Final World Cup preparations for Hong Kong Women a double-header against Japan
Joshua Lok
7th July 2017
Playing against Japan will provide as good as test as any for Hong Kong's Ladies.
(Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union)

The Hong Kong women’s national rugby team will face Japan in a home and away series to decide the Asia Rugby Championships this month. The matches on 8 and 15 July will provide Hong Kong’s final competitive warm-up ahead of their historic debut at the Rugby World Cup in Ireland in August.

Head Coach Jo Hull has also welcomed the return of some of the side’s senior campaigners such as flanker Christine Gordon and Adrienne Garvey, who will captain the team in Japan.

Their experience will be bolstered by the youthful exuberance of National Age Grade programme graduate Kelsie Bouttle, who set to earn her first cap after a standout season for league and Grand Championship winners Valley.

“These games are a great opportunity as they come so close to the World Cup squads. We are really lucky to have this competition to fine-tune our preparations for Ireland,” said Hull.

“We are using this opportunity to look at a few different starters and combinations, like Lindsay Varty at scrumhalf and ‘BB’ [Lee Tsz-ting] at ten. We think that could be an exciting combination as both are playing well at the moment.

“The selection reflects our preparations for the World Cup, which is our only focus at the moment. Everything we’re doing is building towards being ready for the first match against Canada next month,” Hull said.

(Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union)

The match represents another benchmarking opportunity after the team’s tour of Spain last month. Fourteen of the 23-member Spain squad have been tipped for the opener against Japan, including four of the five players who made their Hong Kong debuts in Valladolid.

Despite having one eye on Hong Kong’s historic first appearance at a world championship, Hull is demanding results from her side in the Asian campaign.

“This is international rugby and we are representing Hong Kong, so results matter. We started to close the gap over the week against Spain and now we need to do that against Japan.”

“There has been a clear message to the girls selected about accountability and we’re putting a premium on efficiency and accuracy. Each game is about getting us one step closer to how we want to play on the world stage."

Given that Hong Kong's 20-8 loss in last December's World Cup qualifier against Japan signalled a marked improvement on previous results, now is as good a time as any to go one step further.

Hong Kong Squad for Japan:

 

1. LAU Nga-wun (Gai Wu), 2. Royce CHAN Leong-sze (HKFC), 3 WONG Yuen-shan (USRC Tigers/EdUHK), 4. CHAN Ka-yan (Gai Wu), 5. TSANG Sin Yan (Kowloon) 6. Christine GORDON (Kowloon), 7. CHAN Tsz-ching (Tai Po Dragons/HKBU), 8. Amelie SEURE (Valley, vice-captain), 9. Lindsay VARTY (USRC Tigers), 10. LEE Tsz-ting (Gai Wu/HKBU), 11. LAU Sze-wa (Valley), 12. Rebecca THOMPSON (Valley), 13. Adrienne GARVEY (Valley, captain), 14. Laurel CHOR Lik-fung (Valley), 15. Aggie POON Pak-yan (Gai Wu)

 

RESERVES: 16. HO Hoi-lam (Gai Wu), 17. CHEUNG Shuk-han (Valley), 18. PUN Wai-yan (Gai Wu/EdUHK), 19. Winnie SIU Wing-ni (USRC Tigers), 20. TSANG Sin-yan (Kowloon), 21. HO Jessica Wai-on (USRC Tigers), 22. Rose HOPEWELL-FONG Siu-lan (HKFC), 23. Kelsie BOUTTLE (Valley/ICHK).

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