24th Apr 2024

  • 10-year strategy with short-term action over next 1-2 years to kick start process
  • Aims to build sustainable future for the long-term health of rugby in Hong Kong and optimise positive social impact 


Hong Kong China Rugby (HKCR) has today (April 24th) released a new 10-year strategic plan that aims to lay the foundation for the sustainable future of rugby in Hong Kong, whilst also addressing short-term issues over the next one to two years. 


The HKCR Board approved the plan at a meeting in March and discussed details with rugby community members at a Town Hall meeting on 18th March. 


The strategic plan was finalised after more than six months of deliberation and refinement by the Board and senior management team, and engagement with the wider rugby community and other stakeholders.

For the first time, the strategic plan defines HKCR’s purpose as “optimising positive social impact for Hong Kong through rugby”. The HKCR’s mission is “to build a connected, sustainable ecosystem of rugby in Hong Kong”. 


The plan has three pillars – Community and Participation, Sustainability, and Representative Rugby – mutually supporting each other to generate more participants at the community level, additional  funding and revenue, and better representative performance. 


The objective within the Community and Participation pillar is to optimise the societal impact of rugby through enhanced engagement, participation and retention. This includes growing the game locally through vibrant regional hubs, boosting the participation of women and girl players, leveraging the rugby 7s format to boost participation in schools and tertiary institutions, and better integration of local schools, universities and Greater Bay Area clubs into the domestic club community and competitions. 


Initiatives to be introduced in 2024-25 season include increased investment in a re-modelled subvention system for youth and senior clubs to help cover the costs of fielding teams, as well as the allocation of appropriate resources to clubs in the longer term. 


A further initiative will be to better facilitate player engagement into, and transitions within, the rugby community through enhanced  alignment of all formats including touch, 7s and 15s, by extending the touch stream in mini rugby, setting up a pilot club/school touch competition, and introducing a rugby 7s competition as part of the senior domestic competition. 


HKCR will launch a pilot regional hub model in 2024-25 based out of its Tin Shui Wai ground to better develop and co-ordinate the rugby ecosystem by aligning programmes and resources with schools, clubs and facilities. Where feasible, learnings from this will rapidly be implemented across Hong Kong, and HKCR will plan to roll out an additional 6 regional hubs as resources (facilities, people) are made available.


The objective under the Sustainability pillar is to ensure that HKCR can achieve its goals on a long-term sustainable basis. The aim is to grow and diversify the revenue base and generate an increased annual surplus,  not only from the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, but also from a second major annual event, as well as  the monetisation of HKCR’s digital platform.  


HKCR aims to be recognised as a leader in the sports industry in sustainability across the areas of governance, social impact and environment. Changes have already been made to improve governance, with the introduction of independent directors in the 2023-24 season and changes to premiership governance, while new governance structures have recently been approved for the men’s community league, women’s community league and youth rugby.   


Initiatives within 2024-26 period will include drafting a sustainability plan, developing and implementing a social impact evaluation framework, and aligning with World Rugby’s environmental and social initiatives plan. Better use will also be made of technology and data to enhance communication and develop e-commerce opportunities. An engagement strategy for the Greater Bay Area will also be developed and agreed. 


In relation to events, HKCR will develop a product strategy for the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens  to maximise the benefits of the move to the Kai Tak Sports Park and aim to create a second, major annual event on the rugby calendar.  

The objective under Representative Rugby is to create Hong Kong role models who inspire people to engage in rugby. The playing goals for Sevens rugby are to qualify for the Olympic Rugby 7s in 2028 for men and 2032 for women, to win the Asian Games rugby 7s in 2026 in men and 2030 in women, and to maintain Tier A categorisation for rugby 7s at the Hong Kong Sports Institute. With regard to the fifteen-a-side game, the primary objective is to accelerate support for women’s representative and premiership competitions in order to create an opportunity  to qualify for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025 and 2029. A further objective is to ensure that the men’s fifteen-a-side representative team continues to remain competitive and is  positioned to perform well at upcoming regional and global competitions, and to take advantage of opportunities that arise from the  evolving global rugby landscape.   


Initiatives will include greater efforts to showcase local men’s and women’s 15s and 7s rugby stars in the community to drive interest in the game, to boost participation and grow the fan base, to introduce enhanced performance pathways for local and Hong Kong qualified players, the development of a cross-boundary competition, the creation of more international playing opportunities, bespoke coach education programmes, structured support for Performance Match Officials, and a local referee development plan. 


HKCR chairman Chris Brooke said the Strategic Plan provided an integrated framework to consolidate and grow the game in Hong Kong – and by extension maximise social benefits to the community – whilst at the same time addressing short-term challenges. 

“We have a fantastic rugby community in Hong Kong who are not only dedicated to playing, developing and supporting the game but also passionate about the benefits that rugby brings to the wider community through sport, friendship and service,” said Brooke.


“We understand that rugby clubs were hard hit by Covid, which also had a severe impact on the financial health of  HKCR. We are still emerging from that disruption. That is why this strategic plan includes initiatives to provide more support to clubs, financially and otherwise, to help rebuild and grow the rugby community in Hong Kong.


“We understand the need to develop a more robust financial model to sustain  HKCR and our wide range of programmes in the future. We will maximise the benefits of the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens after the move to the Kai Tak Sports Park, evolve and improve the rugby 7s product and fan engagement, and develop new revenue sources.” 


Brooke said HKCR was excited by the prospect of creating a more integrated rugby ecosystem through the regional hub initiative that would better co-ordinate the use of facilities, enhance links between schools, tertiary institutions and clubs, and provide pathways for participation through touch, 7s and 15s. More resources would be devoted to developing the women’s game, as well as lifting coaching standards and training for match officials. 


“By developing a more integrated ecosystem we can create a broader and deeper pool of talent in both the men’s and women’s games to help Hong Kong China Rugby reach new heights of excellence not only in Asia, but also in support of our quest to qualify for the Olympics in rugby 7s and be highly competitive in relation to the qualification stages associated with the Rugby World Cup in the 15s game,” he said. 

“By achieving enhanced performance from a playing perspective, we can create role models who will inspire other people to get involved as players or volunteers, clearly demonstrate that rugby is a  premier performance team sport in Hong Kong, as well as provide HKCR with an opportunity and platform to share positive stories about the benefits of sport for the wider community and the excellence that can be achieved by our players and teams in the international arena.” 

The Strategic Plan document can be accessed on the HKCR website