Hautapu’s Tyler McNutt heading to Kenya for World Rugby U-20 Trophy

posted in: News, Rugby

Hautapu Sports’ forward Tyler McNutt will become an international player when he makes his debut for Hong Kong China at July’s World Rugby U-20 Trophy tournament in Kenya.

McNutt (20) has been selected for Hong Kong China, where he was born, joining a squad drawn from local players and imports from England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand.

Main photo: Tyler McNutt scores for Hautapu against Morrinsville. Photo credit: Matt Gould.

“We’re a bit of a melting pot of players, many from ex-pat families,” McNutt says.

Hong Kong will face Spain, Samoa and host Kenya in Pool B at the eight-team tournament that runs from July 15-30.

Pool A has Uruguay, Zimbabwe, United States and Scotland, who were relegated from the World U-20 Championship.

The winner of the tournament will qualify to take part in next year’s Championship tournament in South Africa, which includes big guns Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales, less whichever nation is relegated this year.

McNutt, who is a psychology student at Waikato University, sees the tournament as a “great opportunity” to play some footy and visit part of the world he might otherwise never visit.

He says his selection was “pure chance” as the Hong Kong coach is Logan Asplin who coached him at Hamilton Boys High School when he played for their first XV.

“He (Asplin) had no idea I was born in Hong Kong until he was having a beer with someone else from New Zealand who just happened to mention it,” McNutt says.

That chance conversation has now opened up McNutt’s rugby horizons, and he’s keen to see where it might lead.

The only disappointment was that he would miss Hautapu’s push to win the Breweries Shield for Waikato Premier Rugby’s top competition.

He says he’ll be in Kenya, looking to find a way to watch Hautapu via a live-stream.

And no doubt, Hautapu supporters will be looking to find a live-stream of their latest international player when he makes his debut for Hong Kong in their tournament opener against Spain on Sunday July 16 (1am, NZT).

The Hong Kong China side has three players with Cambridge connections.

As well as McNutt, Dominic Hedley is a former St Peter’s student studying at Canterbury University, while Theo Mag is a student at St Peter’s.

Hedley and Mag are members of Hong Kong’s HKU Sandy Bay club.

Asplin told Hong Kong Rugby:

“We also have a lot of qualified talent living and training internationally, so it’s great to be engaged with those guys and provide them the opportunity to represent Hong Kong on the world stage.”

Hong Kong China squad

Blake ELLIOT; Callum FITZHENRY; Camill Martin Marie CHEUNG; Charles AMISTOZO-WARREN; Chun Yim Glenn HUI; Ciaran DELANEY; David BENNETT; Dominic HEDLEY; Dylan MCCANN; Ethan AGREN; Fritz-Gonzales MAHN; Izac Tehanakore MANU; Jamie BLAIR; Joseph Michael DENMARK; Josh BAILEY; Joshua EUSTACE; Jude HARDING; Julien BOURRON; Justin EDEN; Marco CONTI; Maxwell THRELKELD; Oliver PYLE; Samuel MARTIN; Takuma YAMAUCHI; Theodore Angel MAG; Tyler MCNUTT; William RIGBY; Adam BABER.


Game to be played on Sunday July 16, 2023

Spain v Hong Kong China
Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, 1am (NZT)

Game to be played on Thursday July 20, 2023

Samoa v Hong Kong China
Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, 7pm (NZT)

Game to be played on Tuesday July 25, 2023

Kenya v Hong Kong China
Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, 9pm (NZT)

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