23 Oct 2015

The Hong Kong Rugby Union and Hong Kong Rugby community is today in mourning over the loss of Beth Coalter, one of the most prominent personages in local rugby history and one of the most influential women in all of world rugby.

Prior to her joining World Rugby as Sevens Operations Manager, Beth worked for the Hong Kong Rugby Union for nearly twenty years from 1987 to 2005.Coalter arrived in Hong Kong from her native Ireland in 1974 and joined the HKRU in 1987, rising from secretary to the position of HKRU Hong Kong Sevens Tournament Manager.

“The Hong Kong Rugby community and indeed the world rugby family has lost a key member with Beth’s passing, but we continue to take hope and inspiration from her tireless professionalism, passion, dedication, and above all warmth.

“Her contribution to the success of both the Hong Kong Sevens and Hong Kong Rugby cannot be underestimated, and her legacy can be seen in the vibrancy of our community and the global growth of the Sevens game she loved so dearly.

“The HKRU extends its thoughts, prayers and heartfelt condolences to Beth’s family during this difficult period,” added Pieter Schats, Chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Union.

Beth was a much-loved member of the HKRU and played an instrumental role in making the Hong Kong Sevens the international success story it has become. Her impact on the global game has been equally immense.

After leaving the Hong Kong Rugby Union, Beth joined World Rugby where she was characteristically tireless in promoting the game, in particular the sevens code, on a global scale.

World Rugby hailed Coalter’s achievements and passion calling Beth, “a beacon of warmth and positivity” and a “driving force behind rugby seven successful campaigns for Olympic conclusion and the ongoing success of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series”.

World Rugby also announced that match officials for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals at Twickenham this weekend will wear black as a mark of respect from the global rugby family.

It is a fitting tribute to a woman whose passion for Rugby has influenced and inspired countless individuals throughout her distinguished professional career.

The HKRU will announce details of its own commemoration of Beth’s life at the upcoming Asia Rugby Sevens Qualifiers in November, when one Asian men’s and women’s team will qualify for Rio 2016 when Rugby Sevens will make its Olympic debut – a fitting epitaph for Beth’s impact on the game.

The HKRU and the entire Hong Kong Rugby community send its thoughts and prayers to Beth’s family at this very difficult time.

World Rugby statement http://www.worldrugby.org/news/116373