The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) has named the 12-man squad
that will compete in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series
qualifiers, played as part of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong
Sevens, from Friday to Sunday, 5-7 April, at the Hong Kong
With a few senior players out injured, Hong
Kong coach Paul John gave his men extra time to pass fit with a
final test coming in a hit-out against Fiji on Saturday when John
announced an initial group of 17 players.
After the efforts
against Fiji and with one eye on Hong Kong this weekend and one on
Hong Kong’s spot amongst the World Series squads in Singapore the
week after, John has named the final 12 for the HSBC World Rugby
Sevens Series Qualifiers.
Befitting the task at hand, it is
an experienced group, despite having a few of Hong Kong’s next
generation players whose experience belies their youth. That
includes three of the five players who made their debut last year
in Hong Kong including Russell Webb, Seb Brien and Jack Neville.
“There is lots of experience there, but also three of the
younger guys, who are there entirely on form. It has been the most
difficult squad for us to pick since I have arrived, because we
have more strength in depth now and people have really been
putting their hands up for spots,” said John.
two debutants from last year, Kane Boucaut and Max Denmark, both
picked up injuries last weekend at the Borneo Sevens that have
seen them ruled them out as a precautionary measure of Hong Kong.
Squad captain Ben Rimene and forward Toby Fenn will also miss out
It is a case of better safe than sorry, with
Hong Kong’s upcoming competition calendar and the need to be in
peak physical form for what promises to be another gruelling
competition in the qualifier.
“We had an idea about who may
be ready but wanted the run against Fiji just to finalise that
thinking really and to give everyone a chance to come right. There
were a few boys really close to being fit but we didn’t want to
risk anything,” John said. “You know they could take a knock in the
first game, which of course can still happen to any of the guys,
and we are down to 11, so it was a bit of being safe and knowing
there is another selection coming up for Singapore as well.”
John believes that the team learned an important
lesson last year. “We were disappointed in our
performance last year. The boys were, and the coaches were. I
think we maybe played within ourselves too much last year, and
with five guys on debut that is understandable. Now
everyone is a year more experienced in that environment and, while
it’s never easy on a stage like that and in a competition like the
Qualifier, the boys want to express themselves more and play to
their abilities. We want to give a positive accounting of
In the absence of Rimene, former captain Max
Woodward will lead the squad, with another former captain in Jamie
Hood also in the group. Woodward captained the team in Borneo in Rimene’s absence as well.
Nine of the 12 teams are
returning from last year’s cutthroat qualifier competition,
alongside Russia, relegated from the Series in favour of Japan in
Hong Kong are top seeds in Pool E along with Tonga,
Zimbabwe, and Philippines. Russia will tangle with last year’s
semi finalists Ireland in Pool F - with experienced competitors
Uruguay and Jamaica in the mix as well. The remaining
semi-finalists from 2018, Chile and Germany, face off in Pool G
alongside Uganda and Cook Islands.
Hong Kong Men’s Sevens
Max WOODWARD (Captain); Sebastian BRIEN, Michael COVERDALE, Jamie
HOOD, Lee JONES, Cado LEE Ka-to, Alex McQUEEN, Tom McQUEEN, Raef
MORRISON, Jack NEVILLE, Russell WEBB, Salom YIU Kam-shing.
Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
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.