ASIA Travel Tips.com

Hong Kong Squad Named for HSBC Asian Rugby Sevens Series Bangkok Sevens

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Send to Friend ASIA Travel Tips.com Latest Travel News Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) men’s national sevens squad will use this weekend’s Bangkok Sevens as a build-up for its showcase competition, the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

HKRFU Head of Performance and Coaching and National Coach Dai Rees is eager to use this final sevens hit-out before Hong Kong to try out some new combinations and strategies for Asia’s number two sevens side.

Part of the inaugural HSBC Asian Sevens Series in 2011, the Bangkok Sevens, the third leg of the Series, was postponed due to the severe floods that affected the capital last November. It will now be played at the Police Stadium in Bangkok this weekend (11-12 February) with eight teams confirmed for the non-ranking event.

Japan, the number one sevens team in Asia based on their results at the two HSBC Asian Sevens Series 2011 ranking events in Borneo and Shanghai, will head Pool A.

The pool also features the Philippines, one of four Asian teams along with Hong Kong, Japan and China, which qualified for the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens based on their results on the HSBC Asian Sevens Series. The UAE Shaheen, an all Emirati development side, and Laos round out Pool A.

Hong Kong, runners-up in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, are the top seeds in Pool B and will face stiff competition from experienced sides Malaysia and the hosts Thailand. Pakistan, another debut team on the Series, completes Pool B.

“From a preparation standpoint it is ideal to have an international tournament in February. Bangkok gives us the opportunity to look at a few new combinations as we build up to the Hong Kong Sevens,” said Coach Rees. “But it will also be a challenge for us as we are mindful of the fact that after Hong Kong we will travel to Tokyo for the Japan Sevens and then face our first XVs international just a few weeks later in the HSBC Asian Five Nations. So we have to balance our preparations for Bangkok with readying several squads for different competitions at the same time. This will be a great test of the depth we have been able to develop over the past few seasons.”

With the players still in XVs mode due to the ongoing HKRFU Domestic League, the Bangkok Sevens will offer the squad a useful opportunity to slip back into the abbreviated game.

The members of the squad selected for Bangkok will join a larger training squad for the final selection for the Hong Kong and Japan Sevens on their return. This squad will be pared down over time with the 12-man squad for Hong Kong to be announced on 17 March.

As testament to the importance of the opportunity presented by the Bangkok Sevens, Rees has named a strong squad with many of his veteran selections in the picture. Among the regulars to feature in Bangkok will be Rowan Varty, Keith Robertson, Salom Yiu Kam-Shing, Simon Leung Ho-Yam, brothers Tom and Alex McQueen as well as Ross Armour and Anthony Haynes. Rowan Varty will captain the side in Bangkok.

“We have to develop squads across both XVs and sevens in the coming months, so we hope to use 14 or 15 players across the two sevens tournaments in Hong Kong and Tokyo. This will give us the depth we need to play at IRB level, while also allowing us to focus the larger training squad on our upcoming XVs commitments,” Rees said.

One player Rees will have an extra close watch on this weekend is Ally Maclay. The utility player figured in the Hong Kong squad that emerged triumphant at the HSBC Asian Sevens Series event in Goa last December, but Rees has other plans for him in Thailand.

“Ally will get his second sevens call-up after Goa, but this time we will be playing him at his natural XVs position as a big, hard- running back rather than in the forwards where he played in Goa. Bangkok gives us the opportunity to continue to look at players like Ally who have recently become able to represent Hong Kong,” Rees said.

Another player who will be under scrutiny is Alex McQueen. The winger had to step into the scrumhalf slot as injury cover last year at the Paradise Sevens in Australia’s Gold Coast. After impressing in Australia, Rees is toying with the idea of continuing with him in this position.

“Alex stepped up in Australia by filling in as a scrum-half. He was outstanding in the Gold Coast so we wanted to give him another opportunity to run from scrum-half and he will get that chance in Bangkok,” Rees added.

Despite the frenetic build-up required over the next few months, Coach Rees’ expectations are high.

“As a Union we will have our work cut out for us with the HSBC Sevens World Series events and an intense period of XVs over the next two months. But our players and coaches are confident that we have cultivated the required depth in our player pool. Our goal over this crucial phase is to take the top spot in Asian sevens while defending our second place position in XVs and closing the gap against Japan. The campaign starts this weekend in Bangkok and I know we will give it our best shot.”

Hong Kong will open its account at the Bangkok Sevens against Pakistan on Saturday, 11 February, at the Police Stadium in Bangkok.

See other recent news regarding: Airlines, Airports, Awards, Flights, Codeshare, FFP, Inflight, Lounges, First Class, Business Class, MICE, GDS, Rewards, Miles, Hotels, Apartments, Promotions, Spas, Yoga, Retreat, New Hotels, Traffic, Visitor Arrivals, Cruises, Free Deals, Interviews, Videos, Tickets, Rugby, Sevens, Bangkok, Hong Kong

Subscribe to our Latest Travel News Daily Email Free of Charge by simply entering your email address to the right. You can also receive the daily news service by WhatsApp, stay updated with our RSS Feed Free Travel News RSS Feed and even add the travel news to your website. Have questions? Please read our travel news FAQ.
     
Advertising
Advertising
Copyright © 1997-2020 TravelNewsAsia.com