HONG KONG MEN ROMP ALONG ROAD TO RIO ON DAY ONE, FINAL SHOWDOWN VERSUS JAPAN LOOMS LARGE

07 Nov 2015

The Hong Kong Men’s Sevens team started their quest for Olympic qualification with a perfect record of three straight wins Saturday as the Asian Rugby Sevens Qualifier kicked off at Hong Kong Stadium.

The day was brought to a thrilling end when Gareth Baber’s men rallied from being 12-0 behind in the first half to end the game with a flurry of tries and a composed 27-12 victory over Sri Lanka.

With one pool B game left Sunday – against Malaysia – Hong Kong look set to progress to the semi-finals, and the mouth-watering prospect of a final against Asian powerhouses Japan awaits.

Hong Kong top pool B with nine points ahead of nearest pool mates Sri Lanka and Malaysia (seven each). Pool A sees Japan on nine points with China and South Korea on seven.

In the final match of the day, it was a late first-half try from skipper Max Woodard that steadied Hong Kong against Sri Lanka before their four-try second half settled the matter.

“These guys are playing either as well as they can or above that and that’s what we’re going to need tomorrow,” said Baber.

Baber had earlier been given the opportunity to give his entire squad time on the pitch in tournament-opening wins over Iran (46-0) and then the Philippines (29-0).

Robertson’s boot found its mark in the first clash with three conversions that showed what the coach had hoped – that he was over his hamstring strain.

Iran are a team that relies on their physical size to intimidate but Hong Kong were able to move the ball around at pace to negate the threat, with tries to Salom Yiu Kam-shing (three), Rowan Varty (two), Jack Capon (two) and James Hood.

Yiu also enjoyed himself later against the Philippines crossing over twice on what was a prosperous day for the Valley back – his five tries making him the tournament leader so far.

Varty chimed in with another along with Alex McQueen, while Hood took over the kicking duties for two conversions to add to a try of his own.

Hong Kong will play its last pool-match tomorrow morning at 11:08 against Malaysia before entering through to the Cup semi finals stages.

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