26th Aug 2023

26 August 2023: The Hong Kong China men’s and women’s teams will progress to the semi-finals tomorrow after they both finished second in their pools during day one of the 2023 Asia Rugby Sevens Series in Korea. 


Hong Kong China Men: Day One


Despite a first minute scare against Singapore, who drew first blood after a few handling and contact errors, it was a veritable try-fest for the Hong Kong China team. Talismanic fly-half Russell Webb showed off his impressive playmaking ability and ran a nice partnership with Cado Lee Ka-to, who was a welcome addition back into the fold after a long stint away recovering from a shoulder injury. The spoils were shared amongst the group with Webb, Lee, Max Denmark, Salom Yiu, Liam Herbert and Liam Doherty all scoring to wrap up the first game at 45-7. 

China proved to be tougher opposition, but captain Max Woodward scored immediately from kick-off, giving Hong Kong China a good start. Unfortunately, their job was made slightly tougher with Hugo Stiles receiving a stint in the sin bin for two infringements in a row, which China capitalized on straight away. 


The big man Max Denmark offered some respite at the halftime buzzer, when he got a beauty of an offload away to Cado Lee Ka-to who dotted down to regain the lead. The second half was a lot less nervy, with Hugo Stiles scoring, followed by a great Russell Webb try started by a big left boot down the pitch. The deal is sealed by Salom Yiu who makes the final score 29-14.


The last game of the day proved to be the hardest contest yet, against a determined and physical Japan side who made excellent use of space and defended well to keep Hong Kong China scoreless at 27-0.


Hong Kong China Women: Day One


Rosie Wright opened the Hong Kong China account versus Kazakhstan, in a physical and fast paced start to the game - Hong Kong maintained good line speed and applied pressure to an increasingly troubled Kazakhstan side. Discipline was an issue, with Ka Yan Chong and Melody Li both receiving yellow cards, but Hong Kong kept up their defence to prevent Kazakhstan from capitalising. Poor handling from Kazakhstan proved their downfall, and ensured Li and Wright scored another try each to finish the game at 17-0. 


During their next game, Hong Kong maintained good speed and decision making while Singapore struggled to keep up with the pace and get into Hong Kong territory. A hat trick from Ka Yan Chong, a double for Natasha Olson-Thorne, and one apiece for Shanna Forrest and Melody Li kept the points flowing - aided by Jess Ho's handy boot, and Singapore remained scoreless for a 39-0 finish. 

Their final test against China proved a lot more difficult. A worrying fall for Rosie Wright saw her leave the pitch early in the game, and China converted several Hong Kong errors into points. Ka Yan Chong managed to cross the try line in the 11th minute, but China’s defence was too strong and they consistently put Hong Kong under pressure to make the final score 24-7. 


Both the men and women will progress on Day two of the tournament – fixtures will be updated over on www.asiarugby.com  and a livestream is available to watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4q_NsHYTXk