Hong Kong coach Jo Hull is looking for a mix of
relentless defence and free-flowing attack in her side’s Women’s
Rugby World Cup opener against Canada on Wednesday evening (just
after midnight on Thursday Hong Kong time).
Hong Kong have settled into their base at
University College Dublin since arriving in Ireland on Saturday
and Hull is expecting a baptism of fire against the third-ranked
“They’re [Canada] going to come out the blocks,
I think there is quite a lot of pressure on them to put in a
performance in their first game,” Hull said. “We’re
expecting them to be very fast and we know their back row and centre combinations are very physical. I think they will
hit the ground running, they have obviously had quite a good
build-up to this being in New Zealand so they will know what they
want to achieve out of this tournament.”
Canada’s scoring opportunities will be the first priority for Hong
Kong and Hull is confident that with the correct application, her
charges are capable of holding their own.
mindset-wise the girls are ready for the game, we’re ready for it
but it is the application that is really going to be the challenge,” said
Hull. “They’ve got the knowledge, it’s
just that application and being able to play with them for 80
minutes against a team like Canada that like to run with the ball
in hand. Our defence is capable of standing up to it and
it is important that we get it right with our tackles and how
quickly we can reload. For sure it’s going to be a
challenge but that is what we have worked on and that is what our
focus is ultimately going to be on.”
While defence is
obviously crucial, Hull doesn’t want her players to go into their
shells and is confident they can score some points of their own.
“If we get the ball in hand and we can run it, I really back
our back three and some of our centre combinations [to have an
impact],” she said. “My challenge to the players is to get
the crowd on side though our actions and that’s where our warrior
mindset comes in in terms of leaving a legacy of getting up. Yes we might get smashed, but then we get up. Our players are
strong and fit and we are certainly not going into this being
passive in what we do.”
Adrienne Garvey and Natasha
Olson-Thorne will pair up in the centres, with Laurel Chor
Lik-fung and 18-year-old Kelsie Bouttle starting on the bench.
Hull recognises them all as assets to the team.
that strength of Rocky [Garvey] and Tash is key for us, that
combination works nicely for us in terms of how we want to play
and also their experience together,” Hull said. “Kelsie is
just such a young raw player that I think she might go quite well
Captain Chow Mei-nam, tighthead prop Lee
Ka-shun and hooker Karen So Hoi-ting will lead the way in a
forward pack that Hull is looking for an even contribution from.
Hull feels her side may be able to get on top in the set
piece, highlighting the scrum and the line-out as areas her
forwards must target.
“I think potentially our set piece
might go okay in terms of the scrum and in terms of our height,”
she said. “I think also the breakdown could go in our favour a
little bit. Shun is key, she’ll hold the scrum for us
pretty well, in fact our whole front row is important. The
back row is going to be absolutely instrumental, really all the
forwards have got a massive job because if we don’t get any
stability and we don’t get any go-forward in the scrum it’s going
to be a difficult day for us.”
Hong Kong have been soaking
up the atmosphere of the event since arriving, with Hull keen to
ensure they go home with memories that will last a lifetime.
“I asked the girls ‘how do you find it?’ and they said it’s
just the most amazing thing we’ve ever done and we haven’t even
played yet,” Hull said. “Just the atmosphere, the respect
between the teams, the whole thing is really special. We
know that the games are going to be tough but for some of these
girls this is going to be a moment they will never forget,” Hull
The match kicks off at 17:15 Dublin time on
Wednesday (00:15 on Thursday Hong Kong time).
HKRU Team for Match 1
vs Canada, at Women’s
Rugby World Cup 2017
1. WONG Yuen-shan, 2. SO
Hoi-ting, Karen, 3. LEE Ka-shun, 4. CHAN Ka-yan, 5. CHOW Mei-nam
(captain), 6. CHENG Ka-chi, Christy, 7. CHAN Tsz-ching, Agnes, 8.
Amelie SEURE, 9. HO Wai-on, Jessica, 10. Rose HOPEWELL-FONG
Siu-lan Ipictured above), 11. CHONG Ka-yan, 12. Natasha OLSON-THORNE, 13. Adrienne
GARVEY (vice captain), 14. POON Pak-yan, Aggie, 15. Colleen
TJOSVOLD, 16. SIU Wing-ni, Winnie, 17. LAU Nga-wun, Tammy, 18. PUN
Wai-yan, 19. Christine GORDON, 20. TSANG Sin-yan, 21. MAK Ho-yee,
Chloe, 22. Kelsie BOUTTLE, 23. CHOR Lik-fung, Laurel.
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