Hong Kong’s brilliant run to the final of the women’s competition ended at the last hurdle at the Fiji Coral Coast Sevens on Friday, with Kevin West’s team falling 19-12 to local team Striders.
Tries to Chong Ka-yan and Nam Ka-man weren’t enough to get Hong Kong home, but West was more than satisfied with the overall result.
“We are delighted, we have a lot of Asian competition but to have to face different teams and have to adapt to the way different teams play and adapt our style is a great challenge for us,” he said.
“Now we build towards the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens. We go to Borneo and then we enter Hong Kong but really most of our focus is on the Asian Games in August.
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“We had a difficult time last year in Hong Kong, we didn’t make it into the second day, so the confidence that we will gain from this tournament and the challenges that we have had to face will help.”
Fiji Coral Coast Sevens top try scorer
Chong was the tournament’s top try scorer with eight tries, while Nam was also prolific throughout.
They both crossed as Hong Kong edged home 12-10 against Fijiana Makasoi in the quarter-final before they overcame Stars USA 19-17 in a thrilling semi-final.
Trailing 17-12 when the final siren sounded, Hong Kong turned the Stars over and Chong eventually found her way through for a try, with Lee Tsz-ting’s conversion sealing the deal.
“It’s great to have finishers like that and we’re adapting to know the best way to get the ball to Chong and put her into space,” West said.
“There’s girls that had their first tournament here and girls that had their first tournament that started in the final, so there is depth starting to come through.”
Hong Kong Men
Hong Kong’s men had a tough opening day, going winless – as they did on last year’s first day – but showing marked improvement.
Their results were proof of that, with a first-up 22-10 loss to Ratu Filise followed by a tough 21-14 defeat by Tovolea, in which a late intercept proved the difference.
Calvin Hunter and Mak Kwai-chung crossed against Ratu Filise, while Mak and Eric Kwok Pak-nga dotted down against Tovolea.
The final game was against a McDonald’s Saunaka team featuring three Olympic gold medallists – Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Vatemo Ravouvou and Kitione Taliga – and long-time Fiji star Pio Tuwai, ended in a 19-12 loss for Paul John’s men.
Salom Yiu Kam-shing and Kwok scored tries to give Hong Kong a sniff, but a late Saunaka try settled the result.
“We were competitive in all three games really, we were disappointed with the first one. I didn’t think we played particularly well, we stood off them and we played within ourselves and didn’t attack with conviction,” John said.
“Since our first game, we put ourselves in a position to win the second and third game, which contained that I know of five Fijian internationals, we were competitive in that as well and just lost on the last play.
“We have just got to believe in ourselves, when we go for it we are capable of playing some really good stuff but we beat ourselves sometimes I think.”
Fiji Coral Coast Sevens Bowl quarter-finals
Hong Kong progress to the bowl quarter-finals on Saturday morning and John hopes the lessons learned on day one will hold his side in good stead.
“We just have to back it up tomorrow, the quality in the bottom half of the draw is going to be higher quality than what we are used to playing and we have got to rise to that,” John said.
Photo credit DAVID CLIFTON & Hong Kong RFU FB