13th May 2024

The Hong Kong China Rugby Sevens teams have departed for their final leg destinations of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger, with the final round splitting the women (Krakow, Poland) and the men (Munch, Germany) from 18-19 May 2024.

Both sides will be hoping to ride the momentum from the successful Sevens Challenger second leg in Montevideo and the more recent Melrose Claymores Competition at the Hong Kong Sevens into the final round.

It’s a high-stakes tournament for all 24 teams involved, but particularly for those still in with a chance of finishing within the top four of the standings, as they will head to Madrid for the final leg of the HSBC SVNS Series and take on the bottom four-placed teams in a new relegation promotion-style playoff tournament from 31 May - 2 June 2024.

On the men’s side, the bottom four teams from the SVNS (who have already been drawn into pools and are awaiting the confirmation of which teams will join them in Spain), are the USA and Canada, as well as Spain and Samoa. For the women, the teams fighting for SVNS survival are Japan and Spain, as well as South Africa and Brazil.

By the end of play on 19 May in Krakow and Munich, we will know which teams will be facing them from the Challenger Sevens Series.


James Christie

Hong Kong China Men’s Sevens – All To Play For In Munich

Our men’s team are in with a real chance to finish in the top four. They currently are tied fourth in the Men’s Sevens Challenger with the final round’s hosts Germany (both on 26 points), and chasing Chile (32 points) and Kenya and Uruguay (both on 36 points).

The men’s side is pooled with Uganda, Tonga, and Mexico in Pool B in Munich – a group they realistically can reach the quarterfinals from, but this is a tough Series and everyone is capable of beating each other. Without pulling out the calculators pre-tournament, they know a finish above those ahead of them on the log will secure their place in Madrid and a chance at making the HSBC SVNS Series next season.

Paul John, Head Coach of Hong Kong China 7s, said of the permutations, “In order to control our own destiny, we have to get to the knockout stages. And obviously playing Germany and winning would be a good way of ensuring that – but relying on other people is obviously more difficult.”

The selected Men’s squad for Munich is identical to the one that finished runner-up in Montevideo in the second leg – and competition for a place in the HKCR squad is fierce and healthy. Seb Brien captains the team which is full of experience, pace and power with Max Denmark back in the mix after being rested for the home Melrose Claymores Competition matches. 

Paul John said, “Those boys have trained well as a group and people are pushing without a shadow of a doubt. They are pushing especially after the performances in the Hong Kong Sevens. There are always going to be disappointments at the moment because it is so so so competitive.” 

He added that playing at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong 7s will have been a great experience for all involved and in handling pressure which sets them up well for the tournament in Munich. 

“It was a phenomenal experience for the teams playing in front of a really supportive crowd. You could see they enjoyed it, playing in a brilliant stadium under a pressure situation with a crowd behind them. The nature of Sevens is so testing, and in a lot of ways you are put in those situations and the pressure to see how they react, it just adds to the learning really.”

If Hong Kong China men qualify for Madrid, with promotion into the elite World SVNS Series at stake, the squad will stay in Germany to prepare for the tournament. 

Men’s Team Management

1. Martin KIBBLE (Team Manager)

2. Jevon GROVES (Head Coach)

3. Peter JERICEVICH (Coach)

4. Timothy GLAZEBROOK (Physiotherapist)

5. WONG Tsz Kit (S&C Coach)

6. Mark KOMAR (Analyst)

Men’s Players

Player (Club)

2. Hugo STILES (Valley)

3. Alessandro NARDONI (HK Scottish)


6. Liam DOHERTY (HK Scottish)

7. Harry SAYERS (Valley)


9. Bryn PHILLIPS (Kowloon)

11. Sebastian BRIEN © (HKU Sandy Bay)

17. FONG Kit Fung (Kowloon)

20. James CHRISTIE (HK Scottish)

27. LEE Ka To Cado (USRC Tigers)

54. Liam HERBERT (USRC Tigers)


Nam Ka Man

Hong Kong China Women’s Sevens – Chance To Build Depth In Poland

As Acting General Manager of Rugby Performance Andrew Douglas said, “Calls were made to be careful about the selection process – as we need to take some experienced players to Poland but it's admittedly a younger squad. Coaches obviously want the best teams to play, and coaches are all competitive but they have been great at planning for this situation.”

The balancing act for the women's selection comes about due to the proximity of the Krakow Challenger leg to the start of the XVs Asia Rugby Women’s Championship 2024 which Hong Kong China is hosting – the opening game takes place against Japan just three days later on May 22, 2024. This year the ARWC is a qualifier for the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 and the top two sides still qualify for the WXV tournament which was introduced last year.

Douglas added, “We're trying to attract more women into the game of rugby. We do need to build more depth in the Sevens and Fifteens at the national level, so these Series where we can actually build some results is really important and for the long-term future.”

Both Women’s Sevens Head Coach Andy Vilk and Douglas know that it is a hard balancing act but it's a great opportunity to attract more people to rugby and build depth which is also in line with the new 10-year strategic plan targeting women’s Olympic qualification in 2032 for women.

Several of the regular women’s Sevens core members are with the HKCR XV training group who head to Japan for a pre-ARWC camp in Japan before taking on Japan and Kazakhstan in the ARWC in May 2024 at home in Hong Kong.

With regards to Poland, the women currently sit in 8th place on the Challenger log and are drawn with familiar rivals China and Thailand as well as Czechia in Pool A in Krakow, which sets up some intriguing matches against familiar rivals whom they will face again later this year in the Asia Rugby Sevens Series.

This has opened up the door to debut a number of promising players. “The coaches and team have done a great job in conducting talent ID in the training sessions to try and identify more ladies capable of playing “ added Paul John – who will be with the women in Poland in the capacity of Team Manager.

“We want to expand our playing pool for obvious reasons and I think we have navigated this upcoming period really well. The girls know where they stand now and they'd be coming back from Poland and will be available for that Kazakhstan XV game if they make the ARWC squad.”

As a result, there are a few new names in the Sevens Challenger squad but Paul John added that they are there on merit and have shown great commitment to come in to train, and all are excited to be selected.

Sevens debutants include the youngster Haruka Uematsu, Jamie Bourk, Winnie Siu Wing (who has been capped in the XV national squad), and Hoi Ning Chian, while experience comes from players such as Abigail Chan, Stephanie Chan, Maggie Au Yeung Sin-yi, with Jessica Ho captaining the team.

Paul John concluded by saying, “These girls have nothing to lose, they can enjoy themselves and just go and express themselves and play, so we are looking forward to it as it will be a great experience playing teams from outside of Asia too.

The women are due to have a practice match against Belgium in the lead-up to the tournament in Krakow. 

Women’s Team Management

1. Paul JOHN (Team Manager)

2. Andrew VILK (Head Coach)

3. Callum CHIA (Physiotherapist)

4. CHONG Shing Hin (S&C Coach)

Women’s Players

Player (Club)

3. AU YEUNG Sin Yi (USRC Tigers)

5. NAM Ka Man (USRC Tigers)

9. HO Jessica Wai On © (USRC Tigers)

12. CHAN Abigail (Gai Wu)

15. CHAN Stephanie Chor Ki (Gai Wu)

17. HO Tsz Wun (USRC Tigers)

22. WONG Sze Ying (Gai Wu)

24. HUI Man Ling (HK Scottish/Gai Wu)

25. BOURK Jamie (HKFC)

26. CHIAN Hoi Ning (HK Scottish)

27. SIU Wing Ni Winnie (USRC Tigers)

28. Amy Pyle (USRC Tigers/Blagnac Rugby)

TR. UEMATSU Haruka (Valley)


How To Watch The Sevens Challenger Series

RugbyPassTV will be streaming both women’s and men’s tournaments. The pools and results can be seenhere.


This article was posted in collaboration with our good friends at RugbyAsia247 – check them out for all the latest Asia Rugby news!