HKWR7s – Hong Kong 15-10 Belgium @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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Hong Kong’s last game of the Womens Rugby Sevens 2017, and finally a win 15-10 over Belgium who topped the group. Another tournament of untaken opportunities for the home team…
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HKWR7s – Hong Kong 7-17 Argentina @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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Hong Kong’s second game of the Womens Rugby Sevens 2017, a bad 17-7 loss to Argentina.
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HKWR7s – Hong Kong 21-24 Kenya @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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Hong Kong’s first game of the Womens Rugby Sevens 2017, a disappointing 24-21 loss to Kenya.
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Women’s Sevens @ So Kon Po – 6 April, 2017

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A boisterous crowd filled So Kon Po for day 1 of the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens. The action was fast and furious if ultimately frustrating for Hong Kong fans. There were some great tries, superb team defence, great goal kicking, moments of individual brilliance and pure stubbornness – all-in-all a day of great rugby and a fantastic showcase for the Women’s game.
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Women’s Sevens Turns Twenty

Interest in women’s rugby has surged since the Olympic games so it’s appropriate that as it turns Twenty, the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens finally gets the recognition the hard working women behind the tournament deserve and becomes a World Series Qualifier.

Why Hong Kong hasn’t been a core tournament on the Women’s World Sevens Series since the outset has been a question no one could/would answer – probably because the men running the HKRU, one of the richest rugby unions in the world, couldn’t see past their massive cash and status generating behemoth of a men’s tournament to even acknowledge that women’s rugby existed and should be funded…

And while this weekend is about Sevens, it needs to be repeated and shouted from our thousands of skyscrapers that the Hong Kong women’s rugby team are going to the World Cup in Ireland later this year. The first and only Hong Kong team ever qualify for a World Cup!!! It’s a massive achievement, and many of the players will be playing in the Women’s Sevens over the next two days at So Kon Po. So take the time, to attend and watch and give them your support. They are modern day heroines!

Twelve teams from the six World Rugby regions will take part in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier at So Kon Po down the road from the Hong Kong Stadium with winner promoted to the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in 2017/18.

The participating teams are South Africa and Kenya (Africa), Jamaica (Americas North), Argentina and Colombia (Americas South), Belgium, Italy and The Netherlands (Europe), Papua New Guinea (Oceania) Japan, China and hosts Hong Kong (Asia).

Three of the participants played in the Rio 2016 Olympics: Kenya, Colombia and Japan Belgium, Colombia, Italy and Jamaica are on debut in Hong Kong, bringing the total number of nations to have participated at the HKWR7s to 41 over the past two decades.

Hong Kong coach Anna Richards is excited at the prospect of playing in the Qualifier. “The quality of the teams is great and the opportunity to contest the qualifier at home is all that you could ask for as a coach. It’s added pressure, of course, but also added excitement.”

“Hong Kong is iconic for Sevens, so hosting the women’s qualifier here is great for the development of the game. The more Women’s events that can be played alongside the men’s tournaments the better,” Richards added.

For the first time, and hopefully not the last, the Cup Semi-finals will be played at HK Stadium. Hong Kong has made the semi-finals for the last two years but fell at the final hurdle and missed out on playing in-front of 40,000 home town fans.

Richards has ensured that the squad have had a more active build-up this year with the squad training with the New Zealand Development squad. “New Zealand was really good for us. We wanted to play against some bigger and more physical opposition. And we footed it really well. They had a lot of quality players in the team in New Zealand, including four contracted players and one Olympian, so it was a really good build-up.”

“We were right in there in those matches and I think the girls gained a lot of confidence. If we can play like that, then I would give us a good chance to make a Semi Final,” Richards said. “To advance we will need to finish in the top two in our pool, but we have had a good build-up and the girls are very focused and enter the tournament with a lot of confidence.”

Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens
When: 6-7 April, 2017
Where: So Kon Po, Semi-final and Final-HK Stadium
How much: Free
More info: www.facebook.com/hkwr.sevens

Additional reporting: HK Rugby

Rugby Week 2017

After the individual creativity of Art Week, the wonders of team creativity are on display as Rugby Week 2017 gets into full swing. The Women’s 7s gets long overdue recognition as it celebrates twenty years and the Sevens turn 42, remember to bring your towel.

The week starts, after a year’s absence, appropriately on 1 April with the Beach 5s in Repulse Bay which also features netball, football 5s and dodgeball. A relaxing and social way to spend a weekend on the beach.

Then it’s over to King’s Park on Wednesday for KowloonFest where the old and venerable rumble around the pitch and have a lot of fun as their brain sees them sprinting or crashing through the opposition line to score a fantastic try only to find their legs unable to keep up…

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While the 7s is all speed and patterns, perhaps the best rugby of the week is at the Hong Kong Tens. With proper scrums and brutal power forward play the Tens features, especially on Thursday night, perhaps the closest we in Hong Kong can get to seeing modern rugby up close and personal. Select teams packed with talent, new and old, from around the world put a physicality and rawness to images seen on television that really has to be experienced in person.

The wonderful HK Women’s Seven celebrates it’s Twentieth Anniversary with recognition by World Rugby and the HK Rugby Union as it becomes a qualifier for the Women’s World Series. If you can’t get a ticket to the Sevens then head to So Kon Po and see the Olympic sport live. Many of the Hong Kong squad will later in the year represent Hong Kong at the Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

The Sevens, amidst the partying a rugby tournament takes place. The quality of the other World Series tournaments has stumbled this year. Will the teams raise their game, or has HK just become another stop on the global money making merry-go-round?

Here are the dates for your diary for what promises to be a fantastic week of sport and fun.

The Hong Kong Beach 5s
When: 1-2 April, 2017
Where: Repulse Bay Beach
How much: Free
More info: www.facebook.com/beach5s

Kowloon Fest
When: 5 April, 2017
Where: Kings Park
How much: Free
More info: www.rugbyfest.org

Hong Kong Tens
When: 5-6 April, 2017
Where: Hong Kong Football Club
How much: $100 from Ticketflap
More info: www.hongkongtens.com

Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens
When: 6-7 April, 2017
Where: So Kon Po, Semi-final and Final-HK Stadium
How much: Free
More info: www.facebook.com/hkwr.sevens

Hong Kong 7s
When: 7-9 April, 2017
Where: HK Stadium
How much: $1800 (sold out)
More info: www.hksevens.com

Valley Black Win Grand Final!

Valley Black made it three Grand Championship wins on the trot in the Women’s Premiership defeating Gai Wu Falcons 15-7 in a competitive and defence dominated final at King’s Park.

A match featuring the teams that have won the last seven grand championships between them was always going to be willing, but it was Valley who again showed their might.

The victory extended Valley’s undefeated streak to three full seasons and an unbelievable 42 matches as well as handing them their sixth of the past eight grand championships.

“They’re an awesome bunch,” enthused coach James Elliott. “All of them impressed me, but the usual suspects were good – Olivia Coady is a machine, Toto [Cheng], Frenchie [Amelie Seure], our back three were immense. And the backline is class. Obviously Bella [Milo] stands out. To me she is the most talented female rugby player I have seen.”

The heightened pressure of a final was evident early on, with both sides doing their best to settle as the forward packs felt out their opposite numbers. Valley looked livelier to begin with and found the try-line through dynamic back-rower Coady, with fullback Zoe Smith conversion on target the league champions jumped out to an early 7-0 lead.

Despite the early score, it soon became clear that tries were going to be hard to come by as the respective defences marked their territory. Gai Wu’s effort could not be faulted but they struggled to create genuine scoring opportunities, with Valley having all the answers every time their opponents looked to launch an attacking move. Valley pulled further ahead as half-time loomed, with Smith on target with a penalty, 10-0.

The second half was a battle of attrition, with Gai Wu putting it all on the line in an attempt to revive their hopes. The Falcons did the bulk of the attacking in the third quarter, with the period highlighted by some lively work from Chong Ka-yan on the wing.

Valley launched the odd counter, however neither team could trouble the scorers. The slog continued into the last 20 minutes of the match, with Valley wresting back the momentum and driving the Falcons back into their half.

Colleen Tsojvold and Adrienne Garvey battled hard as Valley threatened to cross again and eventually their sustained forward push returned results. Ex-Samoa captain Milo was the beneficiary, with the powerful centre cracking the Falcons line and dotting down to put the result beyond doubt.

“The last five minutes was a bit scrappy, but we had to bring off Karen [So] at prop because of cramp, she’s a Hong Kong front rower so if you bring someone like that off your scrum goes downhill,” Elliot said. “All our players got on the field and we had three 17-year-olds in the squad, so it was a good result.”

Gai Wu were rewarded for their relentless effort in the final minute with a penalty try, ensuring they did not go scoreless. “I’m disappointed with the result but I feel really proud of the girls,” Falcons coach Lai Yiu-pang said. “To play a side with a former Black Fern [Coady] and a former Samoa player [Milo], the girls have never experienced that kind of quality in Hong Kong before.

“We did really well in the second half and our performance showed that we’ve improved a lot. I don’t think any one player stood out, it was a team effort and we deserved to get some points at the end.”

Additional reporting, photos: HK Rugby

WNL 2: Grand Championships Winners SCAA CWB Lammergeier

SCAA CWB Lammergeier are the 2016-17 Women’s National League 2: Grand Championships Winners after beating Tai Po in the final.