HONG KONG FALL TO 3RD-RANKED CANADA IN WOMEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP OPENER

10 Aug 2017


Hong Kong have gone down 98-0 to Canada in their opening match of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

It was a one-sided affair between Jo Hull’s side and the third-ranked team in the world, with Canada surging out of the blocks and piling on the tries frequently throughout the contest.

Hong Kong refused to lie down, however, and Hull was pleased to see her players hold their heads high.

“We actually fought for the entire game, we asked them to play like warriors and they did. It’s the reality of where we are, we’re at a World Cup, we’re trying our hardest and I’m proud of them,” she said.

“We made some silly mistakes, which we will obviously look at, and it’s hard to play when you don’t have the ball, but we fought for the entire game.”


Hong Kong battled hard on defence in the opening stages but it took only four minutes for centre Andrea Burk to open the scoring for Canada.

Tries to fullback Elissa Alarie, winger Magali Harvey and skipper Kelly Russell followed as Canada pushed the margin out to 24-0 after the first quarter of the match. There was plenty more to come before the break, with Harvey crossing on another two occasions and Russell and Burk landing first-half doubles as the score ballooned to 46-0 after 40 minutes.

Canada seemed to find yet another gear after the break as the onslaught began to take it’s toll on Hull’s side, with Alarie, Amanda Thornborough and Alex Tessier all scoring as Hong Kong fell behind 65-0 after 50 minutes.

A 51st-minute yellow card to winger Chong Ka-yan – who collided with her opponent in the air – didn’t help Hong Kong’s cause, however Canada’s Olivia DeMerchant found herself in the bin soon after and Hong Kong’s most promising attacking thrusts took place in this period.

It amounted to nothing, though, and Harvey’s fourth try and one to replacement Brittany Waters kept the scoreboard ticking over for Canada.

Tries to Russell, Thornborough and a fifth to Harvey completed the rout, with Hull refusing to get caught up in the result.

“A 98-point margin is always a surprise, no coach is going to be happy with that. But I’m not going to dwell on that, it’s a number, fair play to Canada, they were excellent, they were clinical, they’ve got very athletic ball carriers and they deserved that win today.

“Our players will take a lot of heart from it and I hope the crowd felt it as well, the fact that the crowd were behind us at every 10-minute mark today shows the character that we played with,” said Hull.

Hull was pleased with the impact of her subs, in particular 18-year-old centre Kelsie Bouttle, and also praised the work of tireless winger Chong Ka-yan.

“She showed that resilience today. I wanted to get her with the ball in hand a little bit more, but she showed she’s a class player and I was pleased with her today,” Hull said of Chong.

“Kelsie made an impact when she came on and I think our front row did their job today even though our scrum was going backwards.

“In terms of physicality, when we had a one-on-one opportunity I think we managed but once they got momentum, we were in a bit of trouble.”

Canada were quick to pounce on any Hong Kong mistake, twice intercepting the ball and streaking away to the try line.

“They’re very fast and have very hot line speed,” Hull said. “That’s what quality sides do, they look at where they can take those little one percenters and today they took them.

“There were periods where we turned them over, we turned them over at the breakdown a couple of times and we forced some mistakes.

“They’re wins for us and I think we did match them in some areas, but it is difficult to play with your scrum going backwards.”

The relentless pressure of the Canadians took its toll on Hong Kong, with winger Aggie Poon Pak-yan one player nursing an injury ahead of Sunday’s clash with New Zealand.

SUBSCRIBE TO

OUR NEWSLETTER