Coached by Anna Richards, Hong Kong swept aside Asia's defending champions China 24-15 in the Cup final of the China Sevens, repeating their victory over the hosts in Saturday's preliminary rounds. Winger Aggie Poon grabbed her second hat-trick of the tournament in the final to take her final tally of tries to 12.
Hong Kong’s victory in the opening event on the 2015 Asia Rugby Sevens Series puts them a step closer to securing a top-two finish and a place in the qualifying tournament for the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series next year. The second and final series event takes place in Sri Lanka on 10-11 October.
Wins over Singapore, Sri Lanka and China saw Hong Kong through to the quarter-finals where they easily disposed of Uzbekistan, 31-0.
The semi-final against Japan was a much tighter affair, a first half try from Candy Cheng Tsz Ting proving enough for Hong Kong to make it through to only their second Cup final since 2011.
Despite going down 5-0 early on in the final, Hong Kong remained poised and two tries from Poon saw them take a 12-5 half-time lead.
Poon’s third and final try – and outstanding touchline conversion - ensured Hong Kong got the second half off to a flying start. China managed a quick reply but forward Nam Ka Man earned just reward for some grafting play over the tournament to score Hong Kong’s fourth try and stretch the lead to 24-10. China added a consolation score but Hong Kong were not to be denied their maiden Asian sevens tournament title.
“The girls deserved to be in the final,” said Richards, a four-time Women's Rugby World Cup winner with New Zealand. “I told them before the game if they played as they had all weekend then they would win. We didn’t need to pull a rabbit out of our hat or anything we just needed self-belief.”
It was Hong Kong’s fourth straight win over China this year and lays down a strong platform in their attempt to reach the 2016 Olympic Games at November’s qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.
“Our girls believe they can win now. I’m not sure they had that before but now we do,” Richards added. “We went down by a try to China early on but we stayed strong and China couldn’t do anything after that. We played well and we won well. Now we will go back and start preparing for the Sri Lanka Sevens in October and the Olympic qualifiers in November.”
Hong Kong’s men failed to make a Cup final for the first since 2011 after being eliminated at the quarter-final stage by hosts China. China then defeated Sri Lanka 22-12 in the last four to set up a final showdown with Japan who had progressed through the knockout rounds with comfortable victories over the Philippines and Korea.
Japan proved too strong for China in the final, winning 28-12.
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