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Hong Kong Qualify for 7’s Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needed to finish at least two spots ahead of South Korea to grab second spot in the series behind winners Japan and their tournament win meant they did it comfortably, with the Koreans slipping to fourth after losing the play-off for third spot to the hosts.Hong Kong have also qualified for the World Series qualifier at April’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, as well as continuing their run of never missing a sevens World Cup.

“It’s huge for the programme, if you are a player that has been in the programme a while or a youngster thinking about what you are going to do over the next two or three years, playing in these major competitions is the key to developing and progressing the programme,” Hong Kong coach Paul John said.

“It’s a huge thing for Hong Kong rugby to be playing in those major competitions. To beat Japan twice in two days is a great achievement and the most important thing was we knew we’d qualified going into that last game but it was just not to relax and go on and win the tournament.”

Toby Fenn and Kane Boucaut scored tries as Hong Kong battled back from a 14-7 half-time deficit to level things up when the hooter sounded, with Seb Brien crossing in the early stages of extra-time to secure victory.

Earlier on, Boucaut notched three tries and Hugo Stiles two as Hong Kong blitzed Taiwan 50-0 in the quarter-finals, while Salom Yiu Kam-shing found the line twice in a 26-12 semi-final win over Sri Lanka.

“The main goal was to get qualification and I’m just pleased the way that they dug in and fought for each other out there,” John said.

 

Hong Kong’s women finished the tournament in fifth after going down to Thailand 12-7 in the quarter-finals, however they held on to fourth place overall in the series.

The women’s game against Thailand could have gone either way and while she was disappointed her side couldn’t again win through to the top four, coach Anna Richards was realistic about the result.

“The whole weekend has been a bit of leveller with the mud, there has been a lot of close games and I think Thailand have played pretty well across the two series,” she said.

“We just made too many errors and we just turned the ball over a bit too much. I think the girls have just got to get a little bit better at staying calm and being able to maintain their focus and skills in the big games.”

Hong Kong led 7-5 through a converted try to Chong Ka-yan but just couldn’t hang on, with Richards praising the efforts of the speedy winger.

“I thought she played really well, the conditions didn’t really suit her but she came up trumps with a couple of really good tries for us,” Richards said.

Colleen Tjosvold ran in three tries as Hong Kong defeated South Korea 29-0 in the plate semi-final, with Ivy Kwong Sau-yan and debutant Vivien Poon Hoi-yan also scoring.

Hong Kong hung on to see off Sri Lanka 12-5 in the plate final thanks to two more tries to Chong.

As well as Poon, Jessica Ho Wai-on and Agnes Chan Tsz-ching were also on debut and Richards was pleased with her new blood as she looks ahead to tournaments in Fiji and Borneo early next year in the lead up to the World Series qualifier in Hong Kong.

“It was just about introducing them to tournament pressure,” Richards said. “I thought Agnes did really well, Vivien had a couple of good games today. Jess didn’t get too much game time but what she did do, she did well. I think it was a good introduction for the three of them.

“They have got next week off and then we are just going to throw them back in the gym, they have had a pretty tough year and it will just be about building them back up and getting their bodies right.” (credit to HK Rugby for this write up)