08 Nov 2018

The Hong Kong girls’ team put on an incredible display of talent and professionalism at the recent U18 Asia Rugby Sevens in India, destroying all opposition until falling at the final hurdle to a powerful China team.


Testament to the growth and development of the women’s game in Asia, the three-day, 12 team competition was the largest event that Asia Rugby have ever hosted at this level. Teams included Hong Kong, China, India, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Laos, UAE, Qatar and Philippines.


After an initial round of pool games, teams were ranked 1-12 by points. This meant that Hong Kong needed to score as many tries as possible in each game. And they did just that; Captain Maelle Picut and her team embarked on a ferocious clean sweep of all opposition leading up to the final.


Day 1 saw Hong Kong thrash Chinese Taipei 69-0, while Day 2 saw a monstrous 75-0 victory over newcomers Nepal, a much needed 19-10 win over rivals Thailand and a solid 39-0 victory over Sri Lanka. Day 3 saw Hong Kong in the Semi Finals against home team India, with a passionate crowd of around 5000 people cheering on the local side. Sweety Kumari, team India’s flyer and tournament top try scorer, scored the first try of the game and the first points to be scored against Hong Kong. But credit to the Hong Kong girls, they were able to zone out from the deafening cheers and maintain their composure, putting on a dominant display of rugby to finish the game 50-7 and clinch their place in the Final.


Facing China in the Cup Final proved to be a real challenge for the Hong Kong team however this was the standard of rugby that the girls had been striving for and they put up a good fight against the much larger opposition. Despite the precision and physical dominance of the Chinese players, Hong Kong were still able to disrupt and defend for several phases. The girls played to the final whistle and came away with a try at the end – becoming the only team to score against China. The final score was 28 -5.


Coach Sam Feausi was extremely proud of her team and credited their strong teamwork and resilience throughout the long tournament,


“Overall I’m very happy with the team’s performance. Most tries scored at this tournament were team tries, which shows good support and all round effort displayed by the players.”


Also noted was the overall improvement of the Hong Kong players and what that meant for girls’ rugby in Hong Kong.


“It was fantastic to see so many of the players showing good improvements since their previous tournaments. With the team finishing 2nd out of 12 teams, it goes to show the strong development of our younger girls coming through our programmes. Lots to build on for the future!” added Feausi.


Notable stand out performances came from players Anna Birkett, Florence Symonds and Lucia Bolton who racked up the points for the Hong Kong side while Captain Maelle Picut led from the front with strong go forward every time she carried the ball into contact.


Off the pitch, the girls also had the humbling experience of visiting a local orphanage that employs rugby as a way of teaching values and self-discipline to children. They spent time chatting and playing rugby with the children before presenting them with some of their Hong Kong kit.


The unity and solidarity amongst the team was evident throughout the entire tournament, with the girls coming together as a real family on and off the pitch. The strong performance is testament to how hard the girls have trained and how determined they are to reach number one in Asia – a very achievable goal for these very talented ladies.