The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has named the men’s and women’s sevens squads to compete in
this coming weekend’s Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens (8-10 April) and Hong Kong
Women’s Rugby Sevens (7-8 April).
Much is at stake for
both squads, with the men taking another run at
qualifying for a spot on next season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens
Hong Kong will take part in the 12-team World Rugby Sevens
Series Qualifier played as part of the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Kong Sevens, with the winners earning automatic promotion to the
The women will be out to reach their first
cup final in the Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens (HKWRS) on
Thursday and Friday, (7-8 April) at King’s Park and Hong Kong
Football Club respectively.
Hong Kong reached the semi finals in
last year’s competition, narrowly missing out on a spot in the
final, played in the Hong Kong Stadium as part of the Cathay
Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, on Friday evening at 17:24.
Both teams will be using the competitions as
preparation for the final Olympic repechage tournaments in June to determine the 12th team in each of the men’s and women’s
competitions at the Rio Games.
“On behalf of the Hong Kong
Rugby Union, I congratulate the final squad members selected. I am
sure that our elite rugby sevens athletes will enter their vital
competitions next week with an extra bounce in their step knowing
that the entire Hong Kong community is rallying around them. As a
player who participated in the Hong Kong Sevens, I can vividly
remember my own excitement at being selected and I wish all of our
players the very best of luck, a memorable experience and much
personal and team success next weekend,” said Pieter Schats,
Chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Union.
In addition to being
co-title sponsors of the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
HSBC are also the Principal Partner of the Hong Kong Rugby Union
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and
Events, HSBC, said, “HSBC shares in the pride and excitement of
the Hong Kong community as our homegrown team goes for glory at
the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2016 next weekend, and
takes a shot at the World Rugby Sevens Series tournament
qualifier. As a long-term and proud sponsor of the Hong Kong Rugby
teams, we have seen the steady growth of the sport in the
community as well as on the global stage. This is a great moment
for the Hong Kong teams and we wish all the players and fans the
best tournament ever.”
Women’s Seven Hunting First Hong Kong Stadium
Appearance in HKWRS
After reaching the
Cup semi finals in their best ever appearance at their home event
in 2015, coach Anna Richards and the Hong Kong Women’s Seven will
be intent on going one step further to reach the final played
under the lights at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Hong Kong has been drawn with Asian champions Japan, currently
participating in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, Argentina,
Thailand and Sri Lanka in Pool B. The ten-team format means that
Hong Kong must finish first or second in the pool to equal last
year’s high-water mark.
Hong Kong will enter the
tournament with a new captain in the dynamic
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
Richards has also been able to call upon
an experienced selection with vice captain Candy Cheng Tsz Ting,
who marks her ninth HKWRS appearance in 2016; Colleen Tjosvold on
her third HKWRS, halfback Lindsay Varty (five appearances) and
forward Christine Gordon who marks her sixth HKWRS and first Hong
Kong selection since last March. Aggie Poon Pak Yan who
electrified on last year’s Asian Sevens series, scoring 17 tries
and 121 points from two tournaments last season has been handed
her fifth HKWRS cap.
On the other end of the scale, coach
Richards has given debut appearances to Chong Ka Yan and Lee Tsz
Ting. The two up and coming stars featured in last year’s Asia
Rugby Sevens Series with Chong earning caps in Qingdao and in both
stages of last November’s Olympic qualifiers in Hong Kong and
Tokyo. Lee Tsz Ting appeared in the Beijing Sevens in 2014 and
last year in Sri Lanka.
Men’s Seven Face Tough Pool
The Hong Kong Men’s Seven is again one of the top
contenders for promotion to the international circuit, but have a
tough path to the final after being pooled with Zimbabwe, last
year’s losing finalists in Hong Kong, dark horses Germany and an
unknown quantity in Cayman Islands on their tournament debut.
With some injury concerns in the squad, coach Gareth Baber has
announced an initial squad of 14 players to be whittled down over
the week to the final 12 taking part in the World Rugby
Sevens Series Qualifier.
Max Woodward leads the squad into
the Stadium for a second year, surrounded by an experienced squad,
including former captain Rowan Varty, marking his 11th Hong Kong
Sevens appearance and another former captain in Jamie Hood on his
fifth Hong Kong Sevens selection.
This trio is joined by
six players from Hong Kong’s last international competition,
November’s Asia Sevens Qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games: Jack
Capon, Michael Coverdale, Cado Lee Ka To, Chris Maize, Alex
McQueen and Salom Yiu Kam Shing. Baber has layered even more
experience in the side with call-ups for gritty forward Lee Jones
and utility back Ben Rimene. It is the fifth Hong Kong Sevens cap
for Jones and the third for Rimene.
Nine of the 14-man
squad are born in Hong Kong including Capon and James Cunningham,
both of whom will be making their Hong Kong Sevens debuts. Capon,
one of 11 elite athletes training at the Hong Kong Sports
Institute, has been a member of the squad for several seasons but
earns his first selection for the Hong Kong Sevens.
Cunningham joins Toby Fenn and Ryan Meacheam in the squad as the
only players under consideration who are not part of the elite
programme at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, coming instead from
Hong Kong Rugby Union’s newly launched Elite Rugby Programme –
the SAR’s first ever fully professional fifteen-a-side platform.
Cunningham was tipped along with fellow forward Toby Fenn, for
Hong Kong’s warm-up tournament in Borneo in March. Fenn picked up
a shoulder injury in Borneo and will be assessed this
week. Meacheam, from New Zealand is a former Waikato Sevens
representative. The three promising club players have been in
training with the Hong Kong Sevens squad for the past two months
at the Sports Institute ahead of this week’s kick-off of the
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
Hong Kong Rugby Union
Men’s Sevens Team
Max WOODWARD (captain), Jack
CAPON, Michael COVERDALE, James CUNNINGHAM, Toby FENN, Jamie
HOOD, Lee JONES, Cado LEE, Ka To, Christopher MAIZE, Alex McQUEEN,
Ryan MEACHEAM, Ben RIMENE, Rowan VARTY, Salom YIU, Kam Shing.
Coach: Gareth Baber, Manager: Martin Kibble.
Hong Kong Rugby Union
Women’s Sevens Team
OLSON-THORNE (captain), Candy CHENG, Tsz Ting (vice captain),
CHONG Ka Yan, Adrienne GARVEY, Christine GORDON, Colleen Tjosvold,
KWONG Sau Yan, Melody LI Nim Yan, LEE Tsz Ting, NAM Ka Man, POON
Pak Yan, Lindsay VARTY.
Coach: Anna Richards, Asst. Coach:
Mark Komar, Manager: Dannii Cheung.
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Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
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Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.
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