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12th April 2015

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had another session with the TM Boys Home today at Tin Siu Wai. We started with some contact and tackling skills with Gunny and then played a series of touch games. The TM Boys had been lucky enough to attend the 7s this year on the Friday and they had a much better appreciation of contact and tackling. I understand that like us they also visited the Standard Chartered box and enjoyed their hospitality, which also went down well.

 

They enjoyed the touch games today and had a few handy looking players. It appears that several of them will be attending Breakthrough training when they leave the Home over the next few weeks.

 

Regular matches and events have now finished and although we will continue to train every Wednesday and have the odd event I will not be circulating a regular email. I will keep you updated as when there is something of interest to report.

 

We had a very successful season and I thank everyone for their support and interest. I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

7th April 2015

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Well we are just back from the tour to Singapore. It went very well and I am pleased to say passed without any major hitches.

 

We have training tomorrow night at the Police Club, after which there are plans to close the pitch again for 4 months. John C is working hard to persuade them to keep half of it open, otherwise we will have to do some quick scrambling for alternatives. Why can’t things be easy ??

 

Next Sunday we had hoped to have another touch session with Tuen Mun Boys Home at the Police Club, but it will now be held at Tin Siu Wai from 12 -15.30hrs. Hopefully we will gather some new recruits from those leaving the Home soon. One of the ex-TM boys came on the Singapore trip and is developing into a good player, so things continue to go well with this scheme. Although we had hoped to take two lads, the other was recalled to the Home for various issues, so it is not all plain sailing here.

 

As I say in the tour report my thanks go out to everyone who helped support the trip. It really is appreciated.

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2nd April 2015

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

My apologies for the lack of news recently but I was back in the UK and then we had the 7s. Everything ran very smoothly in my absence and I am pleased to report some silverware.

 

First up we had the Union 7-a-side tournament and the U19s won the Division 2 Cup beating both Discovery Bay and Kowloon on the way to victory. These have proved to be very strong opposition during the 15-a-side games so to beat them here was very pleasing. This was an excellent result and I am told the boys played very well in their four games. We also entered a second U19 team in the U19 Division 3 tournament and won the plate, which was again very pleasing. Unfortunately the U16s did not do so well, losing all their games but some were close and they enjoyed themselves, which as I always say is what it is all about.

 

Then on 25 March we played against Raffles School from Singapore at the Police Club under the floodlights. This was the first floodlit game at the club under our new lights, but unfortunately it did not end in victory, with us losing 10-7. Raffles are a very strong team and so the boys did well. We ended up having a small meal afterwards in the clubhouse, which gave everyone the opportunity to mix off the field as well.

 

The next day on 26 March we entered a team in the Kowloon 10s. Gunny mixed some of our current players with some of the old boys and we acquitted ourselves well. Five of the lads got their first experience of playing against men and Gunny tells me that they were not overawed by the experience. We lost all our games but made some good friends and the team all enjoyed the after match function as well. We are one of the recipient charities at the Kowloon 10s, so it was a good day all round.

 

On the Friday night of the 7s we took nearly 80 boys and girls to the 7s and they all had a cracking time. A few lucky ones got to visit the Standard Chartered Box and enjoy their hospitality, which was obviously enjoyed. On Saturday and Sunday 40 of the boys and girls were able to return to watch some more of the action (20 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday) and on Saturday some of them returned to the Standard Chartered box with Gunny and were lucky enough to meet Sean Fitzpatrick, who is an old friend of Breakthrough, who has visited us in the past with Laureus.

 

Finally on Monday night we  held our tour briefing for 27 lads who are off to Singapore on our tour. The itinerary is below:

  • 2nd April Depart for Singapore at about 2pm on Cathay Pacific and we are staying at the Fort Canning Lodge Hotel

  • 3rd April we have a trip to Singapore Aquarium in the morning and afternoon resting and a 7.30pm KO against Tamoko Lions in our first match at Turf City

  • 4th April, we have an early start and our second game against the Anglo-Chinese School at 9am KO. We will then have an afternoon on Sentosa Beach and a team dinner in the evening

  • 5th April, we will spend the day at Universal Studios Theme Park

  • 6th April is free time for shopping or resting at the pool before catching our flight back to HK in the evening.

 

My thanks to all the very generous supporters of Breakthrough who have helped by sponsoring the tour and/or donating some sevens tickets. It really has been a great couple of weeks for everyone and the weekend in Singapore will be the highlight for 27 lucky young lads.

 

If anyone is in Singapore over the holidays and fancies watching some rugby we would appreciate the support.

26th May 2014

Updates from Hong Kong Rugby Football Union Official Website

 

 

Breakthrough Rugby Celebrates 10th Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last weekend the Operation Breakthrough rugby section celebrated its 10th anniversary with a match between the current group of Under 19s and a team comprising players who have graduated from the programme since 2003.


Watching the graduates back together, proudly wearing a set of "Breakthrough Old Boys" shirts they'd had specially made for the occasion, it was amazing to reflect how much they have collectively gone on to achieve both on and off the pitch; Breakthrough boys have played at all national representative level from Under 16 up to Hong Kong "A" level, with only an elusive full national cap still eluding them, although with a couple of exciting prospects currently in the national academy, including one who played in the gold medal winning Asian Youth Games teams, the first international may not be too far away.

Domestically Breakthrough boys have gone on to play Premiership rugby at Valley and Hong Kong Scottish, and were instrumental in setting up the TSW Pandas club who are currently playing in Premiership A. There are also large numbers playing alongside Police officers in the Police Rugby Club, and last season one of the original Breakthrough participants became the first non-police officer to captain the club 1st team. Many of the boys have also gone through the Union's coaching courses and you'll now find them helping run school and mini teams all over the New Territories. The winning teams at last week's Hong Kong School Sports Federation Sevens tournament at both "A" and "B" Grade contained a number of current Breakthrough players and both schools are coached by "old boys".

Also worthy of note is the joint initiative between the HKRFU and Breakthrough which over the past 3 years has seen Breakthrough coaches introduce rugby to the Tuen Mun Boys Home, and then encourage the participants to join the Breakthrough programme once they are released - this was recognised with the Community Programme of the Year Award at the 2012 International Rugby Expo.

Off the pitch a remarkable 5 of these "at risk" youngsters have gone on to become Police Constables (7 in total from all Breakthrough sports), 4 are working in various roles at the HKRFU, several have completed tertiary education courses including one who is about to complete a teaching training degree, and there are even 2 training jockeys and 1 who has taken the first tentative steps towards a professional boxing career!

The success of this programme owes much to the generosity of long term sponsors Standard Chartered Bank and the inspirational figures who have been involved over the past decade, coaches like Rambo Leung, Simon Mann, Brian Higgins and Stuart Gunn, police volunteers such as Steve Tarrant, Brian Yung and Rod Colson, and the invaluable social workers and police Community Relations Officers, but ultimately it's the boys and girls themselves who deserve the plaudits for their own achievements. If Breakthrough rugby has proved one thing since 2003 it's simply this - youngsters aren't the problem, they're the solution to society's problems; given the opportunity and the support they will go on to achieve remarkable things and make a positive contribution to our community.

 

You can find out more about Operation Breakthrough at www.breakthrough.hk

26th May 2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

 

Well it was a great weekend for Breakthrough rugby.

 

Firstly on Saturday the HK Schools organised their A grade (senior boys) and B Grade (middle school boys) seven-a-side tournament at Kings Park. The B Grade competition was won by a school from Tin Siu Wai, containing 6 Breakthrough lads and the A Grade competition was won by a Wong Tai Sin school, containing 8 Breakthrough lads in the squad. To cap it all off the WTS School is coached by their former pupil and ex-Breakthrough star Monkey. A marvellous effort.

 

With two cups in hand the lads then descended on Tai Hang Tung for the first Old Boys versus the current Breakthrough boys game. With both teams having large squads, rolling subs and a great spirit, we had an entertaining match, refereed by our friendly policeman Tobi. The old boys won by a few tries to two, but the old phrase “rugby was the winner” springs to mind. Ken, our Filipino prop, particularly enjoyed himself rolling in the mud at every opportunity. He stood up well to the old boys, surprising many of them and the experience and benefits he is getting in the HKRFU Academy is really beginning to show. We may try and make this a regular match and my particular thanks to Fei Man and Billy and all the others who helped organise the Old Boys team and splendid kit, which they bought for the match.

 

It was then off to the Police Club for our annual awards dinner. Breaking with tradition, having been drenched by both downpours and really hot humid conditions, we decided to forgo the BBQ this year and had a Chinese dinner in the clubhouse. With 76 in attendance, including a number of the old boys, it was a great success. Leung Ka Kiu won the Blair Abbiss Cup, our award for the player of the year. He really has been a star on the pitch for the U16s and as their captain has done lots off the park, ensuring we always had a full team and that new boys were made warmly welcome. In addition we gave trophies to the best and most improved U19 and U16 players, the best tourist and the best girl.

 

For me personally what really made the day was seeing so many of our old boys and the success they are now making of their lives. I truly believe that some of that is due to Breakthrough and the rugby. We had present police constables, community rugby officers, trainee teachers, university students, ma foos from the Jockey Club, a professional boxer and many boys and girls holding down ordinary jobs. All of you receiving this newsletter help support us in many different ways and you too should feel proud of your association with Breakthrough.

 

Attached are a few  photos of the teams at the rugby, the dinner and also a snap sent to me by Chi Lam of him, Man Kuen and Chi Kin after they took their police oath at the training school recently. Finally congratulations to our coach Andy on being awarded a lifesaving medal for rescuing a 3 year old boy who fell into a swimming pool. He received his award from the Commissioner of Police.

 

As we no longer have regular matches, this will be the last of my regular Breakthrough rugby updates till September, however we will be continuing training weekly for the boys and also running a summer course for new kids. I will send a few infrequent updates, when I have something interesting to report.

 

I hope you all have a great summer.

20th May 2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Just wanted to let you know that Sally completed the Great Wall run last Sunday and sent me the attached pictures. I am all sure you will joining me in congratulating her on a marvellous effort. Please see some photos she sent attached.

 

Not only did she finish but a quick check of the simplygiving site shows she is 93% of the way towards collecting $50,000 for Breakthrough, with the current total standing at $46,668. So can I call upon anyone who was thinking about donating but has not got round to it yet to add a few bucks so that we can achieve the target. It would certainly help to ease her aches and pains!

 

Message from Sally Leonard:

Ok people. Despite being unable to train for the last 4 weeks due to having pneumonia, I've decided to still do the Great Wall of China Half marathon as I'm doing it for a brilliant rugby charity. So now more than ever, I really need your support with some sponsorship so I can bust my target and give these young rugby players a big chunk of cash to go on a very memorable tour with. I don't care if you sponsor me the price of a pint, a Starbucks or something more significant - please just chuck some dollars in this very worthwhile pot and give me the encouragement to keep one foot in front of the other - especially for the first 7kms which is 5,164 or so steps straight up. EEK!


Please donate by using the link below. And pls do it now!
I will keep bugging you....be warned.... 

 

Cheers, Sally x
 

You can donate her @ http://www.simplygiving.com/sallyleonard

 

Thanks everyone and once again thanks Sally.

13th April 2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Last weekend we survived the rain and had our touch tournament with the TM Boys Home. There were 12 lads from the Home and with a number of our lads from all age groups we did some training followed by some touch matches. The training consisted of some contact skills including scrummaging and tackling, which can’t be covered in their normal training as the Boys Home only has a concrete pitch. The muddy conditions made it more fun than usual although there was a bit of sliding and slipping in the touch session. The warm food which followed was well appreciated. Below are a few photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend saw a friendly against DEA at Kings Park and with temperatures nearing 30 degrees it was the total opposite from last weekend. We play in the U16 Division 3 and we beat the DEA III team convincingly in our league game. We then played a friendly against their 2nd team, who play in Division 2, a few weeks ago and beat them well. Today’s match was against a combined team of 1st and 2nd team with a couple more who were home for the holidays and unfortunately it proved a game too far. We lost 46 – 0. Their backs were very good and although that has been our strong area this season, their ability to break tackles and their speed meant it was always going to be hard. Coupled with a terrible penalty count against us and some poor lineouts we were never really in with a chance. One bright point was the scrums and I must admit I didn’t mind the odd penalty against us for pushing the opposition straight back more than 1.5 meters, which is a silly rule in my view.

 

After the last friendly I had thought about going up to Division 2 next year at the U16 level but with only one of today’s team still being U16 next year and the rest moving up to the U19 level, I think it will be hard. Most of the new U16s will be new lads and to blood them in Division 2 will be hard on them.

 

Next week sees training on Wednesday and then a final tour training session and tour briefing on the Friday, before we leave next Sunday. The itinerary is as below and it should be good fun.

 

Sunday 20th April - Meet at the airport at 10.30am. We will catch TG601 leaving HK at 13.10hrs. We fly to Bangkok and change planes and we arrive at 18.10hrs in Phuket. We will proceed straight to our hotel called Thara Patong Beach Resort – breakfast is included everyday (http://www.tharapatong.com/) After check in we will have a run on the beach near the hotel. Dinner will follow.

 

Monday 21st April - In the morning we will have a shopping trip to the local mall and some time on the beach, followed by lunch. We then have a 5pm Match versus Phuket Lomas, followed by a dinner with them.

 

Tuesday 22nd April – We will go bungee jumping (optional)and go karting. (http://www.phuketbungy.com/index.html) and (http://www.gokartthailand.com/). We will then return to the hotel and have a team dinner in the evening.

 

Wednesday 23rd April – After breakfast we will have a morning on the beach and then some lunch. We have a 4pm match versus Krabi, followed by a dinner with them.

 

Thursday 24th April – Free morning for last minute shopping, the beach or relaxing at the hotel pool and then a bus to the Airport to catch TG608 to HK direct arriving at 19.25pm. The bus will pick people up at about 8.30pm to take you home.

 

I will send you a report on the trip when we get back, although it may be delayed as I am off to UK immediately after we return for 10 days. My sincere thanks to all of you who have donated money to make this trip possible. It really is appreciated.

 

Happy Easter everyone

 

 

 

5th April 2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

I hope you have all recovered from the excesses of last weekend. It was a busy time for Breakthrough rugby.

 

On the Wednesday before the Sevens we entered a team in the Kowloon Tens. Some of the police lads joined some ex-Breakthrough boys and some of the current older lads to play. For the first time we won a couple of games and Gunny thinks we may have won more if two of the current lads didn’t have to go to school in the afternoon, robbing us of their services. It was a great experience and they all enjoyed the tournament dinner that night as well, where they got to meet all the other teams and enjoy some of the social aspects of the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the same night, for everyone else, we had training and we had a visit from the Penguin coaches. Attached picture on the left below of the  boys being coached by some really world class coaches. We also had a visit from the Japan ladies coach and a couple of the Japan ladies team, who took our growing band of girls for a session. The girls really enjoyed it and the coach and his players were really great. They seemed to really enjoy it themselves and in chatting to the coach afterwards I realised he and I may have played against each other many years ago. He was in a Japanese Police and Fireman team, which came to HK in the early 80s and he played against the then RHKP at Boundary Street, when I would have been n my prime !!! Attached  picture on the right below of the girls and the coach and the two Japanese ladies .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Friday night we had about 90 kids go to the Sevens. Most went in two big groups and thanks to some donated Friday tickets those who could only get away later also managed to eventually join the fun. One group of the kids were unlucky enough to run into John Carroll in his police uniform outside the ground and their photo is  below. Thanks to our title sponsors Standard Chartered Bank some of the boys were able to visit the SCB executive level box and enjoy the hospitality, where they were joined by some of the visiting rugby stars like Hugo Porta and Morne du Plessis, thanks to our link up with Laureus. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it but Tank tells me the food was excellent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 50 of the boys and girls were also able to attend on either Saturday or Sunday thanks to the donation of some tickets from friends and supporters of Breakthrough. Many thanks to everyone for their generosity. They all had a marvellous time.

 

Well the action continues, with tomorrow seeing another afternoon of touch with the Tuen Mun boys home kids. It starts around midday, so if anyone is around the Police Club on Boundary Street, please pop in. Robbie will be organising things along with Billy and Tank.

 

Next weekend we may have a friendly U16 game having been challenged by DEA, still smarting from the defeat they suffered recently against us. We are also in the final stages of organising the tour. We are off to Phuket with 25 kids and 5 helpers on Easter Sunday for four nights. We have two games arranged and when the boys were given a choice between visiting temples or going to the go-karting track and bungee jump on our day off, the temples surprisingly lost out! Anyway I will give you all a full run down nearer the time.

17th March 2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well no silverware this week but some great rugby from the U16s in their 7s tournament. In our group we played Kowloon and drew 7-7, then beat Causeway Bay 19-0, DEA 22-0, and East Kowloon 21-0 . This was enough to see us finish top of our group on points difference and a place in the final against Twisters. We put up a great fight but could not manage to break through or put our fast lads in space. Instead just before the final whistle they got a breakaway and scored for a 7-0 victory. A big disappointment, but the boys played well and can be proud of themselves. Attached is a photo of the squad.

 

This weekend we have no games but the next week is &s week. We have a team of current and ex-Breakthrough boys in the Kowloon Tens on Wednesday 26 March and then on the Friday all the lads are off to the 7s. Gunny and Tank will be taking a few up to the Standard Chartered Box along with Morne de Plessis and Hugo Porta who are out with Laureus. That should be great fun for a few lucky lads.

 

As you all know we had to stop our girls teams a few years ago due to a lack of numbers, however we still have a few who train with us and two of them play for Tin Siu Wai Eagles U16s. At a recent tournament the Eagles did very well and I received an email from Steve Jones who runs the Union’s Girls Programme telling me how impressed he was with two of the Eagles team – our two young ladies. To quote from Steve’s email - I was very impressed with them and will be looking at them for next year’s national program. So we may yet see some Breakthrough ladies starring in local rugby and my thanks to Irene at TSW for giving them the opportunity.

 

Last but by no means least Sally Leonard of DB pirates is running the great wall marathon for Breakthrough and is looking for sponsors big and small. Please see her message below and if you could donate you would be inspiring her and helping us. The money will be going towards our tour next year !! She has raised over $8,000 to date and is hoping to hit $50,000.

 

RUNNING FOR CHARITY - Sally Leonard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE SPONSOR ME @ http://www.simplygiving.com/sallyleonard

 

On 17th May I'm going to attempt the Great Wall of China Half Marathon in Beijing. Only a half I hear you cry? Well yes - but before you put away your wallets, it's considered one of the hardest marathons in the world with a gruelling 5,164 steps up (some as tall as your thigh) in the first 7kms. So that, coupled with 3 severely dodgy discs in my back means that my half marathon here is your fit persons 'marathon de sables'. Want proof of the crazy? Watch this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF_08QYo-Ec

 

You all know me, so you know rugby is one of my life's passions. Proud Rosslyn Park ladies section founding player and VP, now HK Society Referee and roving Pirates RFC coach and senior section manager - it's fair to say I live, eat and breathe the noble game. So it seems most fitting that I'm going to complete this challenge for a truly fantastic rugby charity - 'Operation Breakthrough'.

 

Operation Breakthrough uses rugby and other sport as a means to help, rehabilitate and positively reinforce behaviour in young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or families: helping to fight crime and juvenile delinquency amongst low income and immigrant communities and helping them to develop into responsible and positive thinking adults (http://www.breakthrough.hk)

 

The charity is run by a fabulous set of volunteers and the money raised specifically from this endeavour will go towards a planned 2014-2015 season rugby tour for the boys who play for the Breakthrough Team here in HK.

 

SimplyGiving.com is a safe and easy way to donate and I'm going to hound every single person I know to help me get to my target. Please, please dig deep and help give these young men some wonderful sporting memories.

 

Click here NOW to donate - http://www.simplygiving.com/sallyleonard

 

Thanks all!

 

Sally Leonard 

9th March 2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

I was away last week but in my absence the U16 lads played DEA 2 in a friendly. DEA2 play in the Division above us and we were expecting a hard time, but the boys played really well and ran out fairly easy winners. The coaches and I will have to think carefully about which Division we enter the U16s in next year, because on this display we could definitely compete, if a few of the lads are staying at this age group.

 

Yesterday we played against Shatin College and Chan Shu Kui Memorial School in an U19, 10-a-side competition at the Police Club for the Breakthrough Cup, kindly donated by Shatin College. Our first game was against Chan Shu Kui School and we quickly went behind by 12-0, before fighting back to lead 14-12, before giving away a soft try to go 17-14 down. However a good breakaway, just before the whistle, by Messi for his second try meant we ran out 21-17 winners. Shatin then beat Chan Shui Kui School to set up the last game for the trophy. We again went behind before fighting back to lead 19-17, with just a minute to go. However this time, Shatin got the break and one poor tackle allowed their quick centre to breakaway, scoring under the posts for a 24-19 victory. There was some excellent rugby played and importantly all the boys enjoyed it, so we definitely hope to repeat this next year.

 

Today we had the colts sevens at a cold Kings Park. We entered two teams in the U16s and U19s, Police 1 in the Div 2 competition and Police 2 in the Div 3 competition. The U16 Div 3 competition is next weekend at Tin Siu Wai, which was just as well as many of the U16s have an important exam tomorrow and couldn't play.

 

The U16 team was therefore a bit of a scratch team but did very well indeed, beating Valley Fort 2, 5-0 and narrowly losing to the eventual winners HKU and HKFC 2. Because of the sheer number of matches there was only a cup and plate competition, so we were eliminated and are obviously hoping for better things next weekend.

 

The two U19 teams did very well. The 1st team started slowly losing to Flying Kukris 17-7 before beating HKFC 2, 12-0 and Aberdeen 14-7, which was good enough to take them through to the plate final. If we had started better against Kukris we could have won that game and been in the main final. Still the boys tackled really well and with some fancy footwork we scored some good tries. In the final we faced DEA2 and despite some desperate defence for the last few minutes we held on to win 14-7 in a very exciting game to win the silverware.

 

Meanwhile the Police 2 lads finished fourth in the group to just squeeze into the plate final against Causeway Bay, who had beaten us 17-12 in the group stages.However in a close run, hard tackling final, the conversion was all that separated us and we won by 7-5.

 

The U19s therefore won two plates in one day and attached is a picture of the very happy boys and coaches.

 

Next week we just have the U16 Division 3 7s and then a break before the big sevens weekend.

23rd  February  2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit of a disappointing day at Boundary Street today. The U16s were left without a game after Kowloon cried off and forfeited the final. The boys were happy enough to win the plate but all of them would have rather played a game and attached is a picture of them with the trophy.

 

The U19s played HKU and it was a very hard game. HKU are a big side and it was always going to be a tough game. Our recent lack of matches told early on and with the boys overly keen and committing to the rucks in large numbers we both gave away too many penalties and left ourselves over exposed out wide. We quickly went 14 – 0 down and it looked like we were in for a really bad afternoon. However the boys scrummaged really well and were also strong at the line outs, so we won plenty of ball and slowly clawed our way into the game. However those penalties meant we kept losing ground and had to start all over again. The pressure told and they ran in two more tries to go 24 – 0 ahead. Just before half time we managed to get the ball to Peter on the wing with some room and he ran from just outside our 22 to score a fine try. So we reached half time at 24 – 5.

 

Gunny and Tank gave the boys a hard time about the ruck penalties and in the second half we hardly gave away any. We committed less to the rucks and with us tackling well they had much less room to move. With a steady stream of possession from the scrums and lineouts we worked our way back into the game and a fine try after about 6 or 7 phases of play put us back in the game at 24-12. As Gunny said afterwards the first 25 mins of the second half was some of the best rugby the team played all season, with the try being one of our best. It was a great team effort. However it was not to be and the boys were exhausted by the end allowing HKU to slip in for a score under the posts after some tired tackling allowed them an easy score. So it ended 31 -12, but HKU certainly knew they had been in a game. The boys played really well and there was no shame in defeat. A picture of the two teams after the match is attached.

 

March is a busy month. We have a few friendlies arranged, which will allow many of the new boys to get some game time and also there are the colts sevens. At the end of March are the HK Sevens and we have a team entered in the Kowloon Tens that week, which will be made up of some ex-Breakthrough boys and some of the bigger U19s. On the Friday night all of the rugby section of Breakthrough will attend the Sevens, with some of the lads visiting the Standard Chartered Box. Standard Chartered Bank, being our main sponsors. Thanks also to some very generous donations from other people most of the boys will also get to go to the Sevens on Saturday or Sunday. Then in April we are off on tour to Phuket. So despite this being our last official 15-a-side games there is still much to look forward to in March.

18th February  2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Well last weekend was a disappointment. The U19s were meant to be playing Aberdeen in their semi-final, but Aberdeen only fronted up with ten players. They did suggest a friendly but refused any of our players and refused to play 15-a-side. They also refused to play push scrums. They had some talented backs and with the possession they won from the no push scrums and with a little more coming elsewhere they did well at 10s, unlike our lads who didn’t really wake up till half time. Aberdeen celebrated their victory like they had won the cup. All a bit bizarre to me. In terms of a warm up for this weekend’s final it was useless for us. Anyway enough of the moaning.

 

This weekend on Sunday at the Police Club we have the U16s in the plate final at 1pm against a HKFC/Kowloon Lions combined team, followed by the U19s at 2.15pm versus HKU in the Cup final. Two good games and if any of you have been intending to come down and watch this si certainly the weekend we could do with some support as they will be two hard games. 

6th January 2014

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year.

 

The U16s got straight back into action last weekend against East Kowloon and we ran out 49 – 7 winners. We started strongly and were quickly 28 – 0 ahead and obviously heading for a big score, so we used the game to give a group of new boys an extended run. By the end we had all 10 new lads playing, including a couple of lads who have just left Tuen Mun Boys Home and had never played contact rugby before. That we carried on to score three more tries was a great tribute to the effort the new boys put in and with more experience they will be good players. They really enjoyed themselves and are keen to get stuck in again next week. However we are up against HKFC III and we won’t be able to play the new lads for very long against them, but I hope we can give most of them some game time.

 

Next week as I say we are playing FC at the Police Club at 1pm. The U19s don’t have a fixture but all will be training on Wednesday night and we will be joined by a group of Nepalese lads from Yaumati. Robbie has linked up with Inner City Ministries who help Nepalis who live in West Kowloon and they are going to bring a group of their boys along to see what they make of rugby. Sures, our professional boxer, has offered to come down and help with the rugby coaching, which should help make them feel at home. Now all we have to do is remind Sures it is rugby and not boxing he is coaching !!

 

One last thing Ivan tells me that he is also selling on line in case you can’t get to Temple Street - https://www.facebook.com/mylifeshop2013 

19th Dec 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Well it was a wet and cold day last Sunday for our last games before Christmas. Our U16 opposition warned us that they were a bit short but agreed to turn up for a friendly, mixing up the teams. Ten of them appeared took one look at a very wet pitch and said it was too dangerous to play and promptly left. At times I really don’t understand the youth of today. Our lads had a great work out and Gunny was able to put them through a lot of unit skills with everyone being there for a change, so the time was not wasted. The wet pitch led to a lot of fun for our lads, who weren’t worried by the wet pitch I’m glad to say.

 

Next up we had the U19s against Flying Kukris and they came out flying. They were a well drilled team with some fast useful backs and a strong pack, which meant we got little possession. They also handled the conditions much better than we did and by half time they had run up a 24 - 0 lead, which could have been much more except from some sterling tackling from the Breakthrough boys, who really defended well and got stuck in. In the second half the weather got the better of both sides. A few times when the line was begging we dropped our passes, but we continued to tackle well and Kukris only scored once more, a break out from their own 22. The final score was 31 – 0, which was disappointing, but without a lot of hard determined tackling right up to the final whistle, it would have been much more.

 

It was then into the clubhouse for the Christmas party and we had a great turnout, with over 60 people in attendance. I obviously need to lay a party on each weekend. There was lots to eat, a lucky draw and everyone was a winner. Ivan our ex-player and now one of our coaches is selling picture frames in the Temple Street Night Market and two of his frames were very popular prizes. He tells me that anyone connected to Breakthrough can have a good discount at his stall, so in an unashamed plug for Ivan’s business, if you are taking visitors to Temple Street or are down there yourself, look out for his picture stall, which is at Yaumatei Carpark, Shanghai Street and Gansu Street, please see the attached photo.

 

Anyway everyone had a great time and unfortunately we also used the occasion to bid farewell to Kuen. Kuen has helped rugby, sailing and boxing over the last 14 months in recruiting, organising the sports and liaising with the social workers after they stopped much of their direct support. He has helped a lot but the social worker group, ELCHK, who deal with police discretion cases in Shatin, Yuen Long and Tin Sui Wai have not given him the support we had hoped for and he has decided to go back to his old work in accounts. He will still continue to support the boxing, which is the sport he was connected to as a young boy, but I will need to find someone else for the rugby. We have some potential solutions, which we are working on, so fingers crossed.

 

The next two Wednesdays are Christmas Day and New Years day, so we have a two week break, but are straight back to it on 5 January 2014 with a U16 game at the police club at 1pm versus East Kowloon. On New Years Day there is the big colts festival at Football Club with lots of age group games. Unfortunately none of our lads were selected, but nevertheless there will be some great rugby and plenty of the old hair of the dog available for those who want to watch some great games. It is always a good advertisement for the quality of colts rugby in HK.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. I hope that Santa brings you all some nice presents!

8th Dec 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today turned out to be very successful with the Breakthrough rugby lads being involved in three different functions, which all went really well.

 

Firstly at the Police Club we entertained another group of boys from TM Boys Home for some contact rugby training followed by a touch rugby tournament involving the Boys Home, Breakthrough and our friends from Standard Chartered Bank, all under the watchful eye of Gunny and the HKRFU coaches who have been putting the Boys Home lads through their paces over the last couple of months. As usual it was a lot of fun and at least one lad who is due to be released tomorrow has said he will come down to training on Wednesday. The Breakthrough team also had a couple of ex-Boys Home lads playing and the programme really is beginning to see some boys joining us on a regular basis. There is a picture of everyone above.

 

Secondly Robbie took a group of lads to the KW Ethnic Harmony No Drugs No Crime Carnival in Cheung Sha Wan. They ran a games stall, which people enjoyed and a number of senior police officers and local district fight crime committee officials who attended the function stopped by to talk about Breakthrough and what we are doing. This type of publicity and cooperation with the Force is obviously important to us as an organisation and so I am glad it was well received.

 

Lastly we took part in the first Kowloon/HKI District Sevens held at Shep Kip Mei, representing Shep Kip Mei, which is of course where the Police Club is situated. Tank organised a team of past and present Breakthrough lads to play and I am pleased to report that we won the final against Kowloon City 17 – 5. The photo of the winning team is at Breakthrough 3 above.

 

Last weekend Mandi, one of our volunteer social workers,  took some of the boys to take part in a food distribution to the elderly at Shep Kip Mei Market. The lads had to collect up donated food from various stall holders and then take it and distribute it to a group of very low income local elderly people. The boys worked hard for a few hours but enjoyed themselves and tell me that it was nice to use their spare time in such a meaningful exercise and I am told the old people were very impressed by them. Some photos of the boys are at Breakthrough 1 and 2 above. My thanks to Mandi for organising and the boys for volunteering.

 

Next week is our last matches before Christmas and we have two games at the Police Club. First up at 1pm will be the U16s v Kowloon Lions, who are usually a very well drilled team and this will be followed by the U19s at 2.15pm v Flying Kukris. After the games we will adjourn to the clubhouse for the Christmas Party and you never know, Santa might even make an appearance.

 

As always it would be great to see some of you down at the club to support the boys.

2nd Dec 2013

Testimonial from Surez Gurung

 

Well just attended my graduation ceremony in Sheffield today for my Bachelor of Science with Honours Events and Leisure Management. Happy with my result .Got lots of people to thanks but Number 1 will be Operation Breakthrough. Thanks Operation Breakthrough for always being there for me, without the support, it will be impossible. Now a graduate with a second class honors degree and Professional Boxer. Whatever I am today is because of the support you have given in everystep that I took. I would like to take this time to thank each and every Operation Breakthrough member and staff for their valuable time.

 

Sport did change my life.

 

Thanks for everything,

Surez

28th Nov 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Well no rugby last weekend but I was lucky enough to get over to Macau and watch Pacquiao in action. What a great event that was and about 6 of the Breakthrough boxing guys were lucky enough to watch thanks to Danny Lawley and his contacts. They had a great time and better seats than me, so I was jealous !

 

On the subject of boxing there was a good piece of publicity for us through Breakthrough’s boxing section on Inside Story on Pearl last week. If you missed it you can see the piece above.

 

The main star is Sures, who was very disappointed recently when his second pro fight got cancelled, especially as he had been training hard in the Philippines. Apparently another fight has been arranged for January and I will let you know all about it nearer the time.

 

In other news we recently had to postpone a game because of a schools sevens tournament and I am pleased to tell you that it was won by Choi Hung East Catholic Secondary School, which is mostly Breakthrough boys. The HKRFU website has a story about the victory - http://www.hkrugby.com/eng/news/3498.php

 

This weekend we have one match only at the Police Club on Sunday at 1pm. The U19s are playing Discovery Bay, who have some very good players We will have to be at our very best to beat them, so support would be welcome.

17th Nov 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Things unfortunately didn’t go to plan this week.

 

Firstly on Saturday there was a big Schools 7-a-side tournament, so we had to postpone the games against Shatin College. The good news however is that the winning school from Wong Tai Sin was predominantly Breakthrough lads, which was obviously nice to see. On Sunday there was a big U16 soccer tournament in Wong Tai Sin amongst the schools and our boys being talented sportsmen had to play for their schools so we had to seek a postponement for the U16 match versus Tsuen Wan. Unfortunately they did not agree and we had to forfeit the game, which is a pity as I am sure the boys from both teams would have rather played a game on a spare Sunday. Hopefully we can arrange a “friendly” later on and prove a point !

 

So instead of a weekend of loads of rugby we were down to one match, the U19s v Aberdeen. We won 12-0 in a match we should have won by much more, but Aberdeen defended really well and the referee blew for every infringement he spotted leading to loads of penalties and when he got annoyed with persistent infringements loads of yellow cards and a few reds. All a bit unnecessary really, but we played well and it was a good win. I particularly enjoyed the strong scrummaging and some hard running from Santos, one of our Filipino props.

 

Next week we have training on Wednesday and we will also have an extra session on next Sunday, with the next games being on 1 December 2013. I will circulate details nearer the time.

10th Nov 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firstly last weekend we should have had two games but Flying Kukris sought a postponement of the U19 match, which left just the U16s. In a tightly fought match they lost 25 -22 to Twisters. I am told it was an exciting match and we just went down to a late try.

 

On 6 November the U19s were invited up to Zeng Cheng again to open the local youth Sevens Tournament with an exhibition game against the Zeng Cheng School. We went up there and trained with them in September, so this was a chance to renew old friendships and rivalries. We lost 19 -10 in a hard game but they are the best school in this area, which is earmarked by the Chinese Rugby Union and Olympic Committee as a Seven-a-side rugby development area, so there was no shame in the result. We beat them in September and so two months of solid sevens training obviously has benefits.

 

Peter and Billy, two ex-Breakthrough boys who now work for the HKRFU as community rugby officers took the boys up for the day and my thanks to them for looking after everything including meeting with the local mayor and other dignitaries who attended the event.

 

This coming weekend we have a busy time. On Saturday, 16/11, we have two matches against Shatin College at the Police Club. The U16s are on at 11am and the U19s at midday. I am not sure who is playing later but there will be some senior police games on afterwards involving quite a few of our old Breakthrough lads, so plenty of action for anyone who is over in Mong Kok next Saturday.

 

On Sunday17/11 at 1pm we have the U16s up against the Tsuen Wan Warriors and at 2.15pm the U19s against Aberdeen. Both matches at the Police Club at Boundary Street.

23rd Oct 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Two great games at the Police Club today, where both teams played some excellent rugby and it was evident to me how the coaching has really helped the boys develop. Full marks to Gunny, Tank, Chi Lam, Ivan, Billy and Andy for all the hard work they do on Wednesdays and other ad-hoc sessions they organise. That four of them are boys who have come through the Breakthrough teams really makes me proud.

 

The first match was the U16s against Causeway Bay and the boys ran out 55 – 10 winners. The forwards were very disciplined, won some good ball and gave away hardly any penalties, unlike the opposition, but it was the backs who really shone. We have some great speed in the backs, which coupled by some good passing meant we were always dangerous in attack. The game was a real pleasure to watch and the commitment shown by everyone was fantastic.

 

Next up was the U19s and they were against the strongest team in the league HKU and we went down 31 – 17, but it seemed much closer than that. We dominated the scrums with our two big Filipino props shoving the opposition pack off the ball quite a few times. An area of the game I really appreciate. Elsewhere we rucked and mauled well  and denied the opposition possession for long periods. But the HKU backs were strong and when they did get some ball in space they were hard to stop. There was some strong tackling, but in the end we paid dearly for the ones we missed and they scored 5 tries to our 3, all through their outside centre and wings. The boys played well and it was a closer game than the score line suggests.

 

No games next weekend and our next matches are due on 3 November 2013 at 1pm and 2.15pm at the Police Club, when both the U16s and U19s will be in action.

 

Some of you who watch the premiership rugby may note that HK Scottish are wearing our logo on their shirts this season. In the past a couple of our lads have played for them and it is a team we would be pleased to push our better players to in the future. This is yet another example of the  support the local rugby community offers us and I wish HK Scottish lots of success this season and it will obviously help to keep our name to the fore. My thanks to the HK Scottish Chairman, Stewart Saunders, for pushing the idea.

 

Lastly don’t forget if any of you are interested in watching Sures fight in his second pro fight at the HKFC on 16 November drop me a line or get your tickets through the British Chamber of Commerce. It should be a great evening and a good warm up for the following weekend when another famous boxer, Pacquiao, fights in Macau.

14th Oct 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Well our first games came with two victories, the U19s winning 15 – 5 against TSW Eagles and the U16s winning 20 – 0 against Aberdeen after they forfeited the game.

 

The U19s played well at TSW and were dominant for long periods but some silly penalties, first match rustiness and some solid defence from the Eagles meant we only scored 3 tries. Nevertheless it was a good start and the boys enjoyed it. The U16s were obviously disappointed by the cancellation, particularly as we had had our team meeting the day before to talk about the season, our aims and exactly what everyone wanted from the club. We also stressed the Breakthrough rugby values of Excellence (doing your best as an individual and as a team), Respect and Friendship, which some of you might recognise as the Olympic values.

 

Next week we have two more matches:

  •          1pm KO U16 v SCAACWB at the Police Club, Boundary Street

  •          2.15pm U19 v HKU at the Police Club, Boundary Street.

 

Two tough fixtures and hopefully there will be some entertaining rugby for anyone who can get down to watch.

 

Training continues every Wednesday and yesterday when we and the Step teams didn’t have any games, by popular request from the boys we had an extra training session, which was very well attended.

 

Also I am not sure if any of you are boxing fans but Sures Gurung, Breakthrough’s first professional boxer, who also played rugby for us and still turns out for the Police senior team occasionally, is having his second pro fight at the BCC Boxing evening at the Football Club on 16 November. There will also be 5 or 6 amateur bouts on the card as well. It is a black tie affair with dinner etc first and Breakthrough are the recipient charity for the evening. If anyone fancies coming along drop me a line.

1st Oct 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Well the season is now starting and I hope to send a regular weekly update of what is happening and when our fixtures are so that those wishing to come down and watch can do so. This coming Sunday (6/10) we have two matches:

 

  •          1pm U16s v Aberdeen at the Police Club

  •          3.45pm U19 v TSW Eagles at the Tin Siu Wai Sports Ground

 

We will be playing on alternate weekends and on the Sunday in between both the U16s and U19s have a Junior Step team, where the better players in the Division 2 teams will come together to form a combined team to play in Division 1. This initiative gives a chance for the Breakthrough boys who are better players to enhance their game, with added training and an opportunity to play against the better players, whilst at the same time ensuring the Breakthrough team can be competitive and offer rugby to all levels. As I have said before we are not just about the rugby. So if you watch any of these combined sides in action, please shout our lads on. We do have some playing at both U16 and U19 level.

 

The pre-season period has been a busy one for us and not without a few problems. Firstly our U19 team lost our best 4 players. Three have decided to join DEA and play rugby there. This was very disappointing given the Junior Step program and all the other benefits we offer as a club. The loss of the supervision and guidance of a social worker for one of the kids in particular is something I worry about. Kowloon have had their best player join DEA and Flying Kukris their best two players. I don’t think this does any good for local rugby at all and in fact fully expect to play some of the boys in DEAs 2ndXV who compete in U19 Division 2. We have had a long chat to the lads involved and the door is open for them to return, which I hope they will. The other boy has been told by his parents that he must drop rugby for this year as the school exams are so important. I think it is a pity that his parents won’t allow him to do both, but of course at the end of the day one must respect their decision. However despite the absence of these 4 I think we will still be competitive.

 

The other disappointment is that we just don’t have the numbers at U14 level to form a team this year. We have always struggled with this younger age-group, but the hoped for new influx wasn’t there this year. We are hoping to pick up a few in the coming months and maybe join again at Christmas. Thomas the headmaster at the boys home tells me this is a demographic issue with HK as the birth rates in HK 10 -13 years ago were particularly low. They have the same issues at the boys home and it is not due the kids being better behaved.

 

On the recruiting side our link up with Tuen Mun Boys Home is going well and we now have 5  boys training with us regularly. Also we have visited the Community Relations Section at Yuen Long Police Station and the School Liaison team are linking us up with the most problematic schools in Tin Siu Wai. In the coming weeks Ah Kuen and Ivan will visit the school discipline masters and talk with them about what we offer to see if they wish to recommend some boys from their schools to join us. Ivan tells me he has lots of experience speaking to discipline masters when he was at school and I am hopeful that this approach will see some additions to our numbers in the next few months.

 

On the representative front we got three boys elected to the HK Rugby Academy, unfortunately two of them are now with DEA, but Ken, one of the Filipino lads from the Ellis Kadoorie School in MK, is still with us. Our link up with this MK school, which causes MK police quite a few problems, continues to go well and we have a number of NEC (non-ethnic Chinese) kids playing for us these days.

 

Also I am pleased to tell you about a short pre-season tour we had for the U19s to China. About a month ago we played against the Zeng Cheng High School team in HK at 7s and Robbie charmed the Mayor. She then extended an invitation for us to visit their school, all expenses paid at the mid-Autumn festival. We took 20 boys and had a day’s training with their team on the Friday and played 7s together on the Saturday. We beat the school team in the main game, but when they played a few visiting young PLA players, were  a bit strong for us. Zeng Cheng is about two hours over the border and is an area selected by the Chinese Government to develop  7s rugby. The school, which has 3,500 students was amazing. It was a great opportunity for the U19 lads to bond a bit before the season started and it really helped to integrate the two TM boys home lads who join us.

 

We were also lucky enough to be given some tickets to Ocean Parks early Halloween party and a group of about 20 boys recently had a fun night out at the park.

 

Lastly some more good news we have had another ex-rugby boy join the police. David started at the training school this week and it was nice that he sent me a message thanking Breakthrough for giving him the inspiration to apply and the confidence to succeed.

29th Aug 2013

Outward Bound Course

 

The eight days Outward Bound Course for 12 Breakthrough boys and girls has concluded yesterday with great success. This is the first time our Breakthrough kids from six different activities joined into one team. While going through all the challenges, all participants became good friends and enjoyed themselves throughout. Certificates were presented to acknowledge their participation and course completion.

16th Aug 2013

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby


I hope everyone is enjoying their summer holidays.

 

The visit from Bobby Charlton went really well and the kids obviously enjoyed meeting him, having checked him out on the internet. He was a real gentleman who was genuinely interested in what we are doing and was very good with the kids. Our thanks to Laureus for arranging. The link to a piece on Youtube gives you some idea of how things went - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFeNCezD03A. The chairman of Kitchee gave us some tickets for the match and so a dozen of the soccer section got to see the current stars in action as an added bonus.

 

Back to the oval ball and other good news is that Hang Jai got selected for the HK Youth Team and is now in Nanjing to take part in the Asian Youth Games running till 20 August. We had two other lads go down to the wire for selection, but they unfortunately missed out. Also Ivan, who left us a few years ago and now plays for Tin Siu Wai Pandas and is one of our coaches,  has just been selected for the HK ‘A’ team, who are travelling to Singapore to play in a Tri-Nation tournament from 17-23 August. In addition Man Kuen and Fei Nam have been training hard with the HK Development team, but again unfortunately just missed out on selection. Something wrong with all the selectors in my obviously biased opinion! Whilst Breakthrough is all about involving  youths at risk in rugby and sport, whatever their level, it is always nice to see a few do really well and I also like to think it shows that the quality of coaching we are giving through our ex-Breakthrough boys is improving all the time. This involvement from the ex-boys is particularly pleasing.

 

Weather permitting we are still training on a Wednesday night and the summer course is going strong on Friday afternoons. Our last effort to hold a touch tournament with the TM Boys Home was ruined by the weather, so we have re-arranged for this Sunday 18 August from 11.30 to 3.00 at the Police Club. Let us hope the weather does not spoil the day.

 

There is also a boxing tournament at the Police Club this Saturday, with a couple of Breakthrough boys appearing. 

 

 

28th July 2013

When the Manchester United Legend Visited Operation Breakthrough...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legendary England footballer and Laureus World Sports Academy Member Sir Bobby Charlton who was in Hong Kong during Manchester United’s Far East pre-season tour, was speaking during his visit to the Laureus-supported Operation Breakthrough project. 

 

Sir Bobby said: “Since I have been here I have seen so many young people who have had trouble in the past, but coming to this project has really turned the corner for them. Some of them were on the wrong track and were struggling to make their mark before they came here. I enjoyed chatting to them and they listened really carefully. I found it an absolute pleasure.”

 

One of the highlights of the visit was the presentation by Sir Bobby of a special certificate to Sures Gurung, who has been involved with both Operation Breakthrough boxing and rugby programmes. Supported financially by the project, Sures last year had his first professional fight, which he won, despite a broken nose.

 

The award marked the completion of Sures’ university degree. He said: “I could never have achieved success both as a sportsman and also with my studies without the support and encouragement of Operation Breakthrough and Laureus. Knowing that legends like Sir Bobby are on your team really boosts your confidence and gives you a lift."

 

Sir Bobby Charlton is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique association of 46 of the greatest living sporting legends who volunteer their time to act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. 

15th July 2013

 

Standard Chartered announced the renewal of funding to Operation Breakthrough, a Hong Kong Police-led volunteer programme that offers sporting opportunities to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The sponsorship of the rugby programme which commenced in 2005 will continue for three more years injecting funds of HK$900,000 for the period 2013 to 2016.

 

Mr. Mike Rees, Group Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Wholesale Banking of Standard Chartered said, “Standard Chartered is proud to renew our sponsorship in support of  Operation Breakthrough, a truly unique and effective programme that we believe has made a significant difference in giving youths in this community an opportunity to see how the core values of rugby – teamwork, respect, discipline, enjoyment and sportsmanship can play a big part in positively changing one’s life. The success of this programme is testament to the dedication of the many programme partners but also more importantly, to the perseverance, optimism and resilience of the young people who have used this platform to create a better life for themselves.”

 

Mr. Robbie McRobbie, Director of Operation Breakthrough said, “On behalf of the directors and participants of Operation Breakthrough, I would like to thank Standard Chartered once again for their generous contribution to the funding of Operation Breakthrough. The commitment is immense and will allow sports like rugby to further develop as well as making a tremendous difference to the lives of these young people."

16th December 2012

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby


Well last Sunday we had a great day of touch rugby with the boys from TM Boys Home and they really enjoyed the contact drills that Gunny, Tank and Ivan put them through beforehand. Hopefully more of them will be joining us when they leave the Boys Home soon.

After the drills we enjoyed some touch rugby matches with two Breakthrough teams, two Tuen Mun Boys Home teams and a mixed team from the Standard Chartered Bank, who not only sponsor us but also the community projects, which the HKRFU run, like this initiative.

After the matches we all enjoyed some well deserved food and some giveaways from the Bank. It also gave the four of us, Breakthrough, The Boys Home, the HKRFU and the Standard Chartered Bank, a chance to admire the splendid trophy that we won in London for being the Rugby Expo’s community rugby project of the year.

Attached are a couple of photos, one of Ivan putting the Boy’s Home lads through their paces beforehand and a group picture at the end.

As those of you who have been reading this newsletter in the last few weeks will know, last night Sures had his first professional fight and what a cracker it was. He was fighting a Filipino lad – Roldan Bullong  in a 4 round Flyweight contest and he won the match on points, quite convincingly. It was a great debut only spoilt by the fact that he broke his nose and had to go to hospital. There was a big Breakthrough contingent there and his family to shout him on and we were all very proud of him. Ricky Hatton presented Breakthrough with a cheque for HK$70,000 and we got a lot of excellent publicity, so that was also a big plus. Hatton was visiting the Breakthrough boxing gym tonight and I’m told was very impressed. Maybe we will have a second boxer becoming a professional before long, but one thing for sure, there is no such thing as easy money in that ring.

Next Sunday we don’t have any rugby matches and then it is into the Christmas break, but we will still be training apart from 26 December when we will have a well deserved break.

 

2nd December 2012

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

 

Well last Sunday was a disappointment for the U19s as they lost for the first time this season. Unfortunately only 12 boys turned up, 11 from WTS and only 1 from Tin Siu Wai, emphasising what a lot of work Kuen, our new assistant has to do to make up for the last month when we have been without a social worker. It is disappointing when we have so many boys on the books and by this age they shouldn’t need jollying along. Let us hope it was just a temporary lapse of communication.

Anyway we conceded the match borrowed three from DEA and had a really competitive game losing 24 – 14. If we had had a full turnout we could well have kept our unbeaten record. In fact the boys from WTS mostly attend the same school in Choi Hung, the Choi Hung Estate Catholic Secondary School,  and Robbie tells me that they recently won the Schools Rugby 2nd Division Competition, which is a great achievement.

This week we have the touch tournament with the boys from Tuen Mun Boys Home on Sunday and proceedings kick off at the Police Club at 1.30pm with some training and the touch matches start at 2.30pm.

5th November  - 2nd December

Updates from Steve Tarrant - Director of Rugby

Well last weekend the U16s won their match against East Kowloon by 5 tries to nil. The match was cut short in the second half as the weather was apparently terrible and the pitch got very cut up, leading to the referee calling an early halt to proceedings. I say apparently as I was ensconced in a nice box at the races and left Robbie to supervise proceedings. He tells me the weather was quite bad and he had no arguments with the refs decision.

Next weekend the U19s are back in action and we play DEA2 at Kings Park. The KO is at 11am. It should be a good match and hopefully a few of our older boys who have been out with injuries will be fit again.

This week I have yet another bit of good news as Breakthrough and the HKRFU won the Top Community rugby award at the recent Rugby Expo in London.  We faced stiff competition from the highly commended Premiership Rugby’s Hitz Programme and the London Scottish School of Hard Knocks initiative, and the strength of the entries was highlighted by John Hockey, chairman of Rugby Ventures which operates Rugby Expo.



“Our judges faced a genuine challenge to separate some excellent entries in many categories and this year’s entries confirmed that the Rugby Expo Awards are a reflection of the growing professionalism, dedication and hard work which characterises the sport,” remarked Hockey. “We were delighted to receive entries from different parts of the world and to recognise the excellent work which is being done in both the USA and Hong Kong. Our congratulations go not only to the winners but to every club or organisation which entered and we look forward to growing the Awards yet again on 2013.”

The winning programme was an initiative introduced by the Union's Community Department last year, introducing rugby at the Tuen Mun Boys' Home.  Union coaches, including graduates from the Operation Breakthrough programme, have been running 8 week programmes for groups of up to 25 young boys aged 14-17 years, which culminates in a day excursion to play touch games against the Breakthrough teams, followed by refreshments and the chance for the youngsters to mix together.



After the first few cycles the Social Welfare Department staff found that many of the boys were keen to continue their involvement with rugby, and so now there is a small but steady stream of youngsters who after leaving the Boys' Home are going on to join the Breakthrough programme, training on Wednesdays and participating in the Colts leagues on Sundays.



Both the Boys Home initiative and Operation Breakthrough are generously sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, and it was great to see a group of the bank staff volunteers get involved in the last match day at the Police Sports Club, joining in the games and handing out souvenirs.  Breakthrough is also supported by the Social Welfare Department through their "Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged", and is a Laureus World Sports Foundation "Sport for Good" project.



Read more about Rugby Expo at www.rugbyexpo.com