27 May 2019

After beating Fiji 29-10, a largely unchanged Hong Kong squad will face what national coach Jo Hull labels the “biggest test” of the tour tomorrow against Samoa at Churchill Park in Fiji.

The selectors have kept faith with the squad that rebounded from a slow start to beat Fiji, with only one change from last week’s group with Lau Sze-wa on the reserves bench for tomorrow’s test. The change is occasioned by the departure of new cap Zoe Smith, who scored a hat trick on her Hong Kong debut against Fiji.  Smith, a local teacher, has had to return to Hong Kong early due to work commitments.

Hull is ready for the squad to pick up their performance from Fiji, saying, “We set a challenge for the squad for this week that we must grow and improve.”

The learning curve could get steeper with an unknown threat in a new look Samoa team up next: “We understand they have drafted in several New Zealand based players. I am not sure how long they have been together but they should be individually very skillful. Physically, they will be an even bigger challenge than Fiji. This next game will be the biggest test for us. 

“After Fiji, we issued a new challenge to the team, to disrupt Samoa. We started a bit slow against Fiji. They posed a real threat with their big ball carriers and it took a while for us to get into it, but the girls adjusted really well and we were able to take control of the game towards the end of the first half. We made some changes early on and the girls off the bench made a big impact as well.”

Hong Kong will need that combination once again and Hull believes her team has what is required.

“We need to stick to our strengths, our fast approach and high tempo style. The team is working hard and enjoying the experience on tour, which is hugely important. The young girls have really slotted in well and are showcasing the development in Hong Kong Women’s Rugby at the moment.

“This is a big test now for our work ethic, challenging the squad now to play a team like Fiji, a huge team physically, and then back that up four days later against Samoa,” Hull noted.

Hong Kong Squad v Samoa: 1. LAU Nga Wun, 2. Karen SO (captain), 3. CHEUNG Shuk Han, 4. CHOW Mei-nam, 5. TSANG Ching-man, 6. PUN Wai-yan, 7. Riva BRILL, 8. CHAN Ka-yan, 9. Jessica HO, 10. Rose HOPEWELL-FONG, 11. Kelsie BOUTTLE, 12. Colleen TJOSVOLD, 13. Amy PYLE, 14. Bena YU, 15. Abigail CHAN, 16. Iris LAM, 17. Vincci LEUNG, 18. CHAN Hiu-Tung, 19. Winnie SIU, 20. WONG Kai-ying, 21. Rachel FONG, 22. LIU Yuen-ting, 23. LAU Sze Wa