Umbrella Movement Images: Mong Kok – 19 October, 2014

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Hong Kong Men sweep ARFU Asian Sevens Series, Japan Women win Beijing but China Women claim Asian crown in 2014

HKG-Men's-7-win-ARFU-A7s-web

Hong Kong was crowned Asian sevens champions after they won the third and final leg of the Asian Rugby Football Union’s Asian Sevens Series in Beijing defeating South Korea 36-19 in the Cup final on Sunday.

Two tries each from veterans Rowan Varty and Nick Hewson, plus tries from Lee Jones and skipper Jamie Hood, paved the way for what in the end was a comfortable match made easier in the second-half when Korea was down to six men after a sin-bin. The victory extended Hong Kong’s domination of the series, winning all three legs, to finish unbeaten this season and allowing Hood and his team to wrest the title away from Japan. Hong Kong also won the series in 2012.

“We have continued the momentum that we started at the beginning of the Series in Hong Kong and we have come away with three tournament wins and we are very happy with that,” said pleased Hong Kong head coach Gareth Baber. “The goal that we set ourselves was to be number one in Asia and progress as a squad and force our way into contention to play in as many competitive tournaments as we can. The Asian Sevens Series was one of those goals and it was certainly one of our goals to be at the top of that tree when the final came around,” Baber added.

Hong Kong and South Korea, who finished second in the overall standings, will also qualify for the 2015 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens which will host an IRB Sevens World Series qualifying tournament to decide the core team to be promoted next season. Japan defeated Sri Lanka 24-19 to finish third in the Beijing event. Japan had earlier lost to South Korea in the semi-finals. Korean captain Lee Yong-seung scored the match-winning try after the hooter had sounded to give his young team a fantastic 24-21 victory. The third place finish sees Japan finish in third on the Asian Series behind Hong Kong and South Korea.

Korea fielding a side mostly drawn from the universities trailed Japan 14-7 at halftime, and then 21-14, before two late tries saw them enter their second Cup final in the three-legged series this season. Lee was superb as he dotted down from a last-gasp move to give the Koreans their second win over Japan in the series, having beaten them in the semi-finals in the first leg in Hong Kong too. Japan had looked a shadow of the team that won the gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon.

The Asian juggernaut had made wholesale changes ahead of Beijing, bringing in 11 players, and the failure to gel proved costly for coach Tomohiro Segawa’s side. Japan only just squeezed past Kazakhstan, 14-12, in the quarterfinals continuing their stuttering run from the first day when they had two narrow shaves beating the Philippines, 21-19, and China, 26-14, in pool play. But Korea didn’t let Lote Tuqiri’s team get off the hook pulling off a tense win.

Hong Kong had earlier beaten Sri Lanka in the other semi-final 26-0, after having demolished Thailand 55-0 in the quarterfinals. A hat-trick from barnstorming forward Max Woodward was enough to take care of Sri Lanka who never really looked like they could match Hong Kong in the contact areas.

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In the women’s competition, Japan defeated China 24-19 to win their first tournament this season. Japan had also defeated China in the preliminary round and the second loss could be a sign of a slight shift in power in the women’s game.

“We are very happy. This season has been very difficult for us and we had many difficult situations this season but we were hungry to win this tournament,’ said Japan coach Akane Kagawa. “Our players are not very big physically compared to the other teams but as a team we have a great team spirit and a great team ethic and our strength this weekend has been playing rugby as a team and this was our best rugby so far this year,” Kagawa added

China, who qualified as a core team on the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in September, had their work cut out beating Kazakhstan in the semi-finals. It took a try from the last play of the match to allow China to eke out a 17-14 victory after having led 10-0 at halftime. Japan booked their berth in the final with a 17-0 victory over Hong Kong. Japan’s superior defence laid the foundation for victory as they put pressure on Hong Kong, who although enjoying loads of possession in the match, could find no way through.

Hong Kong had a consolation 14-12 win over Kazakhstan in the third place play-off. “It was a fantastic game, we started really well and then we let them back in from our mistakes, but the girls realized what they were doing and I thought they played exceptionally well this weekend. They really put it out there and gave it their all the whole weekend and I couldn’t be happier with our final result,” said Hong Kong coach Anna Richards.

Despite being pipped in their home cup final, China’s earlier win in Hong Kong and its runners-up position in Beijing were enough to see them crowned Asian sevens champions in 2014. Japan finished level with Hong Kong on the series table but edged them into second based on a superior points difference in matches between the two sides throughout the series.

Kazakhstan men topped off a superb performance from a young side to claim the Plate in Beijing, beating the Philippines 26-10, while the hosts China rebounded from a disappointing day one beating Singapore 31-7 to claim the Bowl. The Thailand women’s seven won the Plate in Beijing, beating Sri Lanka 25-5 in the final.

Hong Kong’s Tom McQueen and Jamie Hood finish at the top of the men’s scoring table after the three Series events. Hood finished with 113 points from 39 conversions and seven tries. Tom McQueen scored 19 tries over three tournaments to finish as second highest scorer on the Series with 95 points. Korea flyhalf Oh Youn Hyung finished in third on the scoring table with 76 points from four tries and 28 conversions.

For full results from the 2014 Beijing Sevens please visit: http://www.asian5nations.com/node/970

For final standings from the 2014 ARFU Asian Sevens Series please visit: http://www.asian5nations.com/a7s-series-table

For more information on the Asian Sevens Series please visit: http://www.asian5nations.com/asian-7-series

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Police Beating Protestors with Shields and Batons – 18 October, 2014

If you just want the beating, skip forward to the 2:45.

As the video is shot from behind the protestors there’s little context to what’s going on around, but it appears the police just charge the protestors and assault the protestors with batons and shields with no provocation. The camera person certainly does nothing aggressive or threatening yet is smashed in the face with a shield and hit with a baton

The video was not taken by me, but was sent to me. It was shot on the 18 October, 2014 at 23:38 in Mong Kok

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Hong Kong men and Japan women impress on Day One of ARFU Asian Sevens Series in Beijing

Hong Kong is within touching distance of winning back the Asian Sevens crown after they swept into the Cup quarterfinals at the last leg of the Asian Rugby Football Union’s Asian Sevens Series in Beijing on Saturday.

Easy wins over Chinese-Taipei, 38-7, and Singapore, 33-0, saw Hong Kong coast into the knockout stage on Sunday leaving head coach Gareth Baber a happy man. “It is important to create a bit of momentum going into the knockout out phase and the two wins did just that. Our first goal has been accomplished and it was pleasing that all our 12 players started a game today,” Baber said. Rowan Varty

Winners of the first two legs, Hong Kong need to finish third to secure the Asian crown, which they last wore in 2012. But Jamie Hood and his men will want to go all the way and do it in style by completing a hat-trick of titles.

While Hong Kong looked good, arch-rivals Japan had to pull out all the stops to get past the Philippines and China in the preliminary pool play. Japan narrowly defeated Philippines 21-19 and then saw off a determined challenge from China winning 26-14.

Japan with 11 changes to the squad that won the gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon earlier this month couldn’t quite find their rhythm as they struggled to gel together. Although the side included sevens veteran Lote Tuqiri and four other players who took part in the first leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Australia – Japan are now a core team – they were pushed all the way by their feisty pool opponents. “It was tough today but I am very happy with the results. We have had no practise time together with this group and three or four of our players were playing their first sevens game, so I am pleased,” said Japan coach Tomohiro Segawa.

South Korea had a far easier time, routing the United Arab Emirates 50-7 before knocking out Thailand 31-7 to top their pool. “I’m very happy with our two games as we had a number of new players for this tournament. I think they played well and we look forward to tomorrow,” said Korean coach Chung Hyung-suk.

Sri Lanka, the other seeded team, also emerged unbeaten after the opening day with wins over Kazakhstan, 31-12, and Malaysia, 26-10. Malaysia, who arrived only a few hours before the action began, looked leaden-footed and seemed to feel the effects of their journey.

Sri Lanka’s new sevens coach Glen Christini said: “The boys have done well with the most important thing being getting those two wins and getting into the quarterfinals. But it wasn’t perfect by any stretch. We set ourselves a few defensive goals more than anything, that was the big gain that we wanted to make today, and we definitely have a bit more work to do there.”

The quarterfinal lineup will see Hong Kong taking on Thailand while Sri Lanka meets the Philippines. In the other half of the draw, Japan come up against Kazakhstan while South Korea meets Chinese-Taipei.

In the women’s competition, favourites China will take on Kazakhstan in one semi-final while Japan meets Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was on the losing end to Kazakhstan again, going down 19-12 in the match to decide which team would top the pool. Hong Kong had earlier defeated Singapore 24-0 and Sri Lanka 24-7.

“Kazakhstan are proving to be a bit of our bogey team. We are much closer to them than we were a year ago but small errors at crucial times are costing us,” said Hong Kong coach Anna Richards.

China went down narrowly, 12-7, to Japan in the crunch match in their pool to finish second. Japan topped the pool and will meet the second-placed finisher in the other pool, Hong Kong.

For full results from day one of the ARFU Asian Sevens Series in Beijing and tomorrow’s schedule please visit: http://www.asian5nations.com/node/970

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Men’s and Women’s Asian Sevens crowns on the line at finale ARFU Asian Sevens Series in Beijing

The top men’s and women’s sevens sides in Asia will contest the Asian sevens titles this weekend at the Chaoyang Stadium in Beijing, China (Oct 18-19). It is the first hosting of an ARFU elite fifteen-aside or seven-aside competition in Beijing since the start of the Asian 5 Nations in 2008.

Hong Kong tops the table in the 12-team men’s competition while China is pacing the competition in the women’s series. This weekends’ competition will determine the final rankings for the Asian Series in 2014.Hong-Kong-aim-at-perfect-record-in-the-ARFU-Asian-Sevens-Series-2014

For the men, the final standings after Beijing will determine the two teams granted places at the 2015 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. That tournament will again host the international qualifier for a core team spot on the 2015/16 HSBC Sevens World Series and the right to participate in every HSBC Sevens World Series event next year.

The top two teams, excluding Japan, which is already a core team on the world series after winning the qualifier in Hong Kong last year, will be granted direct entry to the 12-team qualifier next March in Hong Kong as Asia’s two representatives. They will be joined by ten teams from other regional qualifiers worldwide in March at the Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong is on 24 points on the Series table after sweeping the opening two events on the series. Japan and South Korea are tied-second on 21 points after both reached a single cup final so far this year. Sri Lanka and China are fourth and fifth respectively on 18 and 16 points.

China are the front-runners in the eight-team women’s competition on eight points after the single event played to date in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, who reached their first ever ARFU Women’s Asian Sevens Series final earlier this year, are in second on seven points followed by Japan on six and Kazakhstan on five points.

Hong Kong arrives in Beijing in a commanding position after winning the first two tournaments. While Hong Kong has enjoyed the run of the results on the Series, Japan claimed the most recent sevens scalp contested, winning gold at the 17th Asian Games in South Korea earlier this month. Japan edged Hong Kong in the final in Incheon while the hosts Korea beat Sri Lanka to claim bronze.

Hong Kong top Pool A in Beijing alongside Singapore and Chinese Taipei, while Japan head Pool D over China and the Philippines. South Korea is atop Pool C with Thailand and United Arab Emirates. Fourth seeds Sri Lanka are at the top of Pool B with Malaysia and Kazakhstan.

A bronze medal for Hong Kong in Beijing (3rd place overall) will be enough to guarantee a Series win outright, but the team is looking for more from the finale, especially after missing out on gold at the Asian Games.

“Finishing as number one is massively important for us,” said Hong Kong captain Jamie Hood. “It was one of our goals for the season to finish number one in Asia and set ourselves up for all the work that needs to be done to perform well in the Hong Kong Sevens and the Olympic qualifiers in 2015. To send that message out to the other teams in Asia with a 3-0 series victory would be awesome.”

For Hong Kong coach Gareth Baber the team has put the disappointment of the Asian Games behind them. “Obviously their was a lot of emotion involved in our Games performance, but now we are back and it is about taking that out of the equation and looking at that experience objectively to see how it informs us going into the final tournament. The focus is on what we need to do in the final leg of the Series and what we need to do to get back to the semi finals and finals in Beijing.”

Hong Kong have retained a settled squad from Incheon, making just two replacements as veteran forwards Nick Hewson and Lee Jones return to the line-up to replace Mark Wright and Kwok Ka Chun.

Japan and South Korea have rung in the changes for the finale, making significant alterations to their teams who have participated previously on the Series.

Japan have made 11 changes with sevens veteran Lote Tuquiri one of the notable additions in the side as he returns from injury. Japan have selected four of the players who played at the opening event of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Gold Coast last weekend, but captain Katsuyuki Sakai and try-scoring threat Lomano Lemeki have both been left at home for the Asian finale.

With the upcoming National Games starting next week, South Korea have made 10 changes for Beijing from their squad at the Asian Games with Lee Yong-seung, who captains the squad this weekend, and Jeong Yeon-sik the only holdovers from the bronze-medal winning side earlier this month. The majority of the squad selected for Beijing is composed of young university and Army players and the two squad veterans in Lee and Jeong are also the youngest members of the core sevens squad.

In the women’s competition, Team China looks in imperious form after winning the opening leg of the Series and claiming the gold medal at the Asian Games after defeating Japan in the final. In September, China also booked a spot as a core team on this season’s IRB Women’s Sevens World Series after finishing third overall in the international qualifier held in Hong Kong.

China have made no changes to their team for their home tournament, while Asian Games silver medallists Japan have two additions to the squad from Incheon with Mio Yamanaka and Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave coming into the side as they attempt to pip China for the Asian title this weekend.

In the women’s competition, China is pooled alongside Japan, Thailand and the Philippines while Hong Kong is grouped with Kazakhstan, Singapore and Sri Lanka in Beijing.

The pool stages will offer Hong Kong a shot at revenge after they were edged out of the Bronze medal match in Incheon by Kazakhstan after losing the play-off 12-0. Hong Kong had beat Kazakhstan on day one of the tournament 12-7 but couldn’t replicate the feat against the physical Kazakhstan team.

“We were disappointed after the Asian Games but our confidence wasn’t dented. At the end of the day we were pleased with our performance and now we are working on finishing out those close game scenarios,” said Hong Kong captain Royce Chan Leong Sze. “Physically, Kazakhstan are very strong and we are excited to play them again. Both teams are very even in terms of skill level and competitiveness. But we know that we need to finish these type of games more consistently.”

HONG KONG: Jamie HOOD (captain), Salom YIU Kam Shing, LEE Ka To, Nick HEWSON, Lee JONES, Rowan VARTY, Alex MCQUEEN, Tom MCQUEEN, Jack CAPON, Max WOODWARD, Michael COVERDALE, Keith ROBERTSON

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