Rugby Week 2016

hk sevens winners 2015

It’s an Olympic year and a very late in the calendar rugby week in Hong Kong offers both men’s and women’s qualifiers a final chance for players to impress as Rugby 7s debuts at Rio 2016. Here are the dates for your diary this April for what promises to be a fantastic week of sport and fun.

The Hong Kong Beach 5s [Cancelled]
When: 2-3 April, 2016
Where: Repulse Bay Beach
How much: Free
More info: www.hkbeach5s.com

Kowloon Fest
When: 9am, 6 April, 2016
Where: Kings Park
How much: Free
More info: www.rugbyfest.org
Contact: [email protected]

Hong Kong Tens
When:
 6-7 April, 2016
Where: Hong Kong Football Club
How much: tbc
More info: www.hongkongtens.com

DSC06343

Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens
When: 7-8 April, 2016
Where: 7 April: Kings Park, 8 April: HK Football Club, Final: HK Stadium
How much: Free
More info: www.facebook.com/hkwr.sevens

Hong Kong 7s
When: 8-10 April, 2016
Where: HK Stadium
How much: $1800 (sold out)
More info: www.hksevens.com

hkwr7s2016 poster

photo: HKRU

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Active Racial Discrimination in HK Men’s Rugby

racial-hkru

In 2015 it’s disgusting that the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) have announced active racial discrimination! For many years millions of people have fought and struggled to be accepted for who they are regardless of skin colour. That in Hong Kong a multi-cultural melting pot where ability, regardless of race, has always been recognised should find one of it’s leading sporting organisations actively racially discriminating against non-ethnically Chinese rugby players is disgusting and illegal.

The recent press release from the HKRU (read the now edited entry here) states that “The modified Championship Club structure sees that league now highly focused on serving as an entry point and breeding ground for Chinese players, with all teams required to include a minimum of 14 ethnic Chinese players in each match day squad.”

UPDATE: The HKRU has deleted the above sentence from their website, and made no reference to the edit – the original can be read here, relevant sentence is at the bottom of page 1

How far stuck up their arse’s are heads of the white leaders of the Hong Kong Rugby Union? Did they not hear the furour when earlier this year the Chinese Football Association published racially insulting posters about HK’s Football Team. Did they not see HongKongers reaction to it both on social media – mass condemnation – and in real life, the booing of the Chinese National Anthem and tickets selling out so fans of all races and colours could show their support for the HK team.

How insulting is it to the HK eligible players that they’ll face selection discrimination because of their race – even though they might have been born in HK, be eligible and good enough to represent the HK National team – yet find their way blocked because they are not ethnically Chinese.

I can fully understand the desire to improve the national team, but rather than make divisions made on race, why not instead of “a minimum of 14 ethnic Chinese players in each match day squad” it’s a “a minimum of 14 HK eligible players in each match day squad”.

The Basic Law of Hong Kong specifically bans racial/ethnic discrimination. Chapter 602 The Racial Discrimination Ordinance long title starts “An Ordinance to render discrimination, harassment and vilification, on the ground of race, unlawful; … the function of eliminating such discrimination, harassment and vilification and promoting equality and harmony between people of different races…”

The ordinance further goes on to define Racial Discrimination as

1: In any circumstances relevant for the purposes of any provision of this Ordinance, a person (“the discriminator”) discriminates against another person if
(a) on the ground of the race of that other person, the discriminator treats that other person less favourably than the discriminator treats or would treat other persons; or…..

3. It is declared that, for the purposes of this Ordinance, segregating a person from other persons on the ground of the race of that person is treating that person less favourably than the other persons are treated.

Even before any match day squads are selected, the press release and decisions made by the HKRU amount to Racial Harassment under Section 7 of the ordinance.

Even China has accepted that racial discrimination is illegal, the PRC’s naturalization policy and eligibility requirements have been changed from ‘ethnically Chinese’ to this: http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/chinese_nationality/Application_for_Naturalization_as_a_Chinese_National.html

The HK Sporting Institute makes no discrimination on the race of the Rugby Union players it gives professional contracts to!

How many of these men will be denied the chance to represent Hong Kong because they are not 'ethnically Chinese"
How many of these men will be denied the chance to represent Hong Kong because they are not ‘ethnically Chinese”

A rugby 15’s match day squad is usually 23 players, to demand that 14 are ethnically Chinese is over 50%.

Here is the squad list Hong Kong v Japan, 2 May 2015:
1 WEI Hon Sum Leon; 2 Alex HARRIS; 3 Jack PARFITT; 4 Adam BUTTERFIELD; 5 Paul DWYER; 6 Matthew LAMMING; 7 Toby FENN; 8 Nicholas HEWSON; 9 LEE Ka To Cado; 10 Ben RIMENE; 11 Charlie HIGSON-SMITH; 12 Max WOODWARD; 13 Jamie HOOD; 14 Tom MCQUEEN; 15 Alex MCQUEEN; 16 John AIKMAN; 17 Lachlan CHUBB; 18 Jack NIELSEN; 19 Alex BADDELEY; 20 Damian BAILEY; 21 Adam ROLSTON; 22 Jonny REES; 23 Niall ROWARK; 24 Jack DELAFORCE (2 ethnically Chinese players)

Here is the Hong Kong squad for the recent Qingdao 7s:
Max WOODWARD (captain); Nick HEWSON; Jamie HOOD; Rowan VARTY; YIU Kam Shing; Benjamin RIMENE; Alex MCQUEEN; Cado LEE Ka To; Christopher MAIZE; Tomasi LAWA; Calvin HUNTER; Michael COVERDALE. (2 ethnically Chinese players).

Which of these non-ethnically Chinese players who are selected as good enough to represent their country will be dropped to satisfy the racial quota demands of the HKRU?

RACIAL DISCRIMINSTION IS DISGUSTING AND ILLEGAL!

Change the squad requirements to “14 players eligible to represent Hong Kong”

bc magazine has asked the HKRU, World Rugby, Asia Rugby and HSBC, the national team sponsor, for comment on this active racial discrimination.

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Rugby Union Domestic League Structure Changed to Support National Team

hkrfu-winners-2015

The Hong Kong Rugby Union has announced the schedule for the upcoming HKRU Domestic League. While similar on the surface to last season’s competition, the 2015/16 season ushers in some profound and long-term changes in the structure of local rugby.

Primary amongst these changes is the decision made jointly by the HKRU and its member clubs to ring-fence the Men’s Premiership around the six existing Premiership clubs at both Premiership and Premiership A levels for the coming three seasons.

Valley RFC, HKCC, Hong Kong Football Club, Hong Kong Scottish, Kowloon and USRC Tigers retain their Premiership spots for the coming season and will maintain this status for three years.

Dai Rees, General Manager, Rugby Performance at the HKRU, commented on the changes saying, “The objective is to ensure a stable competition that is structured around two performance leagues, Premiership and Premiership A, and supported by a development and community league structure that will ultimately contribute to the national team and high performance rugby in Hong Kong.

“These changes are a culmination of months of consultation with local clubs to secure their buy-in. As a result the final structure places significant emphasis on establishing clear playing levels, with Hong Kong’s elite level rugby ring-fenced around the clubs participating in the Premiership and Premiership A leagues,” Rees said.

The Premiership and Premiership A leagues will now mirror each other with club fixtures played at the same location each week. The new structure will allow the Premiership teams in these leagues to support each other on any given league weekend and maximize the development of their performance players.

Below Premiership A level, National League 1 will become a feeder system and development structure grooming potential high performance players who aspire to play Premiership rugby.

National League 1 will feature nine teams, headlined by Tin Shui Wai Pandas, who voluntarily relinquished their Premiership A spot to support the wider objectives of Hong Kong Rugby.

Discovery Bay Pirates, SCAA Causeway Bay, Gai Wu, University Wizards, Valley Mavericks, PLA and two Hong Kong Football Club sides round out the National League 1 competition this season.

The Championship Club league has also been revamped for 2015/16 with nine clubs: City RFC, Discipline Services XV, East Kowloon, Gai Wu Crusaders, Kowloon Barbarians, Revolution, Tai Po Dragons, Tin Shui Wai 2nd XV, and USRC Tigers Development taking part.

The modified Championship Club structure sees that league now highly focused on serving as an entry point and breeding ground for Chinese players, with all teams required to include a minimum of 14 ethnic Chinese players in each match day squad.

Following the amendments to the structure, the National and Championship Club leagues are now clearly identified as development competitions entering the season, with the aim to establish partnerships and mutually sustainable links with Premiership teams and to provide a clear and direct player pathway through to performance level rugby in Hong Kong.

National League and Championship Clubs sides will work closely with the HKRU to identify potential performance players. A new dual registration system will allow Premiership clubs to register and develop these players with nominated players allowed to play at both levels in a given season while officially remaining with their mother club.

Already there are signs of progress with U20s stand-out Eric Kwok Pak Nga, who developed his game at City RFC, now seconded to USRC Tigers in a move that has greatly hastened his development. Kwok was named the 2014/15 HKRU Development Player of the Year and is currently in the elite rugby sevens athlete programme at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, having represented Hong Kong in the Junior World Rugby Trophy and as vice captain for the men’s U20s sevens team which defended its Asian sevens title in August.

HKRU league competition rules continue to emphasise the selection and development of local talent with the Premiership rules requiring 12 of the 22 or 23 players selected (depending on the team’s front row configuration) for a league fixture to be eligible to represent Hong Kong.

The HKRU will continue to work in partnership with its member clubs to identify future strategic directions after the coming three seasons as it continues to refine and strengthen its development structures.

Complimenting the league’s move towards enhancing the stability of domestic Rugby and further preparing Hong Kong players for international competition, the HKRU will be announcing several other transformative development initiatives in the coming weeks.

Super Saturday marks 2015/16 Season Start
The Premiership will be played over 15 rounds with break for the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Qualifiers on 7-8 November at the Hong Kong Stadium and for the Cup of Nations (13-21 Nov) at Hong Kong Football Club when Hong Kong will face off with Russia, Portugal and Zimbabwe.

The 2015/16 HKRU season will kick off with a Super Saturday on 3 October, gathering all six Premiership and Premiership A teams for a triple trio of rugby excitement at King’s Park. Admission is free.

Towards the business end of the season, a quarterfinals competition will be held with the top two teams entering the quarterfinals (27 February) receiving a first round bye. The semifinals will be held on 5 March with the Grand Final on 12 March.

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Cup Final Video as Hong Kong beat China to Win the China Sevens

Watch the Cup Final as Hong Kong beat China to win the China Sevens. The Asia Rugby youtube channel has videos of all the matches at the recent tournament. The semi-final victory over Japan is if anything the more impressive match result.

A fantastic result, congratulations ladies!!!

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Hong Kong Win the Women’s Seven Series – China Sevens

Hong Kong Win the Women's Seven Series

Hong Kong Win the Women’s Seven Series 26-15 over China
It’s the first ever Cup win for the Hong Kong women in the Asia Seven Series
Absolutely brilliant rugby from Hong Kong including a hat-trick from Aggie Poon in the final

hong-kong-win

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Asia Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – China Sevens

Aggie Poon - HK rugby

Hong Kong’s women 7s team convincingly won all three of its pool games at the Asia Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – China Sevens being held in Qingdao over the weekend of the 5-6 September, 2015.

Aggie Poon scored 7 tries in the opening two games against Singapore and Sri Lanka as Hong Kong ran out convincing winners in both games.

In the final game of the day against pool top seed China, Hong Kong triumphed 19-12 in a hard fought game.

Stephanie Cuvelier picked up a brace of tries as returned to the Hong Kong team after a 2 year injury break

stephanie cuvelier

Saturday Pool Results

Hong Kong 53 – 0 Singapore
Hong Kong
Try: Aggie Pak Yan Poon (4), Stephanie Cuvelier (2), Amelie Odile Marie Seure, Ka Yan Chong, Natasha Olson-Thorne
Conversion: Aggie Poon (2), Colleen Tjosvold, Amelie Odile Marie Seure

Hong Kong 27 – 5 Sri Lanka
Hong Kong
Try: Aggie Pak Yan Poon (3), Natasha Olson-Thorne, Wai Sum Sham
Conversion: Aggie Pak Yan Poon
Sri Lanka
Try: Madduma Muthugalage Ayesha Sewwandi Perera

Hong Kong 19 – 12 China
Try: Natasha Olson-Thorne, Colleen Tjosvold, Tsz Ting Cheng
Conversion: Aggie Pak Yan Poon (2)

Images courtesy HKRFU

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Olympic Sevens Qualifying

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The Hong Kong Sevens are the best global sporting social event around, in a world before the Internet and instant global communication the HK Sevens were known across the globe even by non-rugby players like myself. For my first tickets I queued overnight in a freezing Victoria Park and stayed three months in a city I’d planned to visit for a few days. That three months, turned into a lifetime and I’m now proudly a Hongkong and this wonderful city is my home. That first Sevens an ecstatic happy memory, the 21 that have followed, some of the best days of each year even though it’s hard work.

I love the Sevens and appreciate that they’re HK Rugby Football Union’s golden goose the multi-million annual tournament that stuffs the Union’s bank account to over-flowing. The competition that even now in the era of professional rugby, players dream of attending or playing at above almost any other. That ‘other’ was once perhaps singular, the Rugby World Cup, from 2016 the ‘other’ is a duo as the Olympics embraces Rugby 7s for the first time.

It’d be tough to say which is the biggest and best known sporting tournament in the world, the Olympics or the Football World Cup. The Olympics probably just shade it. The roar at the HK Stadium when Hong Kong won the shield in 2010 for their first trophy in a decade was amazing. But Lee Lai Shan wining gold at the Olympics was monumental as was Li Ching and Ko Lai Chak’s silver in 2004. Watching Sarah Lee win a bronze medal live at the London Olympics 2012 had me screaming at the computer monitor and walking around so proud and happy of a HongKonger’s achievement on the biggest of biggest sporting stages.

The Olympics, for all their faults, are when the world focuses on sport almost exclusively for a couple of weeks. Hong Kong’s men’s and women’s rugby 7s teams, both have a chance to be among the twelve countries who qualify to compete at Rio2016. The Olympics only happen every four years so qualifying is a hard and rare opportunity, and the fame of the HKSevens has given Hong Kong home advantage for both tournaments.

Really, you didn’t know – I’m not surprised. Tickets for the November 7-8 Qualification Tournament went on sale last week. Yet there’s no mention of this on the website of the HKRFU. Nothing on it’s facebook page, not even a tweet (account suspended). There’s been no press release about tickets going onsale. No details of how many tickets are available locally to the general public (are the Union worried that having 38,000 tickets for sale will reveal how much they are screwing the public allocation at the 7s – come on the public are not stupid, they know they get screwed every March on tickets). Nothing, nada! A black hole of promotion, advertising and awareness.

It is quite frankly a disgrace, Hong Kong might not win the gold medal at Rio2016 but qualifying would be a fantastic achievement. The roar of packed HK Stadium might be the eighth man that pushes Hong Kong across the qualification try-line against our two toughest regional rivals Japan and China. So why does the HKRFU ignore this wonderful opportunity? Are they incompetent? Jealous that the Olympics will injure their annual golden goose? Or is Olympic rugby, like women’s rugby a part of the game to be suffered by the male dinosaurs who run the local game because they’re not feted and fawned upon, their ego’s stroked, as they are by all those $uper rich corporate$ desperate for access to the holy grail of sevens tickets!

Sort it out! The players and fans deserve better!

HKRFU website 18 August, 2015 - 4 days after tickets went onsale.
HKRFU website 18 August, 2015 – 4 days after tickets went onsale.
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Olympic Sevens Qualifier Tickets Onsale 14 August

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An anonymous source has informed bc that tickets for the Women’s and Men’s Olympic Rugby 7s Qualifier tournament on the 7-8 November at the HK Stadium will go onsale on the 14th August from Ticketflap (www.ticketflap.com).

That 24 hours before the tickets are scheduled to go onsale there’s been no announcement to public is another example of the Union unable to organise a piss-up in a brewery. This despite rugby’s renowned enjoyment of the personal waitress service and beverages that many Wanchai and Angeles’s breweries offer.

While tickets prices were released weeks ago, $360 (2-day pass), $200 (1-day pass), there’s been no information from the HKRFU or Asia Rugby about the number of tickets for public sale. There should though, be more than the 3000/day HK Sevens tickets that the public were allowed to maul over in March.

The women’s qualifier is an 8 team event, the first part of a two leg qualification process that culminates in Tokyo on 28-29 November 2015. Teams competing in the women’s event are China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Uzbekistan.

The men’s tournament is a 12 team event featuring with the men’s winner claiming Asia’s sole automatic slot amongst the 12 teams participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Rugby Sevens will make its much anticipated debut.

Teams competing in the men’s event are Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand and China

Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Qualifier
Date: 7-8 November, 2015
Venue: HK Stadium
Tickets: $360 (2-day pass), $200 (1-day pass), under 12 free from Ticketflap
More info: Public sale from 14 August

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