More than enough on HK's Plate
The good news for Hong Kong yesterday was that they will after all be playing in the Plate competition. The bad news . . . well, they come up against Tonga - a side they have lost to twice in the last fortnight.
Hong Kong, who at one stage yesterday looked doomed to play in the Bowl, came storming back with a 54-5 demolition of Thailand in their final pool game to ensure that they would avoid playing amongst the losers for the third year running.
The eight-try rout of the Thais, with Vaughan Going scoring a hat-trick, was enough for the territory to win the statistical game behind-the-scenes and join South Korea, Scotland and United States as the four best third-placed teams to move up into the Plate competition.
Knowing that they needed a minimum of six tries against the Thais to keep alive their Plate hopes, Hong Kong played their hearts out.
For the first time in the tournament, Robin Bredbury was given a run - his debut at the Hong Kong Sevens.
He played his role of playmaker perfectly setting up the moves with deft passes as Hong Kong went on the rampage.
He also got his name on the scorer's list, with a neat little try.
A nice little side-step, so sweetly done that it looked as if he was politely asking the Thais to step out of the way, gave Hong Kong their fourth try just on half-time.
Four more tries in the second half, and the pall of gloom hovering over the Hong Kong camp had all but disappeared.
Friday night's hangover of losing to Tonga (17-12) had lessened somewhat.
But the headache will crop up again today when they front up again, against Tonga. The physical Tongans have been a pain in Hong Kong's plans to achieve Cup glory this year.
Friday night's loss, follows a 24-0 defeat a fortnight ago at the Fiji Sevens. Last year, Hong Kong were beaten 19-10 by the Tongans in the preliminary round.
History does favour the Tongans. The only time the territory have defeated the South Sea islanders in sevens rugby in recent times was at the 1992 tournament when they slipped and slid to a 12-8 Plate final victory on a water-logged stadium.
Hong Kong will pray for rain today.