A more relaxed Hong Kong beat Jamaica 24-10 this morning at the Rugby World Cup Sevens to advance to the semi final of the Bowl tomorrow against Uruguay.
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Hong Kong recovered from another slow start at AT&T Park to come back for a comprehensive win over the Jamaicans, propelled by first half tries from Jamie Hood and Salom Yiu Kam-shing.
Hong Kong led 14-5 at the break, before second half scores from Toby Fenn and senior squad debutant Alessandro Nardoni extended the lead to 24-5. Jamaica scored at the death to claw the score back to 24-10.
Hong Kong will now face familiar opponents Uruguay in the second Bowl semi final tomorrow at 10.06 local time (1.06am, 23 July, Hong Kong time). Chile will face Uganda in the other semi-final after Chile edged Tonga 33-29 and Uganda beat Zimbabwe 24-10 in the quarters.
Coach Paul John was pleased with the overnight improvement but was still looking for a complete performance from his charges.
“We started yesterday’s game with three errors; the boys were nervous and we went 21 points down against a core team quickly. You are always going to be in trouble in that position and that’s what happened,” said John.
“Today, we bounced back a bit. We had a much better first half, but we were nervous again mind, and we were fairly inaccurate.
“In the second half, the boys loosened up a bit, they relaxed and started to play a bit of rugby. When we did that, the lads looked okay out there.”
Hong Kong will front up against Uruguay, who edged Papua New Guinea 21-19 in the quarterfinal, but John is not focussed on the opposition.
“With only one game today, we have a little bit more time to study Uruguay and to have a look at them, but I think it’s more about getting our game right to be honest with you.
“We are letting sides get a bit of momentum against us at the start of games. If we start games a bit better we will be a more difficult side to play.
“I’m just really pleased with the way the boys bounced back and got that win, because that was important for us to be in that 16-20 spot overall, especially after losing yesterday. So that was vital for us to get that win.
“Now we have to go as best we can in that group of four now. It is like a Hong Kong Sevens qualifier tournament for us again isn’t it? [ED note: All four semi finalists played in the Hong Kong qualifier in 2018].
“It gives us a chance to practice against teams that we will probably come to meet in those kind of tournaments, so it is important that we grow and enjoy the tournament this weekend, but also that we get a lot out of it and that starts with showing that same level of improvement day to day,” John added.