring some chaos into our game.”