28th Aug 2023

A highly competitive day two in Korea saw the Japan men’s and women’s team crowned the winners of round one in the Asia Rugby Sevens Series. 


Hong Kong women began their day with a semi-final match up against eventual tournament winners Japan, who applied good defensive line pressure, won themselves a number of turnovers, and went on to score quickly, putting their impressive speedsters to good use.


Although Hong Kong’s set piece looked strong, they lost the ball a number of times in contact and struggled to secure the ball after kickoff. 


There were some special moments for Hong Kong’s fans however, with a memorable try-saving tackle from Ka Yan Chong, and a great try down the middle of the park from Natasha Olson-Thorne. 27-7


The women then went on to play Thailand for third place, in a tight contest that featured highs and lows for both teams. Chloe Chan made an excellent break to score Hong Kong’s first points, and a great short ball popped up from Jess Ho to Natasha Olson-Thorne ensured she was able to take another run and dot down, earning her some well-deserved praise from the commentary team - ‘a hot knife through butter’. 


Ultimately Thailand’s improved patience and pressure application proved too much for Hong Kong, who never managed to get fully on track in the second half. 22-14


On the men’s side, they won their semi-final against South Korea, and Hong Kong’s audience would have been pleased to see Max Denmark looking dangerous early as he collected a loose pass and got it away to Liam Herbert to open the account.  


Although Korea looked threatening on attack at times, Hong Kong continued to capitalise on their unforced errors and scored twice more to finish the semi at 19-5. 


The men’s final was always going to be a big contest, with Hong Kong looking to settle a score after an earlier pool play loss to Japan. However, the Japanese side maintained a lot of possession and used their speed on the outside to full effect to keep Hong Kong at bay. 


Hong Kong looked a lot more intimidating in the second half, boosted by a strong lineout and cohesive partnership between Max Denmark and Liam Herbert. The game is tight and goes right down to a nailbiter the final whistle, but Japan hold on to take the gold. 10-12.

The overall result means the men settle for silver while the women take 4th place - we're looking forward to seeing how they progress at the 19th Asian Games next month.