Hong Kong Sevens return to action as Olympic glory beckons

August 30, 2019

Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union  

 

The Hong Kong Sevens squad travelled to South Korea on Thursday for the Asia Rugby Sevens Series, kicking off a crucial month where both sides eye up qualification for the 2020 Olympics. 

 

As defending champions, the pressure is on the Men's squad to break out of a challenging group containing the Philippines, Chinese Taipei and South Korea.

 

However, they will be happy to avoid being drawn against rivals Japan, who will contend with China, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates in their Pool. 

 

Coach Paul John has bolstered his side with experience, with Toby Fenn, Kane Boucaut, Russell Webb and Jack Neville joining familiar faces such as Max Woodward, Michael Coverdale, Salom Yiu Kam-shing and Cado Lee Ka-to. 

 

Photo credit: Hong Kong Rugby Union  

 

Now much more acquainted with his charges since taking over before the Hong Kong Sevens, Women's Sevens coach Iain Monaghan will welcome the talismanic Natasha Olson-Thorne back to the Hong Kong ranks as they target Olympic qualification as well. 

 

Jessica Eden and Florence Symonds will add youthful exuberance to the squad not long after representing Hong Kong Sevens at U20 level in Laos earlier this month, with Sevens captain Melody Li Nim-yan also making her return. 

 

Monaghan was optimistic about his side's prospects. 

 

 

“We started this road back in January last year when I arrived, and we still have our eyes set on our twin goals of qualifying for the Games and becoming the fastest team in Asia," said the Scot. 

 

“We have had a good 12-week off-season programme that focused on some of the areas identified last season and that has helped improve the players physically and rugby-wise."

 

"Now, the Series presents for the coaches an opportunity for us to benchmark that work in attack and defence over the summer."

 

With further campaigns in Huizhou (14-15 Sep) and Colombo (28-29 Sep), all eyes will be on Hong Kong as they set their sights on Olympic qualification. 

 

 

 

Hong Kong Women’s Sevens Squad (South Korea, Sept 2019): Melody Li Nim-yan (Captain), Natasha Olson-Thorne, Sham Wai-sum, Florence Symonds*, Au Yeung, Sin-yi; Lee Tsz-Ting; Poon Hoi-yan; Nam Ka-man, Chong Ka-yan, Stephanie Chan Chor-ki, Jessica Eden, Amy Pyle.

 

*First senior sevens cap

 

Hong Kong Men’s Sevens Squad (South Korea, Sept 2019): Max Woodward (Captain); Michael Coverdale, Lee Jones, Toby Fenn, Kane Boucaut, Cado Lee Ka-to, Hugo Stiles, Russell Webb, Jack Neville, Jamie Hood, Yiu Kam-shing, Tom McQueen.

 

 

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