15th Aug 2023

Vilk brings know-how from Federazione Italiana Rugby 

Experience from both playing and coaching in England and Italy for nearly two decades

Hong Kong China Rugby (HKCR) has announced the appointment of Andrew Vilk as the new Head Coach for the Women’s Sevens team. Vilk, who served as the Assistant High Performance & Development Coach for Federazione Italiana Rugby, will assume his new role beginning 14 August.

Head Coach Paul John has been filling in as the Women’s Coach since the departure of Iain Monaghan to Canada, with Vilk now on board he will revert to his role as Head Coach with both Andrew and Men’s Coach Jevon Groves reporting in to him.

Robbie McRobbie, CEO of Hong Kong China Rugby said, “We are delighted to have an individual of the calibre of Andy join our Sevens programme. He brings a wealth of experience from his time with England and Italy, and we look forward to seeing him join Paul and Jevon at the HKSI. It’s an exciting time with the Asian Games just around the corner, and we have high hopes of medals for both our women’s and men’s teams in Hangzhou.”

Vilk has performed at the highest levels for Premiership Clubs in the UK and represented and captained England Sevens. Currently the Assistant High Performance & Development Coach, and Consultant to the Italy Men’s Sevens Team, Vilk also previously held the position of Head Coach of Italy Men’s Sevens for almost a decade.

Marzio Innocenti, President of Federazione Italiana Rugby remarked, “Andy has been living and coaching in Italy for fifteen years. He has contributed tremendously to the progress of Rugby Sevens in Italy and his legacy to the Game is undisputed. Hong Kong is undoubtedly the incubator of international sevens through an amalgam of first-rate organisation and chance. We wish him many successes in his new role in Hong Kong.”

The recent Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in April was a historic event for the Hong Kong China Women’s team, as they made their debut in the Stadium as part of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.

Head Coach Paul John said, “Our women’s team is a team that has been tested in international matches. The Women’s team finished 4th in the Asia Sevens Series in 2022 and secured qualification to the Challenger Series in Cape Town in late April this year, right after participating in the Hong Kong Sevens in the same month. I firmly believe that Andy will bring along invaluable high performance experience to the team and train more local talents to enrich our talent pool in Hong Kong.”

Rugby Sevens has served as a vehicle for young up-and-coming players to earn their spurs and become accustomed to playing in high-pressure games in front of big crowds. In 2010, the Women’s Rugby Sevens event was introduced to the Asian Games. In 2016, Rugby Sevens was played at the Summer Olympics for the first time.