The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has appointed former Wales Sevens coach Paul John as
coach of the men’s sevens team and the head of the elite rugby
sevens athlete programme at the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI).
John replaces former coach Gareth Baber who assumed the
Fiji head coach position late last year.
“Once we knew that Gareth was going to
accept the Fiji post, the HKRU began working with the HKSI to run
an international executive search for his replacement. Ultimately
this is an HKSI appointment, but as the involved National Sports
Association (NSA), we worked closely with the Institute and were
well represented on the selection panel,” said Dai Rees, General
Manager of Rugby Performance at the HKRU. “We are very fortunate
to have identified an outstanding candidate in former Wales Sevens
coach Paul John. Out of over 40 applicants for the position from
around the world, Paul by far offered the most extensive
experience in terms of coaching at the elite World Rugby Sevens
Series level with six years at the helm of Wales, including their
2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens victory in Dubai.”
The 47-year old former scrumhalf represented Wales on ten
occasions, captaining the side against Canada in 1997, and
previously played for Cardiff Met and Cardiff Blues before joining
and captaining Pontypridd, before retiring as a player in 2005.
Most recently he served as assistant coach with the Cardiff Blues,
after having served as the club’s interim coach in 2014.
2009, John was appointed head coach of Wales Sevens, coaching the
side to an upset win in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai in the
same year. John coached Wales Sevens for six seasons, including
coaching the team at two Commonwealth Games and the 2013 Rugby
World Cup Sevens. John also led Wales to their only Cup final
appearance at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in 2013
when Fiji pipped them 26-19 after coming back from a 19-0 deficit.
Another factor in John’s favour was his experience in
working with the Welsh Institute of Sport and managing the talent identification and development programmes for Welsh Women’s Rugby.
“In addition to being a sevens specialist, Paul has spent the
last three years in the Cardiff Blues set-up and has more than 15
years experience in coaching at a world-class level. His
experience managing programmes at the Welsh Institute of Sport and
for the Welsh Rugby Union made him the ideal candidate for the
HKSI position,” Rees said.
John will assume the dual roles
of programme administrator at the Hong Kong Sports Institute and
Hong Kong men’s sevens coach starting in March 2017. His first
coaching experience with the Hong Kong men’s and women’s sevens
squads will be at the Borneo Sevens in March, ahead of the Cathay
Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens in April.
sevens coach Jevon Groves, who was John’s captain for two seasons
with the Wales Sevens squad, will resume his previous position
under Baber as assistant men’s sevens coach.
Jevon know each other very well, which will help ensure a seamless
transition to the Hong Kong role,” noted Rees.
Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015,
Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013,
of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.
See other recent