18th Sep 2023

The Hong Kong, China men’s and women’s Sevens players taking part in the 19th Asian Games were announced today at a team reveal held at the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

Originally scheduled for 2022 and postponed until September 2023, the much-anticipated games will be held in Hangzhou, China, and the rugby tournament is set to take place over the 24-26 September. 

Defending Asian Games gold medalists Hong Kong, China men’s Sevens will be joined by the Philippines and Malaysia in Pool A, while South Korea face off with Chinese Taipei and Sri Lankan athletes (competing under an OCA flag) in Pool B. Pool C includes Singapore and Thailand alongside powerhouse Japan, who won the recent first leg of this year’s Asia Rugby Sevens Series (ARSS), while Pool D features hosts China paired with UAE, Nepal and Afghanistan.

In the women’s draw, seven teams have signed on for the challenge, including ARSS 2023 participants Japan, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Hong Kong China, Singapore and China, as well as India. 

Pool E sees hosts China top the pool with Thailand and Kazakhstan, and Japan head Pool F along with Hong Kong China, India and Singapore.

Robbie McRobbie, CEO of Hong Kong China Rugby said, “We pride ourselves that Hong Kong is the spiritual home of international sevens and over the years our representative teams have given us some great results and wonderful memories, no more so than the men’s historic Gold at the last Asian Games in Jakarta. Under the leadership of Paul John, Head Coach, our men’s team will be striving to defend their title, while the women have their sides firmly set on a first podium finish as well. I know our fantastic rugby community at home and fans in Hangzhou and around the world will be cheering them on as they proudly represent Hong Kong China.”

Paul John, Head Coach remarked, “This is an extremely important tournament for us, and both teams have been preparing well. Our men’s team travelled to Fo Shan, Guangdong province in July for a series of friendly warm-up games against China, and our women’s team joined a training camp in Canada in collaboration with the Cananda, Japan and Australia women’s Sevens teams. And of course, the first stage of the ARSS ended last month in South Korea, which was an excellent opportunity to test the teams.”



Women’s Preview: 

The women's squad is gearing up for their biggest event since the arrival of their new coach, Andrew Vilk last month, and will be looking to improve on their fourth placing at the ARSS and boost their fifth-place finish from the last Asian Games in 2018.

“We are excited for the challenge to build on our performance in the ARSS and it is important for us to show that progression now. We are in a good space and ready to get stuck into it,” Vilk said.

The 12-women squad comprises a strong core of experienced players, including NAM Ka Man, CHONG Ka Yan, AU YEUNG Sin Yi, HO Jessica Wai On, CHAN Stephanie Chor Ki, with five from the squad making their Asian Games debut, including CHAN Chloe, FORREST Shanna; FUNG Hoi Ching, TSE Wing Kiu and HO Tsz Wun, while stalwarts Melody Li Nim-yan and Natasha Olson-Thorne will co-captain the team.

Hong Kong, China has been placed in an intriguing group alongside defending champions Japan, India, and Singapore in Pool F.

“Japan are expected to present the biggest challenge again. And as we advance, it looks highly likely we will be crossing over with China, which will undoubtedly test us physically. However, we are prepared for that.”

“The squad has continued to develop and has incorporated new tactical dimensions, and the new players have added to that versatility. We want to play with speed, as it aligns well with our skillset and enables us to apply greater pressure and score tries," Vilk added.

Their first game is on September 24th at 12:30 (HKT) against India before taking on Singapore at 17:40. They will face Japan at 11:15 on September 25th to conclude pool play.


Men’s Preview:

The reigning Men’s champions, Hong Kong, China, missed out on their first gold in the Asian Sevens Series since 2019 earlier in Incheon, but have kept faith and set their sights on defending their title.

Hong Kong, China men's coach Jevon Groves is looking for a mix of relentless defense and free-flowing attack in his side’s Asian Games campaign.

"Training has been really competitive. We are preparing for every eventuality, that is all that we can do. The squad is rugby ready. It has been a tough selection,” said Groves.

The squad comprises a strong and dynamic lineup that draws mainly on players from the ARSS tournament. Several veteran campaigners are included, with eight of Hong Kong’s defending men’s gold medal winning Asian Games squad in the group. 

The team's previous victory in 2018, saw Hong Kong claim a long-awaited gold medal with a 14-0 triumph over Japan in Jakarta. 

Captain Max Woodward will lead the team's charge to reclaim the Asian Games title, along with campaigners, Salom Yiu Kam-shing, Cado Lee Ka-to, Alessandro NARDONI, Liam HERBERT, Alex McQUEEN; James CHRISTIE, Max DENMARK; Michael COVERDALE, Hugo STILES, Liam DOHERTY with the talismanic Russell WEBB making his Asian Games debut after his absence at the 2018 event due to injury. 

"We expect our opponents to be physical and individually very skillful, and we are focused on countering their strengths while exerting pressure on them, “said Groves.

"They’ve got the knowledge; it's just a matter of executing their skills and playing consistently for the full 14 minutes," added Groves.

The men’s campaign kicks off on September 24th at 13:20(HKT) with their first match against Malaysia. They will later face the Philippines in their second match of the day in the afternoon at 18:30.






HONG KONG, CHINA WOMEN’S SEVENS SQUAD FOR ASIAN GAMES (24SEP-26SEP) OLSON-THORNE Natasha (Co-captain),  LI Nim Yan Melody Blessing(Co-captain), AU YEUNG Sin Yi, CHAN Chloe, CHONG Ka Yan, FORREST Shanna, FUNG Hoi Ching、HO Jessica Wai On、CHAN Stephanie Chor Ki, NAM Ka Man, TSE Wing Kiu,  HO Tsz Wun