Hong Kong has won the Goa Sevens, beating China
43-0 in Sunday’s Cup final.
Despite blooding six new caps in Goa
and fielding another sevens side in a tournament in Australia this
weekend, Hong Kong was the form team of the HSBC Asian Sevens
Series’ Goa Sevens with an undefeated run in which they scored 203
points while conceding just 26.
Hong Kong started Sunday’s competition with a
comprehensive 47-0 victory over the UAE’s Arabic development side
UAE Shaheen in the quarter-finals. They then survived a scare
against a physical Kazakhstan VII in the first Cup quarter-final.
After trailing 14-12 at half, Hong Kong took scored twice in the
second stanza to outlast Kazakhstan 24-14 and book its spot in the
final against familiar foe China.
In the final, Hong Kong were relentless,
shooting out to a 24-0 lead at the half, while starving China of
possession. Six players scored tries in the match with Mike McKee
scoring a brace in the opening stanza. Other try scorers included
captain Simon Leung Ho Yam, Ali McClay, Lee Ka To and Sebastian
Alfonsi. Ed Haynes scored a try and added four conversions for 13
points in the final.
The victory for Hong Kong
was its first on this year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series after
runners-up in Shanghai and reaching the cup semi finals
Borneo, the two ranking events on this year’s HSBC Asian Sevens
Hong Kong finished the HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2011
ranked second behind Japan with China, Korea and Philippines
joint-third on points.
Hong Kong Coach Alex Gibbs commented
on the team’s performance in Goa saying, “I’m very pleased that we
achieved our objective of winning but also that everyone
contributed and we played for each other. We had to play some
tough matches on the way to the final, particularly against
Kazakhstan, but we stood up and played the style of rugby we
wanted to play. We spread out the scoring in the final as we have
done throughout the tournament.”
Hong Kong’s undefeated run to the Cup in the Goa Sevens was even
more impressive when considering that the Hong Kong RFU was
fielding a squad in the Hyperion Paradise 7s in Noosa, Australia
this weekend. That squad reached the Cup quarter-finals against some stiff Australian and Fijian competition down under before
losing a squeaker to the Aussie Thunderbolts 21-14.
Coach Gibbs credited the HSBC Asian Sevens Series with
giving Asian Unions the chance to develop depth in numbers,
saying, “Playing as a core team on the series has been really
important for us and I think for all of the teams. In the past we
wouldn’t have been able to put out two competitive teams in
different tournaments on the same weekend, but this year we have
been able to give more players meaningful competition and it is
“With the Bangkok Sevens postponed to
February we are going to put out a strong team there as a hit out
for the Hong Kong Sevens and we are going to go all out next
season to reach our ultimate goal of being number one in Asia next
season,” added Gibbs.
China progressed to
Sunday’s Cup final with a 36-7 win over Singapore in the
quarter-finals and a 38-0 win over UAE in the semifinal.
China player-coach Zhang Zhiqang was equally pleased
with his team’s performance saying, “Many of our first string
sevens players were injured for this tournament so we didn’t have
much preparation. We had to recruit players at the last minute and
didn’t arrive until Saturday morning after travelling for 24
hours. With this kind of build-up, I was delighted that we could
still reach the Cup and beat an HSBC World Sevens Series team like
UAE in the semi finals. Winning three matches on Saturday after
arriving that morning was a victory in itself.”
“We identified some new players this weekend and that will add
to the depth of the squad and make us better for upcoming tournaments like the Bangkok Sevens and Hong Kong Sevens,” added
UAE won the 3rd/4th place bronze medal
Kazakhstan in a close run match 19-12. In the
Plate final, two teams making their debut appearance on this
year’s HSBC Asian Sevens Series played a nail-biter with Iran
emerging as champions after edging Singapore 12-7.
Hosts India beat the UAE’s Arabic development squad, UAE
Shaheen, 33-nil in the Bowl final. Indian captain Rohan Sethna
scored in the final to extend his record of scoring a try in all
of India’s matches over the tournament, while Vikas Khatri scored
a brace of tries in the final to see hosts India salvage some
silverware from its home sevens.
Khanna, President of Rugby India commented on a successful weekend
of rugby in Goa saying, “This is the first time that we have
staged a major international event here and the signs are very
promising for continuing to host rugby competitions here. The
strong turnout by local youth has also given us the confidence to
further extend our development programme in Goa and with the
cooperation and support of ARFU and the Goa RFU I am confident
that rugby has a bright future in Goa.”
postponement of this month’s Bangkok Sevens due to the flooding in
Thailand, the Goa Sevens marks the final HSBC Asian Sevens Series
competition in 2011. The Bangkok Sevens has been postponed to
February 2012 where it will represent an important hit-out for
Asia’s top teams ahead of the
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong
Sevens in March 2012.
Final Standings Goa Sevens
1. Hong Kong
8. UAE Shaheen
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