Hong Kong Sevens

2 minutes with...JOHN MOLLOY

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 November, 2003, 12:00am


The 48-year-old chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union had a VIP seat at the Rugby World Cup final yesterday. But work commitments forced the former Hong Kong scrumhalf (1983-1989) to watch the England v Australia match on television. We asked him - before the final - about his thoughts on this World Cup and whether a Northern Hemisphere side would win it, at last.

England to win?

Most definitely. Before the tournament began, I predicted in this newspaper that New Zealand would win the Cup. Of course my friends won't allow me to forget that. Happily, I have been proved wrong. My heart is definitely with England.

Even if they play boring rugby?

I don't think it is boring rugby. They might have scored just one try in the quarter-final against Wales and none against France in the semi-final. But these games are there to be won. In the end, nobody will remember how you won as long as you entered the final.

Impressions on the World Cup?

Disappointing. The predictability of the outcome of most matches leading up to the semi-finals was disappointing. And there were too many one-sided matches. What's the point in seeing Namibia beaten by 142 points? This has once again proved that the top six sides in the world are getting stronger.

Is there a solution?

It is a difficult situation. The IRB has to give countries like Fiji, Samoa and maybe Japan more funds and more exposure to lift them up to the top level. Money needs to be filtered out from the top into bringing these teams on.

Was this World Cup too big?

Yes. The ideal would be to reduce it to 16 teams, but I don't think the IRB will do this as its goal is to spread the game. It would be better to go with the proposal put forward by the English to have two divisions of 16 teams each.

Hong Kong could come into the picture then?

Most certainly. But then the problem is: can amateur players get six weeks away from work? But I like the idea of a World Cup for everybody.

And England will beat Australia by?