Hong Kong are set for another tilt at qualification for the World Series on home soil this weekend, as the Hong Kong Sevens steps up a gear.
Despite a try from Jamie Hood, Hong Kong lost 14-7 to Germany in the quarter-finals in 2017 and it was yet more heartbreak as the hosts lost to Asian rivals Japan 24-14 in the final in 2016.
But this year they’re back with plenty of ambition to claim a qualification spot for the 2018/19 series, in what will be a fiercely competitive qualifier.
“It’s a pretty tough tournament, and the teams are getting better and better each year as every country starts putting more focus on sevens,” said captain Ben Rimene.
“There is pressure on us as the home team, it will always be like that, but every team has got pressure to qualify from their home unions as well.
‘We can’t worry about that. If we let that get to us we won’t be performing how we need to perform to do the best we can.”
Hong Kong face Germany first on Friday, before Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe in another tough pool.
It will be the first time Rimene has captained the side in the Hong Kong qualifier.
“It will be a proud moment and hopefully I will do well for the team and the country.
“It is winner takes all in this competition. You win and you’ll be on the series next year.
“We’ve come close in years gone by. We lost to Japan one year, and we came within 10 to 12 points of making the series but that is sevens, that is sport, and that is why people love it.”