Natasha Olson-Thorne became the first Hong Kong
player to score a try in a Rugby World Cup as her side went down
39-15 to Wales in Dublin on Thursday.
Hong Kong meant
business from the outset and matched their more fancied opponents
for the first 60 minutes, before fading late and letting Wales
pile on three tries in the final quarter.
“We asked the
players to bounce back, we had to make our mark today and I think
we did,” Hull said. “We showed potentially what we can do with
ball in hand. The first two games prepared us well for what Wales
brought today. It was good to see a couple of tries and
some nice goal-kicking from Rocky [Adrienne Garvey], it was really
important for us today to come away with some points.”
Wales opened the scoring on 15 minutes with a try by No. 8 Shona
Powell-Hughes, while soon after scrumhalf Keira Bevan was denied a
try due to a knock on, keeping the score at 5-0 as the first
quarter of the match ended.
Hong Kong surged forward from
the resultant penalty and eventually earned their first confirmed
scoring opportunity of the tournament, with fullback Garvey
slotting her side’s first points on 22 minutes.
Things continued to go Hong Kong’s way when Wales lock Siwan
Lillicrap found herself in the bin soon afterwards, ensuring play
remained largely in the Welsh half.
Olson-Thorne (pictured) made Wales
pay for Lillicrap’s indiscretion, shrugging off one tackler and
eluding another to dot down for Hong Kong’s first try of the
tournament. Garvey was again on target from the tee to hand her
side a 10-5 lead after 30 minutes.
With the crowd behind
them, Hong Kong had all the momentum and were, for the first time
in the tournament, looking the more dangerous side.
turned the tide, however, crossing twice via clever cross kicks to
take a seven-point advantage into half-time.
break Hong Kong fought back to within two points through a try in
the corner to winger Chong Ka-yan, but Wales’ Jess
Kavanagh-Williams broke through to restore her side’s advantage,
It was all Wales from there, with Hull highlighting a
number of areas she intends to work on ahead of the second stage
of the tournament in Belfast next week.
“We’re not getting
ahead of ourselves, we still lost and it was still a disappointing
result so we will have a look at that and how we can improve
moving forward. There are still areas we need to work on.
We made quite a lot of errors that gave them opportunities to
score. We need to be more accurate in our attack because we had
some attacking phases there and momentum but unfortunately we made
some errors under pressure,” Hull said.
With her side set to face Spain
on Tuesday, Hull hopes they can keep building on the legacy they
have created in Ireland so far.
“I was pleased with our
defence and we did well at the breakdown and that was a key focus
for us going in against a very strong and physical Welsh team. The
crowd have just been phenomenal and I hope we are winning the
hearts and minds of people because of the bravery that we are
showing out there. Agnes [Chan Tsz-ching] did very well
today, she caused a lot of problems. Rose [Hopewell-Fong] had a
good game at 10, she controlled it and did some pretty good
kicking there. Obviously having Rocky back also really helped with
her experience and physicality.”
At the top end of the
draw, New Zealand, England, the USA and France are through to the
semi-finals, while Canada, one of the pre-tournament favourites,
Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
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