For some of the boys on Tiger Field Saturday, winning the Tiger Rugby Cup has become just one task on the way to their ultimate goal.
Four Western Academy of Beijing rugby players have competed on the varsity team for four straight years - each season winning the Tiger Cup title. But in the 2016 season, the team accomplished a previously elusive victory at the Asia Pacific Activities Conference tournament, the most prominent of tournaments in this region's international school circuit.
And this year, they intend to do the same.
"Winning the Tiger Cup for the fourth straight time this weekend meant a lot to our team, especially for the seniors who have been on the team since Grade 9, as it will be our last home tournament on Tiger Field," said WAB Rugby Captain Keegan Watene. "It serves as a stepping stone for us looking ahead to APAC. We had some great minutes but also learned a lot about what we can focus and work on moving forward. We look forward to the challenge ahead of us at APAC, and we hope to have to have the opportunity to play in the finals and bring the trophy home again in back-to-back years."
The Tigers team defeated Shanghai American School Pudong, Shanghai American School Puxi and Dulwich College Beijing in three games to win the tournament.
But winning these games is not a "sure thing" for the Tigers. Years of progress in the program have resulted in developing a culture around hard work and commitment to team. The Tigers will need to bring everything to the table if they hope to repeat as APAC champions.
"For the four seniors on the team who have won four Tiger Cups and an APAC title, they need to be grounded and take it one game at a time," said Coach Hadleigh Crysell. "If the team is able to make the APAC final again, they should go out and play the hardest 24 minutes of their lives. Then we will see what we have accomplished after the final whistle."
The APAC Rugby tournament takes place at Hong Kong International School from October 19-21.