Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union
Given the inclusion of a whole host of debutants by coach Iain Monaghan, there is a sense that a new era beckons for Hong Kong Women's Sevens.
The services of four U20 players - including USRC Tigers' Maelle Picut, Sarah Lucas and 18-year-old Amy Pyle and Valley winger Jessica Eden have been called upon, with seasoned Tigers scrumhalf Jessica Ho also making her long-awaited Sevens bow.
Their selection will be complemented by more experienced faces, with captain Melody Li Nim-yan, Colleen Tjosvold, Chong Ka-yan, Ivy Kwong, Stephanie Chan, Agnes Chan and Vivian Poon completing the selection set to battle for a qualifying spot in the Sevens World Series.
To do so, they will have to negotiate a tricky group comprised of Uganda, Papua New Guinea and 2018 semi-finalists Kenya - a challenge Monaghan relishes.
“It’s always good to play opposition you don’t normally play. You learn a lot about yourself that way and that’s where we currently are," said the Scot.
"To play these teams will expose not just some weaknesses we might not have known we had, but also some strengths as well. If we aspire to reach World Series levels, and we do, then we need to perform, and perform well, against every team we come up against."
On the other hand, morale in the Men's camp has been additionally bolstered by their status as Asian Games Gold medalists and Silver at the Borneo Sevens.
Recent injuries in Malaysia have played a part in Hong Kong coach Paul John’s personnel choices, with Max Denmark and Kane Boucaut’s exclusion throwing the door open for the likes of potential debutants Sebastian Brien, Mak Kwai-chung and Liam Herbert.
A 16-man provisional squad was tabled on Saturday, although some tough decisions will be made over the coming days to form a 12-man shortlist.
Regardless, John will be able to count on a strong backbone comprised of captain Ben Rimene, Max Woodward, Salom Yiu, Jamie Hood, Lee Jones, Mike Coverdale, Alex and Tom McQueen, Cado Lee, Toby Fenn and Jack Neville.
The hosts will be keen to marry youthful exuberance with measured experience across the board, in hopes of finding the perfect balance and making a strong statement on home soil.
Hong Kong Women’s Seven Squad:
Melody LI Nim-yan (captain), Agnes CHAN Tsz-Ching, Stephanie CHAN, CHONG Ka-yan, Jessica EDEN*, Jessica HO Wai-On*, Ivy KWONG Sau-yan, Sarah LUCAS*, Maelle PICUT*, POON Hoi-yan*, Amy PYLE, Colleen TJOSVOLD.
* Hong Kong Women’s Rugby Sevens / World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier debut
Hong Kong Men’s Seven (Expanded Squad):
Sebastian BRIEN*, Michael COVERDALE, Toby FENN, Liam HERBERT*, Jamie HOOD, Lee JONES, Cado LEE Ka-to, Alex McQUEEN, Tom McQUEEN, MAK Kwai-chung*, Raef MORRISON, Jack NEVILLE, Ben RIMENE, Russell WEBB, Max WOODWARD, Salom YIU Kam-shing.
*Potential Hong Kong Sevens debut
The Women's Sevens Qualifiers will be held at So Kon Po on 4th April (Thu), with Finals taking place at the Hong Kong Stadium on 5th April (Fri).
The Men's Qualifiers will be held at the Hong Kong Stadium between the 5th-7th April (Fri-Sun).