Hong Kong lost 28-7 to Ireland in the final of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series qualifier, ending the host’s hopes of becoming a core team in devastating fashion.
Despite a spirited performance in front of a 40,000 capacity home crowd, Ireland proved one team too far for Paul John’s side, taking a 14-0 lead into the break.
Jordan Conroy scored early in the second half to put the match beyond Hong Kong and despite Tom McQueen scoring with Ireland reduced to six men to the delight of the home crowd, there was more to come from Ireland with Terry Kennedy scoring Ireland’s fourth try.
It was a heart-breaking end to the host’s campaign, but they will look back with pride in weeks to come having won five of their six matches at the So Kon Po Stadium.
John’s side will now turn their attention to qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games.
With Japan guaranteed a place as hosts, the winner of the Asian qualifier in Korea will join Japan in Tokyo, and Asian gold medallists Hong Kong will fancy their chances.
In the semi-final Hong Kong beat Chile 7-5 to book their place in the final. Yiu Kam Shing scored to level the scores at 5-5 with Russell Webb scoring the decisive conversion before a scoreless second half and some exceptional defence.