12 10月 2015

The Hong Kong Men’s Sevens team advanced to their first cup final of the 2015 Asia Rugby Sevens Series in Colombo, Sri Lanka (11 Oct). Hong Kong will play Japan in the final, in what could well be a preview of the final of the Asian Zone Olympic qualifiers in Hong Kong on 7-8 November.

The Hong Kong Women’s Sevens team beat Kazakhstan in the cup quarter final 14-7 to advance to the cup semi final where they lost to Japan 17-0.Hong Kong will play Thailand in the 3rd/4th place play-off.

After two convincing wins over China in the pool stage, the Hong Kong men’s seven played their way into a comfortable quarter final bracket with Chinese Taipei. Hong Kong were too much for their opponents, and after conceding another early try, which has been an issue for the team thus far in the tournament, came back to score four first half tries to take a 26-5 lead at the break.

The forwards opened the action with captain Max Woodward and prop Nick Hewson both showing good speed and conditioning to finish off long tries. The backs then took over with Keith Robertson continuing his solid debut after a lengthy return from injury.

Robertson and flyhalf Jamie Hood linked well in the backfield, with both eventually crossing over for tries in the opening half. Hong Kong kept Chinese Taipei from threatening in the second half but could only manage one additional try, this one coming late in the match to Calvin Hunter as Hong Kong advanced 33-5.

In the other brackets, Sri Lanka may have helped Hong Kong’s hopes of making a late surge up the leaderboard after they beat South Koera, ranked second entering the tournament, in their quarter final 19-12.

Japan beat China 31-5 in the last quarter final but nearly fell in a trap match against the hosts Sri Lanka in the semis, winning 26-19 to reach the final.

Hong Kong kept its foot on the gas against Malaysia scoring 26 points in the first half while holding Malaysia scoreless. A brace of tries from Salom Yiu Kam Shing in the second put the Malaysians away for good but Hong Kong conceded a try in the dying seconds to Malaysia to finish with a 38-7 win.

Hong Kong look in good form ahead of the final with the return of Keith Robertson from a lengthy period of injury adding a cutting edge in the backline that has helped break down the defences this tournament. Robertson scored the first try versus Malaysia to open up the rout before being rested to avoid re-injuring a problematic calf.

The Japan v Hong Kong final will be the first for the two competitors on this year’s Series after the two were nearly ever-present in the showcase game for ht elast two seasons.The two have played only once so far on the series, with Japan edging Hong Kong into third place on the last outing in Thailand, winning 24-19 in extra time.

The final will kick off at 21.45 Hong Kong time with a full match report provided on Monday. The final will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkHKmlyAZWR_7Ng9jA-7ThQ?spfreload=10.

The Hong Kong Women’s Sevens team advanced to the cup semi finals versus Japan after a composed win over Kazakhstan. In the semis, Japan got the better of Hong Kong for the second time this tournament running out as 17-0 winners to send Hong Kong to the third-fourth place playoff against Thailand.

Two losses yesterday threw Hong Kong into the deep end of the competition come the quarter-final stage with the knock-out match against perennial contender Kazakhstan. Hong Kong trailed 7-0 in the first half but weathered the physical approach of the Kazakh Seven well.

In the second half, Hong Kong maintained their composure, exerting steady pressure that forced Kazakhstan onto the back foot and saw them concede numerous professional fouls. Kazakhstan would have two players sent off on either side of halftime to give Hong Kong numerical advantage.

Hong Kong made the Kazakhs pay for their indiscipline with tries from veterans Candy Cheng and Aggie Poon. Poon’s try came in the 14th minute to seal the win before extra-time, 14-7 after Poon converted both of Hong Kong’s scores.

But the effort in the quarter final left Hong Kong at a disadvantage over a fresher Japan Seven who had romped home against Singapore 38-0 to advance from their side of the quarters.

The semi final was an excellent display of the standard of women’s sevens in the region with the two sides battling it out in a tense opening half. The end-to-end action and superb pace and fitness of both sides almost nullified each other, but Japan crossed over in the 4th minute to take a 7-0 lead.

After the break, Hong Kong dominated for early stretches in the half, making repeated forays across the Japanese 22-metre line. It took a magnificent defensive display from Japan to turn the tide and eventually they caught a break with a deep kick and chase putting Hong Kong’s Colleen Tjosvold under pressure.

Japan turned over the ball from Tjosvold and took he quick tap and run penalty while Hong Kong struggled to get behind the line of attack. Japan gave them no respite, quickly using their superior numbers out wide to cross over the try line untouched. The conversion was missed leaving Hong Kong trailing by 12 points with less than a minute remaining.

Hong Kong collected the re-start well but a poor decision in the midfield saw the ball booted upfield into space. Hong Kong’s chase wasn’t good enough and Japan secured the possession again before marching back upfield. Japan closed the match in style, using the entire width of the pitch to keep Hong Kong off balance before scoring their third and final try of the match.

Hong Kong will play Thailand in the 3rd/4th place play-off at 7.30. Last year’s top two ranked sides China and Japan respectively will face off in the final at 9.10pm.

A full tournament report will be provided tomorrow.

Hong Kong Men’s Sevens Squad (Sri Lanka): Max WOODWARD (captain); Christopher MAIZE; LEE Ka To, Cado; Michael COVERDALE; Nicholas HEWSON; Calvin HUNTER; Keith ROBERTSON*; Alex MCQUEEN; Jamie HOOD; Rowan VARTY; YIU Kam Shing, Salom; Jack CAPON*.

Hong Kong Women’s Sevens Squad (Sri Lanka):CHENG Ka Chi, Christy (captain); Natasha OLSON-THORNE (vice captain); NAM Ka Man; Candy CHENG Tsz Ting; Aggie POON Pak Yan; SHAM Wai Sum; Colleen TJOSVOLD; Stephanie CUVELIER; KWONG Sau Yan; Lindsay VARTY*; Adrienne GARVEY*; LEE Tsz Ting*.

*2015 Asia Rugby Sevens Series debut