The Hong Kong men’s team won all three matches and became first in pool B and started the quest for its ticket to the Olympics hosted by Rio de Janeiro .
“These guys are playing either as well as they can or above that and that’s what we’re going to needtomorrow,” said Gareth Baber, Hong Kong men’s team head coach on Saturday during a pre-match interview.
“Both men and women teams play very well with sports spirit and teamwork,” said spectator Derek Yuen. “Like the last match against Sri Lanka, they [men] were losing at the beginning but were not discouraged and won back.”
The women’s team won two matches but lost against Japan in the last match now ranking third after Japan and Kazakhstan.
“The women’s team played well and made much effort,” Mr Yuen said. “But their strength and stamina may reduce after two matches.”
Ho Wai Ting, rugby coach and member of Hong Kong Rugby Union, is confident the Hong Kong women’s team will win back. “If they beat Kazakhstan, they can compete with Japan for championship.”
Hong Kong women’s team captain Christy Cheng Ka-chi told SCMP “Now it’s off to shakes and ice packs and get ourselves ready for [Sunday]. Play our system and we’ll get a win.”
The Asian Rugby Sevens Qualifier takes place at the Hong Kong Stadium on 7-8 November but only about 10 per cent of the stadium is filled.
The winning men’s team among the ten teams from Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippines, Iran and Hong Kong, will gain a straight entry to the 2018 Olympics whilst the teams that rank 2nd, 3rd and 4th in this qualifiers will play in the World Rugby Olympic Qualification tournament in June 2016 to compete for a spot in the Olympic game.
The winning women’s team from the six teams, including Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Guam and Hong Kong, will enter the next qualifying series in Tokyo on 28-29 November.
On Sunday November 8, the Hong Kong men team will play against Malaysia before gaining a sure ticket to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, while the women team will play two matches against Kazakhstan and Guam.
Reporting by Joanna Wong
Writing by Joanna Wong and Crystal Tse
Photo and video by Jackson Ho