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

HK Women’s Rugby 7s, Day 1 at King’s Park

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Hong Kong’s lack of a competitive match since November showed as the hosts stumbled on an action-packed first day of the HK Women’s Rugby Sevens losing against an ecstatic Argentinean side. Hong Kong must now beat Japan to move above Argentina and make it through to the Cup semi-finals.

France looked a class apart as their development team (the national side is playing on the Women’s World Series in Atlanta this weekend) notched three wins from three starts in pool A to lock in a semi-final berth, while Kazakhstan and South Africa will fight it out for the other spot. Japan, Hong Kong and Argentina can all still make the Cup semi-finals in pool B.

The home team got their tournament underway with a thumping 45-0 win over Sri Lanka, with Aggie Poon Pak-yan running in three tries and Natasha Olson-Thorne crossing in her first game as captain. Sri Lanka had no answers for a rampaging Hong Kong, who completely dominated with slick passing and fierce tackling.

Lee Tsz-ting, who was a ball girl at HK Women’s 7s 6 years ago, scored on debut when she came on in the second half against Sri Lanka.

Hong Kong’s second match was a low-scoring affair, as the hosts self-inflicted error strewn performance allowed a hard working Argentina side to dominate territory and run large chunks of time off the clock. Argentina received two yellow cards, and embarrassingly for Hong Kong scored the decisive try in their 12-5 win with only six players on the pitch.

“Unfortunately in that game we just lacked a bit of patience,” hiding her disappointment Hong Kong coach Anna Richards said. “We just let mistakes creep into our game under pressure and that does happen. We let Argentina rattle us a bit at the breakdown and there was a bit of a free fall there, but we just didn’t take our opportunities.”

Hong Kong’s last match against Thailand was a must win and it was all one-way traffic, with the local team streaking away to a 24-0 win that saw Richards comment “We tried to force the issue a little bit against Argentina and we made some good opportunities and we killed it,” Richards said.”This time we were very patient, which I thought was great.”

Debutant Lee Tsz-ting and Colleen Tjosvold were shining lights for Hong Kong – while Christine Gordon and Chong Ka-yan were amongst the try scorers.

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France took a while to get going in their opening match before eventually overcoming Kenya 22-5, before flexing their legs and overpowering China in a 39-7 thumping. They finished the day with a narrow 12-10 win over Kazakhstan, with Montserrat Amédée and Noémie Sanch amongst the tries with three each for the day.

With his side semi-final bound, coach Paul Albaladéjo praised the evenness of effort from his charges, but refused to look past their final pool match. “I’m very happy after day one,” Albaladéjo said. “Very happy for my team, everyone was very good and it was a good job. We are now focusing on game number four tomorrow against South Africa. After that, I don’t yet know the way.”

Japan looked composed and confident as comfortably won three match: belting Sri Lanka 41-0, knocking off Thailand 22-7 and finishing the day with a 50-0 drubbing of Argentina. Hong Kong will face Japan in the last pool match tomorrow at 10.00am. Japan shared the scoring load across a wide range of players, with Yukari Tateyama and Ayumi Yabuuchi just two of the players to get in on the act.

Argentina were impressive prior to their match against Japan, shrugging off Thailand (19-12), Hong Kong and Sri Lanka (30-5).Gonzalez Sofia was one of her side’s best, crossing four times throughout the day and constantly creating opportunities for her teammates.

Nadine Roos impressed in a South Africa side that won two and lost one, scoring four tries for the day. For Kazakhstan, Lyudmila Korotkikh also got amongst the points, registering four tries as her side won two of their four matches. There were mixed results for China, with a first up 10-5 win over Kazakhstan followed by losses to France (39-7) and South Africa (7-0). It was a tough day at the King’s Park for Kenya, Thailand and Sri Lanka, with each side going winless.

HK Women’s Rugby Sevens: 7-8 April, 2016

HKWR7s 2016 schedule

The 19th Hong Kong Women’s Sevens gets under way tomorrow. The two day tournament features ten teams from across the globe competing in two pools. Pool A contains France, South Africa, Kazakhstan, China and Kenya while Hong Kong are in Pool B with Asia champions Japan, Argentina, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

The top two teams after pool play compete in the Cup semi-final with the final played in the HK Stadium at 17:24, at the HK Sevens, in front of 40,000 fans.

hkwr7s trophiesHong Kong enter the tournament under the leadership of new captain Natasha Olson-Thorne after injuries sidelined long-time captain Royce Chan Leong Sze and last season’s able stand-in, Christy Cheng Ka Chi.

Olson-Thorne provides pace, power and an experienced hand after serving in the vice captain’s role in last November’s Olympic sevens qualifiers and having appeared in five Hong Kong Women’s Sevens previously.

Come join in the fun and watch some great rugby where skill and finesse matter more than the brute power of the men’s game. Thursday matches take place at King’s Park with the first kick-off at 9am. Friday’s games are at the HK Football Club, first kick-off at 9am. Entry is free on both days.

The tournament will also be live-streamed at:
http://www.hirugby.com/live

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